As a junior programmer applying into Outreachy was a big challenge. Even the thought of deciding to apply was a scary one too. Open source was not something I was very much engaged in but I had to give it a try, after all, you never know if you are ready till you are tested.

Around November 2018 a few months after I had just started learning to code, a friend of mine Perside who was a contributor and intern at Wikimedia for Google Summer of code encouraged me to engage in open source, for it was the best way to learn and fast too.

Me being eager to learn took up the challenge and came into the Wikimedia Organisation.I joined Wikimedia because it used the technologies I was learning which were HTML,CSS, PHP.That’s where I began to know the world of open source its difficulties, and how to overcome them. Getting around was not easy. Getting to know how to use version control services like Git/Github and Wikimedia’s own method of contributing were major milestones but I liked them because in overcoming them I learned a lot and with Perside’s help and the help from the Wikimedia community I was able to make 5 beginner Pull Requests within 2 months. For me, it was a huge achievement at the time.

At the launching of the May to August Outreachy session and Google Summer of code, I decided to go in for Outreachy because I knew I was not good enough for tough competitions like GSOC but the nature of Outreachy is to engage girls in underrepresented tech countries into open source so then it doesn't have to be very competitive.

I began my application late and before I was accepted by the Outreachy website Wikimedia was already flooding with applicants and many micro tasks already being solved. The competition was already too high so then I had to move to another org. A fault I made when preparing for Outreachy was that after contributing to Wikimedia for some time I left for a few months and returned only during the application period which was very wrong.And from that, I learned that Perseverance is the key.

I then decided to find another Org to contribute to. Looking for alternate organizations was very difficult especially with a candidate like me who had limited skill set. In my mind, at the time I was searching for an Org that uses my technologies but PHP organisations were very limited.

Searching for an Org gave me a lot of exposure; I had to join mailing lists of several Orgs, Slack Channels, Zulip Chats, IRC chats e.t.c Talking on an Organisation’s mailing list was major empowerment. I had to know how to be Polite, how to speak to the point and so much more.

Finally, I found an Org I could contribute to. The Mifos Initiative it is a U.S.-based non-profit that exists to support and collectively lead the open source Mifos X project. Its goal is to speed the elimination of poverty by enabling financial service providers to more effectively and efficiently deliver responsible financial services to the world's 2.5 billion poor and unbanked. Mifos is a very experienced organization and so is very organized when it comes to programs like GSoC and Outreachy. Left with few weeks to the application I started contributing to the project “ Update Mifos X User Manual & Convert to Gitbooks Format “ This project was an easy one it was a documentation project it only entailed the applicants to update images with those found on the Demo app deployed online, Correct grammatical, vocabulary, typo errors and make edits and convert the User manual documentation from Confluence to Gitbook. Since it was very easy the competition was also tough but approachable. It was the sort of project that I could make like 50 or more edits in one day but it was not really what I wanted to use to participate in Outreachy, because I wanted to work on a coding project. Day by Day on the Outreachy website Organisations and projects increased and I was very vigilant.

After contributing to Mifos for 3 weeks I finally saw an Org in my League. Ushahidi, Inc it is a non-profit technology company with staff in nine countries whose mission is to help marginalized people raise their voice and those who serve them to listen and respond better .It provided 2 projects and I was competing for either of them. The Org was very friendly and responsive. I had to begin the process of finding their community chats and familiarity with the codebase and project understanding. It was hectic but I went for it. I got in touch with the project mentors and community members and while trying to contribute I needed help and they responded accurately but it was already 2 weeks to the application deadline I had to hurry. I successfully made a number of Pull Requests recorded them and began to work on an application proposal. I had till the 23rd of March 2019 to apply to MIfos which I did successfully while for USHAHIDI its deadline was the 2nd of April 2019.

“Voice Integration into Ushahidi platform” was the project name. Usually, Outreachy only requires a time plan submitted to the outreachy website and some other short QAs on the Application form. But this project required much more, so after applying to the Outreachy website I still had to submit a project proposal to the Project mentor.

All that was done in due time and I successfully applied for 2 projects in 2 different Organisations. The announcement date drew closer but I did not relent I continued contributing to the Organisation, did more research on my project, and stayed in contact with mentors. Then the announcement date came.

Yayy!! I was selected. What a relief!!!. I was selected for the voice integration project in USHAHIDI but nevertheless, I received appreciation and encouragement from Mifos because at Mifos I made it to the short list of applicants preselected for Outreachy.

Being selected for this project is a huge achievement for me. The few days I have spent in USHAHIDI as an intern have been very exciting. I love the project I am working on it will expose me to new technologies and enable me to increase my skills. I will put in my all to see this project to completion and add an additional Data collection source and feature to the Ushahidi platform

To anyone worried about applying to Outreachy my advice is don’t be afraid of going out there you might be like me thinking it is too early but what better time is there than now. To prepare for Outreachy you need to, first of all, be versed with Open source that will serve as a catalyst to your growth and application strength. Most importantly don’t wait till it is announced before you contribute to an Org.Start now find an Org inline with the technologies you know and begin contributing there. By so doing you have taken a hundred steps more than someone who just comes after the announcement of the internship. Do your best during application. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket by applying to one Org apply to multiple so that you have higher chances but be able to manage them.