How I got a remote, paid internship with The Tor Project through Outreachy

What is Outreachy?

Outreachy is a remote paid internship to work in Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Outreachy internships are open to applicants around the world. Outreachy Interns work with experienced mentors from FOSS communities. Outreachy internship projects may include programming, user experience, documentation, illustration, graphical design, data science, project marketing, user advocacy, or community event planning. Anyone who faces under-representation, systemic bias, or discrimination in the technology industry of their country is invited to apply.

Outreachy internship applications are open twice a year. I am happy to say that I have been accepted as an intern for the end of year internship. From December to March, I shall be interning under The Tor Project. The Tor Project, a nonprofit working towards advancing human rights and defending privacy online through free software and open networks. I’m very excited to be part of the community!


My Outreachy application process

I came across Outreachy a year ago through a Facebook friend. Back then, I couldn’t apply because I didn’t meet the eligibility criteria. The main motivation to apply this year was the free time I have. Because I am taking a gap year from school, I really wanted to put the time into good use. Because Outreachy gives me the opportunity to gain new skills, I was very excited to apply.

At first glance, I made a decision to apply to The Tor Project. This is because I had been using the organization’s flagship product, Tor Browser, for the past couple of years. Also, I’ve always been passionate about privacy and anonymity. The Tor Project had two projects. I applied to both, but got selected for the project “Help Tor Project support our users”

The Outreachy application process was pretty straightforward. First, I had to go through an initial application step where I answered some essay questions and confirmed my time commitment. After that, there was the contribution period. This is the most important part, as the contributions you make here will determine whether or not you are a good fit for the applied project. So you better choose a project which matches your skills.

The Outreachy website offers a place where you record all your contributions. In several cases, I had to check in with my mentor on how to record the contribution of a particular task. Some contributions were easy to record, such as submitting a pull request. Other contributions like sending a reply to an email question was harder to record.

After recording all contributions, a final application was created. This process required answers to questions, some of which I had to ask my mentor for possible answers.

Once my application was completed on November 5th, I literally counted down the days till Nov 26th, when the results would be released. At 4 pm UTC on the dot, I checked my emails. Woohoo! I had been accepted into Outreachy. It was a blissful feeling, knowing that my hard work paid off 😀

If you are eligible and considering applying to Outreachy, then do it! You may be thinking that out of over a thousand applicants, why would you be the chosen few? Don’t doubt yourself. Pick a project you’re passionate about and apply. When you have any doubts, ask questions. Put in your best effort and you shall make it. Good luck!

P.S: Applications for the May to August 2020 round will open on January 22 😉

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