Saturday, March 5, 2016

Joining your "company" as a student in GSoC

This is another commonly asked question from the potential GSoC students. Basically they are currently an intern in a company, while still being a student in an accredited university. Good for them that their company is accepted as an open source mentoring organization in GSoC. Now they can choose to apply for the GSoC as a student.

If they are still interns during the GSoC, obviously they will be illegible to participate in the GSoC, as it requires full-time commitment. However, if they just concluded their internship, they may be able to apply depending on when they completed their previous employment/internship with that company with respective to the GSoC timeline. This is something the GSoC administrators should confirm.

Given below is taken from a long reply I sent to a student who asked a similar question in the GSoC public mailing list, regarding the potential to join his employer once more through GSoC as an intern:

Even if the GSoC rules do not prevent you from applying, there are many factors that you and your company should consider. You are currently an intern there, and as a company, you may instead communicate with them and let them know your interest to continue internship with them outside the GSoC frame.

I do not know how the mentors of your company would think. However, if I were a mentor from such a company, I would avoid finding a local intern once more through GSoC - it is like losing a great opportunity - a slot to find more contributors long-term. It also undermines the vision of the GSoC to enable remote collaboration globally among the students and the open source organizations.

Now, as a student, you also should consider the positives and negatives of choosing the same company. It certainly won't look really good in your CV if your GSoC was from the same company, compared to working for an organization remotely (that probably you found from the GSoC). You will also lose the great opportunity of working with other organizations and open source cultures. Moreover, you may also lose the opportunity to have the taste of GSoC (remote meetings, sending patches, working remotely with volunteers and professors, finding further opportunities, helping an open source organization and become a committer).

So if you think the company would be interested in hiring you again, you should rather communicate your interest to the company in extending your internship - as you are quite interested in their projects and technology. As long as GSoC is considered, I would encourage you to find other organizations - there are 180 - all of them are fantastic, and may offer similar projects to your current company's technologies.

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