Kamdjou Duplex’s Secrets to getting Selected to Google Summer of Code 2020



So you want to be selected for Google Summer of Code 2020 from anywhere in the world? Give me four hours on the 22nd of February 2020 at Seven Academy and I’ll prepare you for this opportunity of a lifetime.

This GSoC Preparation Seminar is a must-attend because according to 2017 statistics 1,318 students got accepted and more than 4,200 students got rejected which concludes that acceptance rate is around 20–25 percent.

But before you meet me in the GSoC Preparation Seminar, read this post. Here, I’ll share my experiences of how I got selected in 2015 and 2016.

My name is Kamdjou Temfack Duplex M. Full Stack Web Development Instructor here at Seven Academy. See seven reasons why you should join me in class.


Ready? Let’s get started with the why, then my secrets, and finally the myths associated with GSoC. 

Join me on the 22nd of February 2020 for the GSoC Preparation Seminar. After the seminar, I’ll continue to share my experiences on what happens after you are selected. So it’s important you sign up for this list. 




The Non-Financial Benefits of Getting Selected for GSoC.


Because GSoC is open only to students, this program gave me my first opportunity to work while in school. Today, I have classmates working full-time remotely with organizations abroad from Cameroon. Thanks to GSoC.


GSoC will introduce you to a diverse programming culture. By diversity, I don’t mean nationality. Through GSoC, I meet different people with different approaches to solving the same problem. I found this very helpful.


In 2016 I got the opportunity to work with Pranjal Goswami who was my mentor for the Mifos-X project. In 2015,  Tommo Van Lessen mentored me for the Apache OED project. When I look back, their experiences and mentorship have been invaluable in my career. 


Also, through GSoC, I got to build a network that I would not have built otherwise as a student.

Finally, working on software that I know will improve the world gives me a reason to say I have contributed to better lives.

Join the GSoC mailing list.


7 Secrets to getting Selected for Google Summer of Code.


1. Be Ready to Help

For me, this is how it all began.


At tech events in Buea, Isaac Kamga and Nyah Check talked about GSoC. With their support and experience, I felt comfortable I was up to the task. So, I started learning about GSoC


As Kamga always said. “...the number one reason to participate in this program should be your desire to help and learn…” 


You know! Sometimes the best way to get ahead is to help others first. This is true in your career as a developer. In fact, helping and sharing knowledge is how Open Source was born in the 80s.


The fun fact is that, when you give generously, it comes back to you in unexpected ways. But, without a desire to help even if it means doing so for free will draw you back as a developer. 


Read more about open source culture.


2. Learn about Version Control Systems


Understanding Git/Github is a must. Learn more from this video. 

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3. Concentrate on one programming language and complement it with two or three others


It’s hard to keep up with the number of programming languages in existence today. This Wikipedia page for instance lists over 700 languages. 


There is no harm in mastering 3 - 4 languages. But to stand a better chance of getting selected, pick a programming language like JavaScript and master it. I recommend JavaScript because if you are good at it, JavaScript frameworks like ReactJS, VueJS, Angular, and NodeJS will be easy to work with. To increase your chances, complement JavaScript with other languages like Java, Go, Python or PHP. 


However, feel free to go with what you prefer.


In the video below, see the trend in the popularity of programming languages since 2014.

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4. Pick one or two organizations


By February 20, 2020, accepted organizations will be listed on the GSoC official website. So, be sure you are there on time.


Filter your search for organizations with projects you can contribute to by programing language. Go through their documentation and make sure to understand. 


5. Introduce yourself to the community and contribute


An introduction of yourself to the community is important.

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Once in, be proactive. Help by answering questions. But don’t destroy your reputation by asking questions that are already answered in the  Program Rules and FAQ


Moreover, at all times, avoid humor when communicating with the entire GSoC community. It does not translate well to large groups and is likely to be misconstrued by someone. In fact, read GSoC communication best practices here.


Finally, study the community and sort out leaders. Follow them and see how they weigh into important discussions. But as you’ll read in the communications best practices, never private message anyone without asking publicly in the forum.


6. Setup and run your project of choice on your PC


The biggest test, in my opinion, is to be able to set up and run the particular project you choose in your local machine. Make a change to it (like editing text). Then building it back successfully to reflect the change.


If you succeed at this, it means you have the skills. On the other hand, if you can’t, you should doubt your ability to go pass the selection stage.


7. Make your proposal.


As early as the 10th of March, start drafting your proposal which you must submit before the 30th of March.  


GSoC official sample proposal 1 and sample proposal 2.


Finally, here is my winning proposal for 2016


Two Lies I’ve Heard About GSoC


I read an article that emphasized that students should forget Windows and go for Linux or Ubuntu. I find this misleading because my 2016 project was completely JavaScript which I completed on Windows. So, it depends on the project you are working on.


Also, it is so obvious that you must know how to code to contribute to open source. I don’t think this is completely true. If you master more than one language, for instance, you can contribute to documenting by translating. Note this is only valid for Open-Source, not GSoC  ?

Join me on the 22nd of February 2020 for the GSoC Preparation Seminar. After the seminar, I’ll continue to share my experiences on what happens after you are selected. So it’s important you sign up for this list.


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Kamdjou Duplex

the world would not be so beautiful without people willing to share knowledge