Student Guide

What is Google Summer of Code?

You've heard other students talking about it, you've seen flyers and blog posts on it and now you want to know more! So here we go... 

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global program that matches students up with open source, free software and technology-related organizations to write code and get paid to do it! The organizations provide mentors who act as guides through the entire process, from learning about the community to contributing code. The idea is to get students involved in and familiar with the open source community and help them to put their summer break to good use.

Accepted students gain exposure to real-world software development, and employment opportunities in areas related to their academic pursuits. Participating organizations are able to identify and bring in new developers. Best of all, more source code is created and released for the use and benefit of all; all code produced as part of the program is released under an open source license. The fact that you get to write code that people from all over the world can use - how cool is that!

This program has brought together thousands of students and mentors from over 100 countries worldwide. At the time of writing, over 200 open source projects, from areas as diverse as operating systems and community services, have participated as mentoring organizations for the program. Successful students have widely reported that their participation in GSoC made them more attractive to potential employers and that the program has helped greatly when embarking on their technical careers.

Goals of the Program

The GSoC program has several goals:

  • Get more open source code written and released for the benefit of all.
  • Inspire young developers to begin participating in open source development.
  • Help open source projects identify and bring in new developers.
  • Provide students the opportunity to do work related to their academic pursuits during the summer: "flip bits, not burgers."
  • Give students more exposure to real-world software development (for example, distributed development and version control, software licensing issues, and mailing list etiquette).

A Brief History of Google Summer of Code

Google Summer of Code began in 2005 as a complex experiment with a simple goal: helping students find work related to their academic pursuits during their school holidays. In GSoC's first year, 40 projects and 400 students participated. In 2010, the sixth Google Summer of Code wrapped up to the best results yet: 89% of the 1,026 student participants in the program successfully completed their projects. Best of all, most of the organizations participating over the past six years reported that the program helped them find new community members and active committers.

So you can imagine how GSoC has grown over the last few years and in the process helped students in making most of their summer time by working on exciting open source projects and also helped the open source community by finding them potential contributors.

You can take a look at the appendix if you're interested in a more extensive history of the program.