GSoC - Initial phase and getting selected

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Google Summer of Code

Previous post - GSoC - Selecting the project and organization

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. - Pele

Understanding the Project

As I’ve already chosen my project (Read the previous post), It was time to know it better and work for it. So, I studied the details of the project form the organization wiki page and got an Idea of what this project is about. Believe me, when I say I got an Idea, I just got an Idea and didn’t understand most of the things. So, I mailed the project mentor asking more about the project. Then in response, I got a mail describing everything in detail and after going through the mail several times the first thing I understood was that the project is not what the project title(Web based certificate and Profile user interface) shows, It is much more than that.

At first, I thought that the project is about creating user profiles and then downloading some certificates. But after the detailed mail from the mentor I got to know that it is more about Generating, Creating, Administrating, Validating, Authenticating, Automating, Revocating, etc. at this point I got a little scared and a lot nervous asking myself, Will I be able to build something like this? But the detailed description got me more interested in the project.

After getting to know that what I have known is not what the project is, I thought to understand it again from the starting. So, step by step I got to know it more, each time I got the response to my queries regarding it from the mentor and after like 10 mail exchanges I got to know the requirements of the organizations, significance of the project and understood the project almost 70%, Yaa just 70% after all that :smile:. At this point, I was creating some diagrams(Use case/DFD) to understand the project more and was sharing them with the mentor, for corrections/suggestions. This thing helped me a lot in understanding the project more as I was exploring the new depths of the project. It is really important to understand what one is going to build and communicate with the mentor to clear one’s doubts so that one can make a strong roadmap for the project as well as a good project proposal.

After getting through all these things I asked my mentor What else can I do so as to increase my chances of getting selected for the project? In the response, I got a list of few things to do, which were basically for improving my understanding regarding the VPN’s eg. installing, configuring, tweaking and using the VPN from multiple platforms. I did all the things listed and It really helped me a lot in understanding the project more.

Making Project Proposal

Everything I did till now was for understanding the project more. But it was time to reflect that understanding as well as creating a roadmap for the project and making a Project proposal. Project mentor told me to create a proposal and share it with the organizations for review. I asked him does the organization have any proposal template/question set, using which I can make my proposal. He told me they don’t have any template/question set and told me to put what is important and necessary in the proposal. So, I took the question set of another organization and converted the questions into relevant headings, eliminated few questions(as they were not necessary) and start working on the proposal.

I divided the project into 4 modules and 5 stages, where each module had few submodules and it was further divided into 12 tasks. I described all of them depending upon their complexity. Out of these modules, tasks and stages, I identified a few components which needed the most description as to how they’re going to be build and imported/exported with other modules. This phase was a little difficult as I had to represent all the information that too in detail and in a sorted manner without making the proposal a mess. Well, I succeeded :smile: and during this phase, I took help of Manoj, Lokesh and Gurpreet (my friends) to get the proposal reviewed everytime I updated the draft. Also, I had a prior knowledge of What not to do in a project proposal and what should be in a proposal, which I got last year while applying for GSoC 2017 (with no success). Then I shared the draft(80% complete) with the project mentor but got no suggestions/feedbacks as at that time he was busy in the IETF conference, so I shared the draft with the organization. At that time members of the organizations were viewing the draft but provided no feedback/suggestions so this situation was a little uneasy for me as even the draft wasn’t complete and I was getting no reviews. Anyway, I completed the remaining 20% proposal during the last 2 days and uploaded my final proposal 30-40 mins before the deadline. That’s how I completed and submitted my proposal.

Getting selected

It is already 09:30 PM on the result day, I’m busy chatting with a friend regarding the photos of a trip and completely unaware of the fact that the result was to be announced at 09:30 PM. Its when I saw the story of a friend stating «GSoC result @ 09:30», I realized it. Then I checked the result on their website and I was selected :joy: (wasn’t having many expectations, although had worked a lot). Then I told my friend (i was chatting with) about it and then my other friends from the hostel, we all were excited as hell (me because you know and they because they’d no idea I am applying for GSoC, it came to them as a great surprise) and then I went to meet my those friends who’ve helped me achieve this target by motivating and supporting me and at last but not the least I called my parents to give them this great news.

The journey

This journey till the phase of selection was exciting and full of suspense and during this, I lost my motivation to keep going many times. I used to sleep like I can’t do it anymore and then wake up like I’ll try one more time. Many times Manoj helped me regain my motivation and the other times my inner self.

Next post - GSoC - Completing the project