Internship Experience at Google Summer of Code 2015 : Gautham Nekkanti

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Q1) In which course are you presently enrolled? Please tell us something about yourself- your interests and areas of specialization.

Hello! I’m Gautham, an undergraduate computer science student from JNTU. I love creating new stuff, crafting new ideas and implementing them. That’s what introduced me to my love, coding.

 

Q2) Which internship did you opt for? Briefly describe the application process and eligibility with a few details like stipend, duration and location.

My internship experience at Google Summer of Code 2015 was great. GSoC ’15 is an initiative by Google to promote open source development / FOSS among college students. You can work from any location and the duration is from May 25 – August 24.

To apply, you need to select an open source organization from the list of given organizations. These organizations are selected each year by Google and the list is announced 2 months prior to the student application period. A good application must contain a well thought out proposal.

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Q3)Is this your first internship? How did you come to know about the internship? Which channels of information (Internet/ Personal/Corporate contacts etc.) did you utilize?

Yes, it was my first internship. I had heard about this programme last year from my friend but had not given it much thought. A few months ago, my cousin shared the experiences of his classmates who got selected, so my interest was rekindled.

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Q4) Let’s talk about how competitive the selection process is. What do you think is the right approach to acquire the internship?

Each organization has their own rules for selecting prospective candidates. You can submit more than one proposal to different organizations or the same organization. It is advisable to prepare a second proposal only after you have formulated your first one well. After all, it is the quality that matters and not the quantity. Moreover, you can only work with one organization on one proposal, even if more than one gets selected. These details are sorted out at the level of the mentors.
It is vital to interact with mentors as well as other students before the student applications begin. You can discuss the viability of your idea, get feedback and even ask for suggestions directly. Interaction is the key and of course, it always helps to work on it even before you get selected. Most organizations openly recommend fixing some bugs so that your skills and dedication can be appraised properly.

Q5)According to you, what are some common mistakes that you feel applicants should avoid in the internship application process?

Although internships are meant to gain experience, it is always good to have prior experience. You can work on your own project (small or big) to build your capabilities. It’s relatively easy to start experimenting in the field of computer science.

Q6)What kind of groundwork did you do post-selection and before beginning the internship?

I started digging into the code base again to completely understand the minutiae. I started with a small task and applied the changes even before coding had begun.

Q7)What was the best feature of the work ethic of the organization and the internship? What were your gains and takeaways?

The best thing about open source development is that you get to make a huge impact on the project. Your work isn’t hidden away to gather dust. If the project is in its early stages, your work can be even more rewarding.

My organization’s admin staff and mentors were very helpful and understanding. The work was very challenging and that pushed my intellectual capabilities to a whole new level. For example, I didn’t have the slightest idea about cross-compiler programming. A major part of my project is based on it and there was not much documentation available on the internet. It has really helped me to figure things out by myself (Although, I took help from my mentors when I was stuck).

Q8) Let’s now talk about some negatives. What were the glitches and problems that came your way, which you think your juniors should be careful to avoid?

The project I worked on involved learning new languages and protocols. I procrastinated and thought I could just learn it while coding. I was wrong, and so I faced a few difficulties in the beginning due to partial knowledge. I was clueless for two days before getting a hang of it. It’s always better to do your homework before the coding begins.

Q9) Were there any special events during the internships? (Events can be academics related like field trips, conferences, hackathons, meets etc and also non-academic, relating to your hostel life and the like)

None that I can recall, off the top of my head.

Q10) What are your future plans and how much of an impact do you think this internship will have on it?

I am currently working on two start-ups, which are still fledglings. During this programme, I became highly interested in contributing to open source. I’ll to become a mentor for the same programme next year.

Q11) Any advice for juniors that can help them in getting internships in future and for deriving the best learning experience out of it?

I would always suggest that they get out of their comfort zone and try to work on something they are not presently good at. They will learn a lot and may discover new interest areas.

Q12) Any views about this initiative of InternFeel, and how beneficial it would be? Any suggestions/feedback for improvement?

It’s like GlassDoor for internships along with first-hand experiences by the interns. I really love the initiative as it would prove to be beneficial for many prospective interns.

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