My experience in GSSOC’21 | Kickstart to Open Source

Hey everyone!
By the time you reach the end of this blog, I’ll make sure that you will have complete clarity on what GirlScript Summer of Code is and how you can give a kickstart to your Open-Source journey. I hope I can inspire you a little bit. Just hang in there!

First, let’s see what contributing to Open Source actually mean?

What is Open Source?

Open-source software is a software that is free to use, openly accessible to all so that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance it. It is a great way to get real-world software development experience from the comfort of your home. Benefits of contributing to open- source are endless, one not only gains exposure but can also test their skills, gain knowledge, and bond with the community in order to produce quality code that helps people around the world.

We all have come across open source softwares many times and might not have realized it, like Linux, VLC Media Player, WordPress, and many more.
Now, let’s see what actually is GirlScript Summer of Code program.

GirlScript Summer of Code is the 3 month-long Open Source program during summers conducted by GirlScript Foundation, with an aim to help beginners get into the world of Open Source with just the right kind of guidance.
But wait…Is it only for girls?
So the answer is NO, this program is open to participants of all genders.

My journey and experience!

So, in the month of January 2021, I filled the form for GSSoC’21 core team member by making a video on why I should get selected for the post of Graphic Design. I literally had no idea what to say in the video and how it should sound professional because I have never done this before. But somehow I made the video and submitted my application!And….

Within 10–15 days I got a mail that I was selected as a core team member!! It was a great moment for me because I didn’t believe that I would get selected. It is rightly said that if you believe in yourself then everything is possible. And after that, we had core team onboarding where the project managers explained the entire program and our roles. I was very excited as I didn’t know much about it before and to my surprise, I was fascinated with my role and the activities that were about to happen.

On 20th January I filled the form for Campus Ambassador and on 25th I got to know that I have been selected as a Campus Ambassador too. I was the only one who got selected from my college! Under this, I conducted a workshop on the topic “Open Source and GSSoC’21”, where almost 120 students participated. After this workshop, many of them participated in GSSoC’21 and started their Open Source journey!!

The application period for the participants and mentors started in January and closed around the first week of February. I waited patiently for days and on 17th February 2021 I received a mail on getting selected as a participant too and was really excited to give a kickstart to my open source journey . Basically, this was my first Open Source Journey in which I have learnt and explored a lot. As I was an absolute beginner to open-source and was completely unaware of the workflow of Github and git commands, the initial struggles were to learn Github skills to a decent level so as to increase the efficiency of my progress.

After getting selected all the participants were asked to join the Discord Server and then the Community Bonding period began. The mentors were really supportive, always ready to solve all our doubts at any time. So don’t refrain to ask anything because this will really help you grow and perform better. In addition to this, I along with my fellow graphic designers had to design posters and timeline for the program.

The program started in March. On 10th March, we had our first session on how to get started with Open Source Program. Then we were briefed about the levels and pull requests and how to earn points. As I said it was my first time, so I was a bit worried also because I didn’t know exactly how to handle projects and what to do to get the issues assigned to me. Then in April, a session was organized on Open Source Development for beginners in which we were told about the projects and how to apply git commands for which I am highly thankful to GSSOC as it helped me begin my journey.

After this session, I opened the project section and started looking for open-source projects. I was amazed and a bit demotivated because already many people had contributed to the projects and almost all the issues were assigned. But then I thought its never too late to begin. So for few days, I searched for projects and started going through issues. After 10–15 days, I was able to find few issues on which I could work upon, so I commented on those issues so that they assign them to me. Finally, I got a reply to one of my comments on the issue under Desgen Project. After knowing that the issue was assigned to me, I felt grateful.

The next day, I made my first Pull Request, but, it had some changes suggested by the project admin and the mentors. I did the changes and again made the pull request, but, again some changes were suggested. And finally the next day, my FIRST PULL REQUEST was merged and I was over the moon. It was a bit difficult to make my first pull request, had to face a lot of challenges but I understood it with the help of youtube videos.

Major Takeaways from this journey:

◉ Contribute to projects that interest you even if they use an altogether new tech stack, in my case I selected Desgen. I believe in the process of learning while doing.
◉ Never ever hesitate to ask doubts, the mentors are ready to solve even the silliest doubts. All you need is patience and willingness to learn.
◉ Always, read the contribution guidelines and go through the project’s guide on how to start, how to set up a project on your local PC, and start your goal of making your first contribution.
◉ Always try to work with an updated forked repository, so as to avoid merge conflicts.
◉ Ensure that you create a new branch every time before committing the changes instead of creating a PR from the master branch.
◉ Stay active in the coding community and help fellow participants as much as you can.

My certificates:

Core Team Member Certificate
Participation Certificate
Campus Ambassador Certificate

GSSoC’21 was an exciting and awe-inspiring journey for me and as it has ended, I would like to appreciate each and everyone who was a part of it.
Looking forward to contributing to more open-source projects soon ⚡.

Happy Open Source Contribution✨

Feel free to connect with me. I would be happier if you send your valuable feedback, suggestions.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chirag-agrawal9200/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Chiragagrwal7
Github: https://github.com/chiragagrawal9200
Email : chirag9200@gmail.com