Sunday, October 14, 2007

Summer of Code: Summer comes

(CV and qualifications in the application)

So the application is completed and submitted and, a few weeks later, the acceptance notification day comes. Then one of two things happens: either your application was rejected, either it was accepted.

It it was rejected, do not let these news sadden you too much. The positive thing you are carrying away from all this effort is the practice in writing technical project applications. This is a very useful skill and makes you much better prepared for the next such contest.

If it was accepted, congratulations; now get busy with the project! Some advice for the summer:

  • So this is your full-time job now, just with very flexible hours. See [4] for an example of time commitment requirement.
  • Communicate with your project. Hard to overstate, hard, although possible, to overdo. In particular, do not write to mentor only when it's more appropriate to write to the mailing list – most of the technical questions should go there.
  • Communicate with your mentor, especially if something went wrong or you have doubts about the project:
    • If you feel that project scope is too big.
    • If you think that the project deliverables need to be adjusted.
    • If you experience some strange difficulties involving the organization, for example, if getting source code repository access takes ages.
    • If you feel that discussions with other project developers are unproductive in some, maybe even bad, way.
    • Don't be afraid to do so. Remember that your mentor wants you to succeed and will do what he can to help you.
  • Check-in code often to your branch. It's much better to post small incremental patches than to work silently for two months and then de-lurk with one big code change. In addition to the usual source code version control advantages, the organization will see your progress and you will get feedback earlier - when you actually can act on it.
  • Do not expect to follow your project plan to the letter. It is almost guaranteed that things will change. When you see it coming, discuss the necessary change with your mentor and make it. Repeat as needed. Do not stick to the original plan just for plan's sake.
That's almost it! Conclusion next.

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