Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is software that gives the user the freedom to use, copy, study, change, and improve it. FOSS contributors believe that this is the best way to develop software because it benefits society, creates a fun collaborative community around a project, and allows anyone to make innovative changes that reach many people.
Google Summer of Code is a global program that offers students stipends to write code for FOSS projects. Participants work remotely from home, while getting guidance from an assigned mentor and collaborating within their project’s community. The application deadline for Google Summer of Code is March 21 and the program dates are May 19 to August 18. The stipend for the program is $5,500 (USD).
In an effort to improve the gender diversity in FOSS, a number of organizations are offering Outreach Program for Women internships through a program organized by the GNOME Foundation. These internships are open to women (cis and trans) and genderqueer. The internships have the same structure, the same stipend and similar program dates. The application deadline for the Outreach Program for Women is March 19 and the program dates are May 19 to August 18. Unlike in Google Summer of Code, participants do not need to be students and non-coding projects are available. In addition to coding, projects include such tasks as graphic design, user experience design, documentation, bug triage and community engagement.
To apply for either program, you need to connect with a participating organization early, select a project you want to work on, create a project plan, and make a few relevant contributions.
The mentorship opportunities are also available throughout the year for anyone interested in getting started contributing to FOSS outside of the formal internship program. In addition to the organizations participating in the Outreach Program for Women, more organizations that offer informal mentorship to all newcomers are listed here: