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Sumeet Vishwakarma
Sumeet Vishwakarma

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Best Open Source Programs For Students to Participate

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Contributing to open source is a really great way to get real-world software development and other domain experience from the comfort of your home even if you’re a beginner and don’t have a job in the industry. You don’t really need to be an expert to get started with open source and you’re going to get all these benefits of what it’s like to work in a team, collaborate with other people and work on a large codebase. One can test their skills, gain knowledge, and bond with the community in order to produce quality code that helps people around the world.

Digital Ocean Hacktoberfest

Hacktoberfest is a really popular open-source program that is hosted by Digital Ocean and is open to everyone across the world. Here, you need to submit four or more quality pull requests and you’ll either get a chance to plant a tree or get a limited-edition t-shirt. The main idea over here is that there’s no such thing as a selection criterion in this particular program. So, this is very useful for individuals, in particular, who are just starting out with open source. You can contribute to participating projects on GitHub and even if you’re not able to make a large major contribution what you can get out of it is how to use Git and Github.

Google Summer of Code (GSoC)

Google Summer of Code program is a program started by Google and has completed 16 years. It is a program that aims to promote open-source software development among university students. There are a few organizations and these organizations have mentors. First, the organizations apply to Google and after the organizations are selected then the students apply to the organizations. Bear in mind that you are not an employee of Google or even not an intern at Google. You’re working with that organization that you applied to or got selected in. It is a paid program with a stipend of 1500 USD.

Timeline: January-August

MLH Fellowship

Major League Hacking (MLH), founded in 2013, is a global community for student developers. MLH recently launched a program known as MLH fellowship which is a 12-week remote program where students collaborate on Open Source projects that align their personal interests with the general requirements of the industry and students can participate from their homes. It has mainly three tracks – Software Engineering, Open Source, and Production Engineering. Here you will gain those skills that you require to be a successful engineer like writing good documentation, open-source best practices, communication, etc. Also, make sure you meet the eligibility criteria before applying for the program.

Google Season of Docs (GSoD)

One thing that an open-source project cannot get enough of is good documentation. However, Google Season of Docs is a new program by Google where technical writers and open source organizations come together and work on open source projects. The technical writers write documentation for open source organizations and also get paid by Google. It is a worthwhile platform for students to learn from industry experts and to work on open-source projects. Also, you need to remember that you must be aged 18 or more at the time of registration to become eligible for Google Season of Docs.


The Outreachy is also a really great program for students that aims to support diversity in open source. It is sort of a remote internship of 3 months and only a handful number of students are selected across the world. The Outreachy internship projects focus on programming, documentation, project marketing, etc. During the application process, you need to show some genuine eagerness that why you want to be an Outreachy intern and in turn, what you’re going to accomplish, and then how you plan to promote diversity and all sorts of things. It is a paid internship in which you are paid an amount of 5500 USD.

Season of KDE

The Season of KDE, hosted by the KDE community, is an outreach program for all individuals across the world. KDE is an international free software community that develops free and open-source software and you can contribute to KDE through the Season of KDE program. The participants of the Season of KDE program have not only contributed new features, but they are also responsible for developing KDE Continuous Integration System, ported KDE Applications, documentation, and various other things. Also, it is somehow similar to another prestigious program, Google Summer of Code

GirlScript Summer of Code (GSSoC)

GirlScript Summer of Code is the 3 month-long Open Source program during summers conducted by GirlScript Foundation, started in 2018, with an aim to help beginners get started with Open Source Development while encouraging diversity. Throughout the program, participants contribute to different projects under the guidance of experienced mentors. Top participants get exciting goodies and opportunities.

Apart from these, there are several universities, institutes that organize their own SoC programs to encourage newcomers.

E.g. NJACK Winter of Code by Indian Institute of Technology, Patna, KWoC by Kharagpur Open Source Society, IIT Kharagpur (KOSS), BOSS – Bountiful Open Source Summer by Coding Blocks, etc.

You don’t need to wait for a particular program to start in order to contribute to open source. So it is not like when Google Summer of Code will open up applications that will be the only time you can contribute. If you know a particular tech stack you can start right NOW!! And most importantly, open-source is not something that you do for a stipend. You do it to make an impact, it should be your passion. True “open-source contributors” find the idea of creating value for people and impacting the world through their work gratifying.


FOSSASIA is a non-profit organization supporting developers and makers of free and open-source technologies. FOSSASIA Codeheat is one of such programs run by it. Codeheat is a coding contest and here the mentors are developers, professors, or contributors who like to share and become a part of the FOSSASIA open source community. Codeheat is separated into two-month periods and after each period winners of the period are announced.

Top comments (1)

james2023 profile image

This article is written excellently and is extremely helpful.Thank you for sharing.

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