Rails Girls Summer of Code

How to Apply?

Applications for Rails Girls Summer of Code are open until May 2nd, 2014, 23:59 UTC!

This guide gives you all the information about what you will need when applying for Summer of Code. Take a look to ensure you know about all the components of a good application, and use our handy dandy overview links (below), to navigate quickly between the sections of this guide. If you have everything you need to apply, you can start formulating your application.

Who Is Eligible To Apply?

Applications to Rails Girls Summer of Code are open to anyone who:

  • Self-identifies as female and/or has experiences being socialized as female. No-one is excluded from applying on the basis of gender, but people who self-identify as female, or have experiences being socialized as female, are given preference during selection
  • Has attended one or more Rails Girls (or similar) introductory Ruby workshops or has visited other community events that started their interest in programming.
  • Has significantly expanded their programming skills after a workshop in a study group, or independently, by working on a suitable project. We recommend 6 months of training or more. We will ask for coding examples.
  • Can spend 3 months of their summer working on their Open Source project of choice.
  • Is not already a professional software developer.

You do not have to be a student at a University to apply, and there are certainly no degree or age limitations.

What Do You Need To Apply?


Coaches are developers who are (preferably) based in the same city as you, and can help you accomplish your project tasks. You are not limited to how many coaches you can use during your project, but you must have access to someone who can help you with your project throughout the summer, preferably for at least a few hours a day. Be specific about the days and hours when your coaches can help you. A roster of which coach will help on which days, is favorable for your application. Discuss your project with your coaches and make sure they can support you.

Finding a coach in your geographic location is advisable. Better yet, being able to work with them in their office. Having someone to sit down and troubleshoot with at regular intervals will increase your odds of having a successful and enjoyable project. Coaches are volunteers, and cannot expect any reimbursement from RGSoC.

Another student to pair with

Finding a pair before lodging your application is extremely advisable. If you lodge your application as a one-person team, your application will hold less weight than those who have a two-person team application. Finding a pair in your geographic region is also preferable, and will be looked upon favorably during the selection process.

Remote and/or one-person teams will not be excluded, but their applications must be outstanding. If you are working in a remote team, you will need to provide exceptionally good evidence as to why you will make a good team. For example, if a remote team know each other well and have already trained working remotely on an existing project, their application will be looked on more favorably.

It is not a requirement to find a pair before applying, but you will need to provide extremely good proof of your competencies to work on a project alone. If you intend to form a team, do not lodge your application until you have found your pair.

Make sure both you and your pair understand the requirements of the project, and could potentially work well together. There is nothing more detrimental to project success than an unhappy or unproductive team mate.

For more advice on finding a team mate and coach, take a look at the ‘How to’ article on the subject and the bottom of this page.

A place to work

Working at a desk next to your coach(es) is a great scenario. If you have access to a team of coaches who can share the load it is ideal. You will need an environment conducive to dedicating yourself to your project for 3 months. This could be your home, a co-working space, or your current work office. As long as you are safe and productive, you can choose where you will work.

A project plan

A project can include anything that helps open source like bug fixing, implementing small features, improving documentation, design, etc. The project will allow a student to both apply her current experience and grow with the challenge. The learning target, and goal, of the project is to turn yourself, as a Ruby newcomer, into a core contributor to your selected open source project. The ideal project should be:

  • considered a valuable, significant contribution to Open Source
  • simple enough that a beginner will be able to complete it in a time frame of three months or less.

Projects should have an end goal, as well as several subordinate goals and milestones that participants can use to track their progress against.

Please meet with your coach and pair to discuss what project you are looking to undertake. Meeting with your coach is a great way to understand if your goals are realistic, and what your project plan will look like.

Together with you and your pair, coaches should be able to:

  • talk to you both about your level of your expertise,
  • make recommendations about open source projects that you could contribute to, and
  • help you create as detailed a project plan as possible for your 3-month SoC project.

If you are interested in more than one project, you can lodge an application for every project you want to work on, but each application must be unique to that project.

You should find a mentor who can act as an expert to consult on the project, and give general directions and feedback. Mentors are intimately knowledgeable about the open source project you intend to work on, while coaches are working closely with you and your pair. You can find a project mentor through your coach, or through the community, by contacting project maintainers directly. Mentors may even put forward ideas for teams to work on. If you have trouble finding a mentor, write as an email, and we’ll see if we can help.

How to Find Team Pair and Coaches

The best starting point for finding a pair and coaches is to contact your local Rails Girls chapter, and development communities such as your local Ruby group. This will also be a good starting point for people in need of guidance on their projects.

If you have no luck, or live in an area where there is no Rails Girls chapter, ask on the Rails Girls Summer of Code community mailing list, or via @RailsGirlsSoC on Twitter.

If you already have a good project plan, and are looking for a coach, a team member, and/or a work space for you project, don’t lodge your application before you have found them. If you need help finding them, contact us before you apply, otherwise we will consider your application as it stands. Take a look at this blog post outlining some creative ways past teams have found coaches, mentors, and workplaces for the summer.

How to find a Project

Don’t know where to start? We are collecting project proposals for 2014 in this repository.

Talk to your coaches and other people of your local Rails Girls community - they will have good ideas. You also can ask on the Rails Girls Summer of Code community mailing list, or via @RailsGirlsSoC on Twitter.

Also, here are last year’s teams and their projects. and some of last year’s project ideas to inspire you!

Lodging Your Application

Applications for Rails Girls Summer of Code will open March 14th, and close May 2nd, 2014

Only one application will be accepted per team, per project. Please do not lodge one per person.

Your team can lodge one application per project that you have a plan for working on. As some projects are very competitive, you can hedge your bets by lodging an application for each project you would like to work on. This will ensure that if spots fill up for one open source project, your team can be considered for others you have applied for. Each application for each project must be full and complete.

Lodging multiple applications for different projects, with different team combinations is frowned upon. Pick one team, and apply for as many projects as you like, but ONLY with that team.

If you have any queries about this, please contact us before lodging your applications.

While we will try to connect you with a pair and coaches before you apply, we cannot do so once you have lodged your application. If you intend to be a part of a team, only apply once your have found your pair and coach.

Selection and Judging

Applications will be judged on a case-by-case basis by a group of real human beings in the coding community, on an impartial but realistic basis. Your chances of success will be the biggest judge of your application, as well as how well you fit against all of the criteria outlined in the paragraphs above.

If there are equally well rated applications competing for a scholarship place, then a random draw will be performed.

Remember: successful applications are not “first in best dressed”, but are judged on how well they fulfil eligibility criteria. Take your time to create a detailed project plan, find your pair (if you intend on having one), coach and workspace.

Applications lodged after the deadline cannot be considered for judging.

Before you apply: Final Steps

Before you hand in your application, and after reading what will be asked of you to do over the summer next to diving into code, here is your basic checklist:

  • Read Application Guide
  • Find a Pair
  • Find a Project
  • Find Coaches
  • Find a Workspace

All set? Then go! Apply now here: http://teams.railsgirlssummerofcode.org/application.