Wednesday, May 10, 2017

GSoC: How can I improve next year?

For those students who are disappointed with a rejection email, here are some common mistakes and strengths we noticed. Keep these in mind to strengthen your proposal next year.

Common Mistakes:

  • Did not follow directions
  • Did not subscribe to and use the mail lists, IRC channels, attend team meetings, etc.
  • Did not submit a final, complete proposal
  • Misunderstood the project's scope, or failed to include writing documentation and tests throughout the coding period
  • Poor timeline: unrealistic, or lack of implementation or time detail
  • Did not take mentors' proposal feedback into consideration, or submitted too late to get input
  • Did not link to commits to the KDE codebase
  • Had no engagement with the community
  • Demonstrated no knowledge of the KDE community's needs

On the other hand, some students have active since many months, or even a year.

Accepted Students:

  • Showed extra effort, thought, and time spent on making a great proposal
  • Submitted a complete draft soon after applications opened. Some even asked for feedback before that
  • Improved each draft iteration with mentor feedback
  • Demonstrated areas of growth and collaboration, through linked commits
  • Engaged on mail lists and chat
  • Engaged with the community past the submission deadline
  • Detailed timeline included time for code review, unit testing, and writing documentation throughout the coding period
  • Included all features planned to improve and/or implement the project
  • Marked clear deliverables
  • Included all other commitments, and adjusted timeline based on absences

There is no need to wait around for GSoC deadlines to get started or continue in any open source organization, including KDE.

This year, KDE had great student engagement and a good level of commitment for all students so even if you followed all of these points, you may still have gotten a rejection email. We realize that this can be discouraging. However, we did our best to pick the students whom we think can fulfill the project's needs, and continue along in the future as KDE developers.

We really appreciate all the effort and thank you for applying to KDE. Our community covers the world, and we're here to help you get started in open source development at any time. In fact, if you are interested in being mentored and do not need funding, we'll be rolling out Season of KDE in a couple of months.