20+ Paid Open Source programs that can boost your skills and profile 🚀
Check out the list, Few tips to apply and get involved.
8 min read
Before we get started with the list and their details. I highly recommend you first check out what is Open source and how it can help you. You can read one of the previous blogs I have written here. Once you have a basic understanding of the open source and project participation, you should look into these programmes that let you participate in large real-time projects and get paid for doing so.
It is not required to participate in any of these programmes to contribute to Opensource. Although It is not mandatory, It will help you a lot. You can go ahead and contribute right now without having to wait for any program to start or participate in. Start contributing right now! Just get started! That's more important.
Talking about programs, a key element that many applicants fail to realise is that these organisations like to select and work with individuals who plan to continue their relationship with them after the programme has ended. It is not about getting selected but about working with the organisation and staying with them after. If you are someone that plans to get involved with the organisation for only the program period. I can assure you that you won't get selected.
Open source is about Collaboration. Not Competition
All of these programs accept applications on a global level. For someone like me based in India, it allows me to get real-world exposure by working on large codebases, and projects and collaborating with people around the world. And of course, the stipend we get paid is also a bonus and much higher than any internship in India.
Money should not be the driving force. It's a by-product. Be process-oriented and fueled by your work and Opensource, not money!
Please note that I will not be going through in detail about each of the programs. You can go to their websites and check the official documentation to get all the details and start applying. They are quite straightforward.
With all of this being said, Let us take a look at the list of programs and some tips to get selected:
List of Opensource Programs and Internships
Google Summer of Code:
GSoC is an amazing program that is run by Google. But I'd like to bust a myth first! NO, getting into GSoC does not mean it is an internship at Google or a pathway to Google.
They also do not provide you with any referrals to Google.
And it is not difficult to get in!
GSoC'23 has also been announced. Check out their timeline and everything here!
Major League Hacking(MLH) fellowship is an AMAZING open-source program that I highly recommend you to try and take part in. This program also has different tracks such as software engineering, Product engineering and Open-source.
The Fellowship also has multiple batches that you can apply to as per your accord.
Networking Opportunities are GREAT!
Reinforcement Learning Open Source Fest:
This is an Open source program that is run by Microsoft. The program has a wide range of projects for one to work on.
This is for students who are interested in the machine-learning domain
The Applications for this program begin on April 1st week.
You can check out the timeline, eligibility and everything about the program that you need here
This is a fellowship program run by The Linux Foundation. Many companies such as Hyperledger, Cloud Native computing foundation, RedHat etc take part in it.
These companies give projects to LFX mentorship and the selected students get to work on those projects and are paid a stipend for it.
You can read the Official documentation and acquire all the details you need.
You can go to this repository and check out the folder named "LFX mentorship" to check out the documentation and application deadlines and apply accordingly.
This program is relatively new but is growing fast.
LFN Mentorship Program:
This is another internship program which is quite good with quality projects. The applications open in April and the Stipend for Indians is 3000 USD while it is different on a global level.
You can check out the complete timeline and details here
Linux Kernel Mentorship Program:
This is another program that helps you to contribute to the Linux kernel and it runs multiple times a year with both part-time and full-time opportunities.
You can check out the entire information here
Outreachy is another great Open-source internship program that takes place for 2 months twice a year and pays the intern a total of 6000 USD.
This program is completely remote and diversity-focused.
You can check out the timeline and complete details here.
Google Season of Docs:
This is for people who are really into documentation or get started with it. This is another program run by Google but the above busted myths apply here too :)
You can learn more and apply if interested here.
Summer of Haskell
Julia Season of Contributions
These are some organizations that take part in GSoC but have their own open-source program running too. This is because they like to select students who work hard or well but could not get selected due to a lack of slots provided by Google.
You can google each of them and find out more about how to apply if interested.
Open Mainframe projects:
Hyperledger Mentorship Program:
If you are someone who is into Blockchain and technologies surrounding it. This is a program for you.
These take part in the LFX mentorship program and have their own program running too as explained above for similar reasons.
You can easily google their names and get all the official documentation which you can read and get all the details required to get selected and contribute.
- Season of Bitcoin:
This is another good program for someone interested in blockchain.
The stipend is paid in Bitcoin which in my personal opinion is a lucrative payout.
You can start applying immediately! Check out more details here
- 24 Pull Requests:
This is a good program run in December to encourage open-source projects and contributors. It is highly recommended for Beginners or people new to open source.
- Open Innovation Projects:
This program has some quality projects and it does some amazing work.
Unfortunately, it is currently unavailable in India. It is open for everyone outside so if you are from outside India, do apply.
They do some good work.
- Season of KDE:
This is a program run by the KDE community. They take part in GSoC but also have their own program running.
You can check out their timeline and all the details required to get started here
I think everyone knows about this. If you don't, Hacktoberfest is a open-source program run in October every year which encourages people new to opensource to make contributions and win swags too.
Don't spam Pull requests for the sake of T-shirts or swag. Nothing good comes from it. :)
- Foss Asia:
This has amazing projects and a popular program. The projects available are also quite good.
You can check out more information on them here or Apply here
- Free Software Foundation:
This is an internship program with a lot of perks and amazing projects to work on.
You can learn more about them and apply if interested here.
- A Snippet of many other programs:
As you can see there are plenty of opportunities. What matters is you keep trying. GSoC or MLH are not the only programs or good ones. You can try any of these programs and contribute value to big projects which allow you to learn and grow.
If you don't get selected for a program, don't be disheartened. Try for another program and keep adding value to projects in the meanwhile.
Some tips to get selected:
Do not wait for deadlines. Apply to the program as early as possible!
Programs look for candidates that are active in the community and engage well.
They intend to work with people who plan to stay with them even after the program ends.
Build a collaborative mindset. Work in collaboration over competition.
When submitting a proposal for programs. Try applying to large projects that have an impact.
Apply to only one organization, not multiple. It increases your chances! You can apply for multiple projects inside a single organization though.
Make sure the proposal you send in is precise, concise and makes your case. You need to show them how you are a good fit.
You can do the above by writing a good proposal with a timeline as to how you plan on carrying out the project in a vague manner at least.
Leverage your skills or past contributions to strengthen your position.
Join communities, their mailing lists and communication channels and get involved with them.
Above are some of the tips that you can use to get selected. These are some tips given by people who have both taken part in these programs both as a mentee and a mentor.
As I said, do not wait for any program to begin, start contributing and adding value today. Just get started! All the best on your journey and you can follow me for more technical articles soon. Thank you!
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