I was a part of the FOSSEE fellowship 2018 with the spoken-tutorial project. It was my first experience and hence I decided to write a blog about it. This blog is intended for engineering students in India interested to join a 6 week summer fellowship in IIT Bombay. The fellowship is ideal for beginners who have some experience with development. It’s a great first software development experience with a team. If you have more experience, you may want to look at Google Summer of Code. Before reading this blog, I would recommend you to visit the fossee.in website & read about the initiative.
Remember the FOSSEE is a very big initiative and contains many projects inside it. This blog is from the point of view of my software development experience as a computer science engineer. However, there are projects in FOSSEE in which students from other engineering backgrounds can also apply.
- Application Period: The applications for FOSSEE opens in late January to March. You’ll find details about it on their website.
- Screening: Once you apply, you’ll have to participate in screening rounds for the project that interests you. I choose spoken-tutorials due to my experience with Python (Django).
— Task #1: My first task was creating a payment website. It was an easy task and if you have some experience with the tech-stack of your task, you should not find it difficult to qualify this round. Remember to read all the details of the task carefully. I received the mail that I have cleared the first round in about a month.
— Task #2: In late April, I had to give an online competitive coding paper. It was quite hard paper and I would recommend students to prepare well for it.
If you clear the two rounds congratulations; start packing for Bombay.
The FOSSEE Experience
My criteria for participating in any project is simple, it’s “GPS”:
Goal: The goal of the project has to be beneficial to me and the society. FOSSEE project has the goal of promoting the usage of the FOSS tools. I worked on the spoken-tutorial project which has the goal of supporting the education by providing free content for self-learning. I find both the goals of FOSSEE and spoken-tutorial important spiritually; hence it was a very fulfilling experience to contribute towards these projects.
People: Team involved. I met great people from all over the country. The internship has a screening task that requires you to make an application that only the students who are enthusiast about their work will be able to complete, hence, you get to meet very interesting people who are learning amazing things and share same interests.
Skills: The skills that I gained from this experience were useful indeed. After the internship,I found the confidence to work on big projects and contribute to open-source projects. The internship is particularly an amazing opportunity to learn to work:
- On a software that is running in production and is used by thousands of people.
- With a team of developers, understanding methods and tools for collaborating with the team.
Since, The FOSSEE Fellowship provided with all the three values of “GPS”, I loved the experience and recommend it to all my friends starting with development.
Quiet frankly, I found my work to be easy, thanks to my previous experience. However, for a lot of students, it was a first time experience collaborating on a real project, an opportunity that’s really hard to get for university students in my opinion, I would recommend FOSSEE just for the sheer opportunity to write code that is something more than just a college project.
What I liked about the internship is that I had complete freedom to work. I was given a problem and six weeks to fix it. There was no micro-management on my work, I was given direction and possible solutions while conversing with the spoken-tutorial development team but that’s it. I had the freedom to architect my own solution and make changes as best for the project. This freedom is rarely offered outside the open-source culture. In my opinion, the research I do is what helps me grow as a developer and this freedom was not restricted in this internship. Of course, that said, mentors were ready to offer help if you ask for it.
That’s about work, but other than work, I made a lot of awesome memories in the two months.
- Fun activities: IIT Bombay has a lot to offer, I only found myself playing fuse-ball but the place is full of amazing activities happening all the time, you wouldn’t be bored in the campus for sure.
- Food: I have to mention the food in this blog. I want to do the internship again just for that breakfast! Just to give you an Idea, I would wake up early and walk for 1.5 kilometre just to have breakfast in Hostel 15 — even on Sunday!
- Bombay ❤: I fell in love with Bombay in just two month of living there! If I am lucky, I’ll find myself in that city again. From the crazy experience of the local trains of Mumbai to the only zoo in India with penguins, I couldn’t enough of the city in two months!
- Safety: I have to mention the most amazing thing about Bombay, Bombay never sleeps! Even at night the streets are full of people and safe, even for women.
If I’ve missed anything, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I don’t bite… anymore.
I hope this motivates you to apply for FOSSEE this year. Good Luck!