Twice a year, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) communities work with Outreachy organizers to offer internships to people traditionally underrepresented in tech. Interns work remotely with mentors from Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) communities on projects ranging from programming, user experience, documentation, illustration and graphical design, to data science. A coordinator for each participating FOSS community works with Outreachy organizers to track mentors, find funding, and advertise their internship projects.

Outreachy interns come from a wide range of backgrounds. Outreachy is open to applicants from underrepresented groups over 18 who fit our eligibility rules. Interns could be university students, code school graduates, people switching careers, or people coming back to tech after starting a family or other long absence. Most Outreachy interns already have some exposure to using FOSS and technical knowledge, but many of them have not contributed to FOSS communities before. During our six-week application period, potential interns make contributions to the participating FOSS communities, which allows mentors to accurately evaluate their skills.

Urvika Gola (Outreachy alumni December 2016) works with Google Summer of Code alumni Pranav Jain on their Android project, Lumicall.



Urvika Gola, former Outreachy intern, hacks on the open source Android application, Lumicall, with former Google Summer of Code intern, Pranav Jain. (Photo CC-BY-NC-SA Sarah Sharp.)

FOSS Community Requirements

FOSS communities that wish to participate in Outreachy need to meet our requirements:

  1. They need to meet specific requirements of Outreachy's parent organization, Software Freedom Conservancy, as explained below.
  2. They need funding to sponsor at least one intern ($6,500). FOSS communities are often sponsored by their foundation or corporate sponsors who use or contribute to their community.
  3. They need at least one person to be the coordinator for community's participation in Outreachy.
  4. They need to have at least two mentors who have read and understand our requirements for mentors as explained below. (Mentors can double as coordinators with smaller communities.)

If your community meets our requirements, you should review the timeline below, and then apply to be an Outreachy community.

Software Freedom Conservancy Requirements

Because Software Freedom Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) charity in the United States, all internships must forward the organization's mission to promote free and open source software in the public interest. Participating free software projects can't be too tightly tied to any one company and must have a significant public community of contributors. All nonprofit free software organizations are welcome to participate. All work done by Outreachy interns should be public and done out in the open on public channels connected with the project.

Mentor Requirements

Outreachy mentors come up with first time contributions for Outreachy applicants, and project ideas for the internship.

Mentors should be able to commit at least 5 hours a week on most weeks from the beginning of the six-week application period through the end of the three-month internship. The application period is often more time-intensive than the internship period, because applicants will need help getting started and identifying a good first contribution they can make to the FOSS project. Having a co-mentor or a project team who can review contributions and point people in the right direction can help spread the load during the application period and internship.

Each mentor will also need to accept a mentor agreement and their intern will need to accept an intern agreement. These agreements allow the Outreachy parent organization, Software Freedom Conservancy (Conservancy), to run the program while ensuring that your participation in the program is legally appropriate and that Conservancy holds no responsibility for any inappropriate or grossly negligent behavior of the participants. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about the agreements.

If you are comfortable with the 5 hour a week time commitment and the mentor agreement, you should review the timeline below, and then review the Outreachy mentorship process.

Timeline

There are two Outreachy rounds (May to August, and December to March). The timeline for mentoring orgs looks like:

Mid-year round End of year round
Pre-application period Late January, early February Late August, early September Outreachy organizers reach out to open source communities to see if they want to participate in the next round. Participating communities find funding and prepare their landing pages. Some communities may be added during the application period, but we like to ensure that new communities have at least 3 weeks of the application period to evaluate potential interns.
Application period mid-February to end of March early September to mid-October Outreachy applicants select projects they're interested in, and make small contributions to those projects. We find that the strongest applicants make multiple small contributions consistently throughout the application process. Having a list of starter tasks is essential to finding the right candidates. We will also have a Twitter chat with the #OutreachyChat hashtag to introduce mentors.
Intern selection mid April end of October Participating communities go through the applications in the Outreachy application system, and select the applicants they want to accept as interns. If they have strong applicants that they don't have funding to select, they can ask the Outreachy organizers to provide additional internship funding from the Outreachy general fund. Outreachy organizers will also work with existing sponsors to try to find additional funds. If this is the May to August round, Outreachy will collaborate with any projects that are participating in Google Summer of Code to coordinate intern selection. Once all interns are selected for all projects and funding sources are confirmed, the Outreachy organizers will announce the selected interns. Applicants will confirm via email they want to participate in the internship.
Internships Start end of May beginning of December Mentors officially begin guiding their interns on the project work..
Mid-term Review mid July mid January Mentors provide mid-internship feedback to Outreachy organizers and indicate whether interns should be paid the mid-term payment.
Final Review end of August beginning of March Mentors provide final internship feedback to Outreachy organizers and indicate whether interns should be paid the final payment.
Internships End end of August beginning of March Mentors should encourage and support interns in continuing their community participation through volunteer or paid opportunities, as suits the nature of the community and the interests of the intern.