This blog is about my experience during the Outreachy application process. I’m writing this to keep track of my progress and as a reference for future applicants.
I will mention all the paths I take and their results whether positive or negative, so that future applicants can emulate or avoid them.
Selecting a project
I filled out the initial application, which was approved. I also checked out the projects list and honestly most of them use technologies which I’m not experienced in. My main stack involves Java/Android so that’s what I was looking for.
I finally picked a project by Wikimedia. The project is about improving the 50th to the 70th most viewed Mediawiki Action API pages according to a set template. It also involves adding Python code samples to demonstrate how to use the API and optionally, creating a demo app that also demonstrates the usage of several API modules.
Now I’ve only used Python in a class assignment two years ago and that was it. I’ve kinda had to learn from scratch again but since I come from an OOP background, I’ve gotten upto speed with the concepts and syntax pretty fast.
Making my first contribution
After going through the resources that were provided in the task description, I was up to speed with what the project was about and was ready to work on one of the microtasks posted.
Two microtasks were posted, an easy one and a more challenging one. Github issues had been created around the two microtasks so we were required to submit PRs of our solutions.
I checked out the 2 issues and felt that I could start with the easy one. Two PRs had already been sent and I checked out the solutions, but felt that they were not entirely correct so I also sent a PR. I know now that this is not the right way to work because once someone has already started working on an issue, it’s impolite to bring your know-it-all head into it, especially if you aren’t even correct(My initial solution wasn’t correct…haha).
The project mentor(have I mentioned how awesome she is?) informed us that what we were doing wasn’t nice but she would look at our PRs anyway (such an amazing person). She proposed changes, I made them and after some days my PR was merged! I smiled like an idiot the whole day.
This project is actually similar to what was done in the last Outreachy round so I checked out what microtasks were there last round. There was a microtask in the last round which hadn’t been posted for this round yet, but I was sure that it was going to get posted soon so I started working on it.
The task was to pick an API page to edit and improve. I looked at the most viewed API pages which had not been improved from the Massview analysis, and improved five of them in my sandbox. When the next microtask was posted, it was similar to last round’s just as I had predicted. Even better, out of the 5 pages that I had picked, 4 of them were in the microtask. 2 of them had already been taken so I quickly assigned the other 2 to myself, and sent PRs.
I received the first round of feedback, made the necessary changes and committed them. Meanwhile, I’ve been working on a demo app, an app to list the day’s holidays and observances as shown in Wikipedia. Following a tutorial by a previous participant, I created an ugly but working prototype here. As required, I contacted the mentor about the idea and I’m waiting for feedback. If she approves,I’ll continue working on it.
Exploring other projects
Yesterday, a new project was posted. It’s related to Android/Java so I’m considering applying for it because the documentation project has A LOT of applicants, like a lot…the other project has no applicants yet and I’m still getting familiar with it then I’ll see if I’ll apply for it.