Google Summer of Code meetups, Episode 7: Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Friday, April 26, 2013

On March 23rd a Google Summer of Code meetup was held in Romania as part of the GDG Cluj-Napoca meeting with almost 50 students in attendance. The event featured a couple of experienced open source developers, Stas Suşcov and Attila-Mihály Balázs, who were interested in inspiring university students to participate in open source development. Stas is a former Google Summer of Code student and Attila-Mihály is an open source enthusiast. They discuss their experiences in open source and some of the benefits of participating in the Google Summer of Code program below.
I participated twice as a student in Google Summer of Code, in 2010 and 2011, for the WordPress Foundation. For my first summer project I worked on a social learning platform called Courseware for BuddyPress social network. Two years later, together with my friend David, we launched our own startup based on my Google Summer of Code experience, The Courseware Project. Before becoming a student in the program, I had already been involved in a lot of local and global open source communities (Ubuntu, Mozilla, WordPress) and being part of Google Summer of Code was a natural outcome which greatly improved my professional abilities and relationships with people involved in these projects.  
During the meetup I tried to share my experiences and answer as many questions as possible about being a Google Summer of Code student and give helpful tips on how actions to take so the organization will want you for another year as a participant or mentor once you finish your current project. 
By Stas Sușcov -  former Google Summer of Code student and Developer/Operations at  
As a user and creator of open source technology I’m a big believer in its benefits. That’s why when I saw this year’s Google Summer of Code announcement I thought: I need to promote it to as many students as possible. My presentation was a very quick introduction to the concept of open source, the possible reasons for contributing and what steps somebody should take when starting to work on an open source project. The slides used in the presentation are available under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license. 
In my opinion the main benefits for students who contribute to an open source project through the Google Summer of Code program are:
  • learning how to use tools like IDEs, VCSs, issue/bug trackers, build systems, etc. - these are integral parts of a programmer’s daily life but rarely mentioned in studies at universities
  • learning how to work with an existing project and its infrastructure - most of the projects people end up working on already exist, but in university most of the projects students are taught about are described as being created from-scratch
  • learning how to communicate with others, especially remotely - as much as 80% of a programmer's job is communication and working on an open source project is a great way to practice this
  • having something tangible to show on one’s resume
  • and finally the monetary benefits are also nice 
By Attila-Mihály Balázs, developer at Udacity

I would like to thank again the organizers (GDG Cluj-Napoca) and my co-presenter, Stas. My goal is to make Romania the number one contributing country to Google Summer of Code.

By Attila-Mihály Balázs, developer at Udacity and open source enthusiast