Journey to GSoC 2019

May 07, 2019

6th May 2019. After playing cricket with my friends at around 10:45 pm, I came back home, took a quick shower, and sat to check the results at 11:30 pm. Reloaded the dashboard at 11:30 pm, and there was my name. Finally! I got selected as a Student Developer in Google Summer of Code, 2019, with The ns-3 Network Simulator Project. The official mail came a bit late, but the website had the results on time.

GSoC 2019 Acceptance

A bit about the major phases in this journey:

How it started

I was looking forward to contributing to open source, to increase the skills and contribute to the community. I being a part of communities - IRIS, Institution of Engineers, NITK Chapter, Web Enthusiasts' Club at NITK Surathkal have contributed towards the college and the community but had never got a chance to broaden and contribute towards the larger community and thus was looking for a headstart in the open-source community and GSoC seemed to be the right place.

Choosing the Organization & Project

I started looking for previous years' selected organizations for GSoC based on my interests, skills, and technologies I knew during the winter break in college (December 2018). I was particularly looking for organizations related to networking, security, and systems.

I started looking into the projects of OWASP initially, and started contributing to their SecureTea Project and got quite a few PRs merged. I was also a bit familiar with ns-3 because of the course projects in Computer Networks and Advanced Computer Networks courses.

When Google released the list of selected organizations, both OWASP and ns-3 were selected. I had now to make a choice which one to apply. It wasn't going to be both since I wanted to focus on one properly rather than both. I chose to go ahead with ns-3 because:

  • The project was very much aligning to my interests,
  • I wanted to dive deeper into the networking field and systems.

Involving with the Community

Once I made up my mind about applying to ns-3, I joined the developers' mailing list for ns-3 and sent an introduction mail in March expressing interest to work on the project. The mentors Tom Henderson, Abhijith Anilkumar welcomed and made clear about the goals for the project and the expectations. This helped me in laying out a clear plan for the project.

GSoC Student Application Period

I had started preparing a draft of the proposal before the application period started, and had submitted a draft of the proposal as soon as the Application Period begin. The mentors Tom Henderson, Abhijith Anilkumar, Ankit Deepak provided quite a lot of feedback on the proposal which helped me refine the proposal more. I recommend anyone applying for the same to submit your proposals early so that mentors can review and give feedback.

I submitted the final proposal 30 minutes early(too late) of the deadline, and had a long wait of 27 days to announce the results.

Great thanks to my mentors, seniors, and friends - Mohit P. Tahiliani, Hrishikesh Hiraskar, Praveen Gupta who supported and encouraged to apply for GSoC, reviewed the proposal and provided their feedback. Much thanks to my parents and sister for supporting me always with all the decisions I made. Thankful to some of the closest friends/seniors - Salman Shah, Manish Kumar B, Siddhanth Pillay, Vilas M, Shreyas Shankar, Pavan Vachhani, Pavankumar Koratikere, Dhvanil Parikh, Bobby Patil, Samyak Jain, Namrata Ladda, Mehnaz Yunus and my childhood friend Kushal Majmundar who were their during the journey and have helped in each of the possible way without whom this wouldn't have been possible.

The journey wasn't as easy as it may sound. It comprised of almost everything: learning, failure, success, sleepless nights, self-doubt, sacrifices, excitement and whatnot.

The journey ahead isn't easy either. Now that the community bonding period has begun, looking forward to a great learning experience and contributing to the ns-3 community and interacting with the mentors and learning from them.