I’ve been reading about Google’s Summer of Code.
Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source software projects.
The students who successfully complete the program will receive $4500 but the experience of taking part can be worth so much more than that.
When I was at university I applied for a summer scholarship in order to get £1000 (about $1400) for 10 weeks work. I still remember how nervous I was applying. There were only 10 places and the university had hundreds of eligible students. My senior lecturer sponsored me to continue working on my final year dissertation project. This was an application for the Apple Mac written in HyperTalk that showed connecting pathways in metabolic systems.
I got the place, finished the project, and decided against a career in biochemistry. I spent the next four years working full-time and studying at night and just before I completed my Masters I finally got the job I wanted – Junior Analyst Programmer. It all seems like such a long time ago but I know that getting that scholarship made me realise that I had a chance at succeeding in computing.
One of the computing related things I do now is work for The Perl Foundation (TPF). TPF is hoping to take part in GSoC this year and Jonathan Leto has posted a request on his blog asking the world-wide Perl Monger groups to encourage students to take part.
It’s impossible to know how many students use Perl. But there is no doubt that we want to encourage students to both use and help develop the language.