Akhil Bhalerao
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My GSSoC'21 Experience

Akhil Bhalerao
ยทJun 14, 2021ยท

5 min read

My GSSoC'21 Experience

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My journey has been amazing with GSSoC'21, I got to learn so much about opensource, how to use Git & GitHub effectively and how to contribute to existing projects.

I want at least some of you all who read this, to take something from my journey with GSSoC and participate in the upcoming year or start contributing to opensource.

This article will cover:

  • What is GSSoC?
  • How to apply?
  • How I got to know about this?
  • My first PR.
  • Amazing people I met and projects I contributed to.
  • Conclusion.

What is GSSoC?

GSSoC or GirlScript Summer of Code is a 3-month long opensource competition conducted in summers. GSSoC is specially designed for beginners or first-time contributors to introduce and help them to get started with their opensource journey.

How to apply?

The applications for GSSoC start around the month of February on the https://gssoc.girlscript.tech/ website, where you can apply for the role of Participant, Mentors, and Project admins.

I applied to become a participant, as it was my first time taking part in such a competition. Then the next thing you have to do is fill a google form with basic details and answer two easy questions which show how passionate are you about this program:

  1. Why do you want to participate?
  2. What do you expect from this program?

After that, be patient. They will send a mail to all the selected participants in the last week of Feb. Selection is very easy just remain true to the answers and keep your fingers crossed ๐Ÿคž to get selected.

How I got to know about this?

It was just another day when I came across this random video on youtube of a fellow named Harsh Bardhan Mishra, how a college student just like us was able to do and achieve so much by contributing to opensource projects, from him I got to know about GSSoC. The moment I googled GSSoC, I found out that they were starting 2021 participant's forms in just about a week.

Just a piece of advice, if you are not on Twitter, then go ahead and create an account, as you will get to know tons of announcements and updates happening in the industry.

After waiting for about 2 weeks I got an email from GSSoC stating that I am selected for the 2021 program. Man, I was very happy and over the moon that day! I couldn't wait to start my opensource journey through this.

My First PR (ever) :

The program started in the first week of March and the project list was announced, and here comes the interesting part, I had no idea how to take an issue or create one, how to use Git/GitHub, and how to create a Pull Request(PR). On the other hand, participants had already started making contributions to the project which overwhelmed me a little. So, I started researching for projects that suited my skills and I found one, named RottenScripts, where I took up a good first issue and the task assigned was to scrape problems from the CodeForces website and save it in a PDF file. I was pretty nervous as this was my first issue and started working on it immediately. It took me more than 12 hours to understand and solve it. Once the issue was solved, I invested some time learning Git/GitHub so that I could put up my first PR. After PR had been up, the mentors requested some changes which I implemented and then they merged my PR. Yes, they successfully merged my "First" PR. The satisfaction you will get after getting your first PR merged makes all your efforts worth it.

Amazing mentors and projects

The communities you joined and the connections you make in this journey are going to be memorable. The mentors and project admins will make you feel very involved, and they guide and correct you by making you follow best coding practices. Although I made many mistakes, the mentors always encouraged and told me, that making mistakes was the best way to learn. No matter what background you come from, there are will be projects you can contribute to. You can check this page and have a look at the projects present in GSSoC'21. I found many projects according to my niche for Computer vision, ML, Scraping, Automation, and DSA, and made successful contributions to them. I worked on issues like Drowsiness detection, Sign Language Detection, Spaceship Game, Snapchat filters, WebScrapers, and much more. I would like to express my gratitude to Harsh Bardhan Mishra, Vybhav, Kaustubh Gupta, Aditya Kumar Gupta, and Akshita Gupta for their constant support throughout the program.

How the leaderboard affects your state of mind?

In GSSoC for every issue you take up, you get assigned to a certain level of points which will show up on the leaderboard. By the time the leaderboard was up, I managed to get 5 PRs merged and started to get the feel of the competition. The guy who was leading had already managed to get 40 PR merges. Although the leaderboard adds to the competitive spirit, you have to keep in mind that you are not just here to gain points, but to learn about opensource and make useful contributions to the projects, which will also help to improve your professional portfolio. Being a first-time contributor, I recommend you to try out everything and not only rely on easy issues but also challenge your skills from time to time which will help you learn new things.


As the competition came to an end I stood at 57th rank out of a total of 1305 active participants. I had a total of 43 successful PR merges in this span of 3 months.

Below is my contribution chart and participation certificate.


GSSOC - Certificate - Akhil Bhalerao.png

If you are thinking to participate in GSSoC next year or contributing to Opensource, then tighten your seatbelts, as you will get to learn pretty cool stuff and make new connections just like I did. You will Get to know how to master Git and GitHub and make contributions to opensource projects. Investing time and learning about opensource will be one of the best decisions of your life.

If you like this blog, or you want to cherish when you get your first PR merged, you can follow me on Twitter and DM me and we'll celebrate it together. You can also reach to me if you have any queries. "Remember there's no such thing as a stupid question." Till then, keep doing the good stuff.

Happy Learning ๐Ÿ˜„!

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