Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Feedback from our 2011 application process

I asked members of our Google Group for feedback on our application process.

First off, students really appreciated the responsiveness of mentors, on the group and directly.  This year we've tried to keep as many of the early discussions on the group as possible so they can help other applicants and take the place of a FAQ.

An outstanding suggestion we will be using is to have successful candidates blog getting started with Sakai and its large codebase, to help future GSoC students and the official community 'getting started' guides too.

Future ideas on the ideas page will have associated Jira tickets (bugs/issues/tasks) wherever possible, or discussion pages where that makes more sense.

We'll also encourage mentors to include 'initial assignments' that can serve to introduce the project for accepted candidates during the socialisation period and give applicants a way to show their skills - it's a neat and constructive way of having a 'coding challenge' element which is popular in many other orgs.

I think we'll also be trying to streamline the whole application process and make it less intimidating. We've had fewer applications per project this year than last (so far anyway - applications are still open) so it probably needs to be more exciting and more accessible. Between the blog, Google group, ideas page and Melange page there's a lot of information to take in, and that's before even starting on the Sakai community pages.

Kudos to Kasun Lakpriya, Nandana Mihindukulasooriya, Avinash Parida and Aadish Kotwal for their terrific feedback.    

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Student Application deadline approaching!

Friday is the last day to get in your applications!

If you're interested in any of Sakai's six absolutely great projects now's the time to make tracks to our application template and start asking questions.  We'll try our best to answer quickly and even give you feedback on your application.  When you're ready, submit your application via Melange.

Here they are again for you:
  1. Sakai CLE mobile app
  2. Improve Sakai CLE WebDAV support
  3. Sakai OAE native mobile app
  4. Sakai OAE Column Storage Driver
  5. Integrate Luke as a Felix Web Console Plugin
  6. Implement Social API interfaces of OpenSocial
We've had interest up and down the list but it's fair to say number 1 is proving popular, while 2, 5 and 6 are still completely open fields application wise. 

Why are these great projects you should seriously be applying for?  First and foremost, the project mentors are all professional developers and ninjas - you can't buy this sort of training.  Second, these are all tremendously valuable projects to Sakai and using interesting and up to date technologies.  WebDAV support is practically guaranteed to be used by tens of thousands of people - think about having that to boast of on your resume.  Building a management interface using Luke and Felix for key Apache Solr-powered search functionality, in a highly modular software environment using many cutting-edge OSS projects, is a classic piece of CV-enhancing development which will get you experience in search and many other technologies.  Implementing OpenSocial APIs for Sakai OAE is a key part of Sakai's open and social vision and not only introduces you to social technologies but API-building in general.

You know you want this - now get on your bike and apply!