Open Source Development is good for you
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GSoC (Google summer of code) - one of the open source programs of Google - has started again in 2009. Students come to work for open source projects during the summer and on success are paid by Google a fair amount of money.
This program is an ideal oportunity for students to get into open source projects: You get a mentor, you have pre-defined task to work on with a goal you set yourself. And in the end there is money.
At the beginning of GSoC student ranking Ted Dunning posted a very interesting mail on his view on why students should participate in open source development:
- It is a perfect chance to work together with senior developers that are passionate about what they do.
- Usually universities teach the theoretical side of life, which is good. But if working in industry later, students need experience with current development best practices and tools. They need to be aware of test driven development, they need to know how to use source control systems, continuous integration tools, build management frameworks, bug tracking tools. Open source projects usually are a great place to try out these technologies and learn how to best apply them.
- Working on open source students need to coordinate with their peers. They need to learn that development is not only about coding, but about communication as well.
- Last but not least this is a chance to chose yourself what you are working on and achieve so much more than when starting yet another brand new single developer project.
In the end all this adds up to learning and practicing the skills needed to successfully work on software development projects with more than just a few developers.