Hi Mentors and Org Admins,
Google Summer of Code is starting an exciting new chapter with multiple updates to the program in 2022. The open source ecosystem has evolved since GSoC’s first program in 2005 and we’re adjusting the program to meet the needs of our communities.
We discussed these changes in depth at the virtual Mentor Summit last week and wanted to give you the highlights as well as some of the finer details. This email is long, so I apologize in advance.
With this change we needed a new way to address the participants who are not students so we came up with the term “GSoC Contributors” as it is more welcoming than participants. We are trying to use the full term “GSoC Contributor” so they aren’t confused in a general conversation about contributors already in your community.
For orgs this still means you will be focused on bringing new contributors into your organization, this is not a way for your org to pay a current great contributor. You want to welcome new contributors, that is the true spirit of GSoC.
Why make this change now, after 17 years? In our previous 3 in-person mentor summits (2017-2019) we asked the question ‘who is your ideal GSoC contributor?’ a) students b) developers a little further into their careers than students (you aren’t teaching them version control, testing protocols, etc. because they are already familiar) or c) you are happy bringing excited new contributors into your community and their level of experience doesn’t necessarily matter to your org. And all 3 years the mentors were equally divided ⅓,⅓ and ⅓. We believe this is an opportunity to bring many more new contributors into your community that are excited to learn more about open source and will hopefully stay long after their GSoC program ends.
Explicitly stating requirements. If your org really enjoys mentoring students or wants a person with more general coding experience who can dive right into your codebase, you can choose to just focus on that particular group of GSoC Contributors. However you must be explicit and communicate this in every possible place to be fair to applicants who are looking into your org and want to write a proposal. You should state your strong preference in your instructions/requirements for proposals on your GSoC org homepage, under project ideas list or at any place where applicants will be looking before they dive into writing proposals. Organizations are encouraged to state experience level expected (beginner, intermediate, etc.) along with difficulty of the project (easy, medium, challenging).
(2) GSoC Contributors will be able to choose from multiple size projects ~175 hour (medium) and 350 hour (large). We understand not everyone can spend 30 hours a week on a coding project for 12 weeks but they would like to be a part of these communities with the help of mentors.
We know many mentors were concerned when we added the concept of 175hr projects for this year, and while it worked out great for many orgs, some orgs were not happy with the change and said their projects were very involved and need the bigger, 350 hour projects for the contributor to be able to get anything really accomplished. So for 2022 we will have both sizes of projects.
We strongly encourage orgs to have both size projects available in their project ideas lists and in their slot allocation requests. If your org really liked the 175 hr project size and just wants to have those available, that is fine. Keep in mind that when we are allocating slots, if your org is only asking for large projects and you are used to getting 5 or 6 slots you may only get 3 or 4 slots.
We know coming up with projects that are a certain time requirement can be tricky, but we trust you all. And if you realize that what you thought would be a 175 hr project is really more like a 275+ hr project, the mentor can work with the GSoC contributor to adjust the scope during the summer. This is what y’all have been doing for years and re-scoping is fine as long as you and the GSoC contributor are doing it together. You will not be able to switch a project to a larger project from a medium sized project once slots have been assigned.
The stipend amounts for GSoC Contributors will be in the same general range as the last couple of years with the medium size 175 hr projects being half the dollar amount of the 350 hr projects. The org stipend will be $500 per GSoC Contributor regardless of whether it’s a medium or large project.
(3) We are building increased flexibility around the timing of projects - there is an option to extend the standard 12 week coding time frame to a maximum of 22 weeks. This option is to allow for folks who may realize that spreading the work over say, 16 weeks, is a more realistic goal with their current life situation. Or for contributors who have life happen in the middle of the program and they can’t work on their projects for a few weeks, but they can come back to it after a month to finish it. Mentors and GSoC Contributors can work together to decide at the proposal stage if they want to lengthen a project to something longer than the 12 weeks or the extension can happen during the coding period itself. Ultimately the Org Admin will be the one making the end date adjustment for each GSoC Contributor project on their dashboard so they have the final say on when they want all projects completed in their org.
Hopefully this makes it easier for GSoC Contributors and mentors to be able to navigate together when obstacles occur and the GSoC Contributor can still successfully complete their project just in a bit longer time frame than they (and their mentor) may have planned on.
General Program Flow
The general program flow will continue to be the same up to the coding period, and then depending on the length of the student’s project (12 week, 15 week, etc.) their evaluation deadlines may vary. With the new webapp we are building, it will be very clear what your next action item is - this is especially important for org admins as they could have many projects spread out with different deadlines. We are very focused on making the webapp easy to use. : )
We encourage you to explore our resources (including flyers and slide decks), the Contributor/Student Guide (fully updated with the changes) and Mentor Guides (not updated yet, though only minor changes needed in there). You can also view (and share!) our announcement blog post. You can always check out our archive for previous successful projects by year.
The timeline for 2022 will be announced late this year on our upcoming new program site.
We hope you are excited about these changes.
Feel free to reach out to us at gsoc-s...@google.com with any specific questions or concerns.
Stephanie and Saranya