JS Kongress 2017

This November I attended JS Kongress in Munich (themed The Future of JavaScript). It was my fifth conference in two months, after RustFest Zurich, Fronteers in Amsterdam, Rhur JS and Voxxed Belgrade. The conference tour was a great way to continue the amazing experience that started with my Outreachy internship. As a cherry on top, my mentor Lin Clark had a keynote talk at JS Kongress so there was no way I was gonna miss that.

The topics were pretty technical, focused on the language features, new frameworks and APIs, but there were also some meta talks and social topics including a11y and diversity. The coolest addition was a parallel unconference style track— a relaxed zone where you could meet the experts and core team members of different frameworks, tools and engines and discuss the ~Future of JavaScript~.

Some old friends were giving talks (Lin, Ashley, Shubheksha and Martin) and I made some new (Rachel and Liz <3).

You can watch all of the talks on Youtube and here are a few of my personal favorites.

amazing @ag_dubs dropping a hegelian bomb on @JSKongress crowd #JSKongress 💣💥🙌 pic.twitter.com/C0pfBL0ize

— Milica (@bibydigital) November 13, 2017

Going down the rabbit hole of Web Animations API with @rachelnabors in the deep track of #JSKongress 🐇🗝🍪🎩☕️🐛♦️♣️♥️♠️ pic.twitter.com/opLDXX49rT

— Milica (@bibydigital) November 13, 2017

The future is parallel and it starts with Firefox Quantum https://t.co/FF3hCJf64x pic.twitter.com/P5Hi1EQbFW

— Milica (@bibydigital) November 14, 2017

Cool thing: all talks were supported by an interpreter live on the stage! And he can dance too 🕺

🎶 One of my favourite videos of @JSKongress 2017. It gives an entirely good impression how JS Kongress felt! /cc @Pflugfelder_GSD @BettieRub @ag_dubs #RepeatModeOnhttps://t.co/Fk1NRfglpC

— Johannes Weber (@jowe) November 23, 2017

At any tech conference you get to learn new things, get inspired and keep up with the cutting edge technology, but the best part is meeting the people. It’s an opportunity for an unfiltered exchange of ideas and having fun with like-minded people in a safe environment (and some beer and curry wurst). So be on the look out for the next Outreachy round and JS Kongress 2018 :)

Such fun conversation over a lovely dinner & lots of German beer with these folks. Gonna miss this so much. 💞 #JSKongress pic.twitter.com/LOqW4PV3er

— ✨ Shubheksha ⚡ (@ScribblingOn) November 14, 2017

How to land a (paid) internship in open source

Are you a woman? Trans man? Genderqueer? Minority of any gender? Apply for Outreachy, open source needs you!

Apply for what? Outreachy — a program that organizes three-month paid internships with free open source software projects for people from underrepresented groups. Inspired by Google Summer of Code and by how few women applied for it, it set out to build a more inclusive community and acts as a link that connects talented and passionate newcomers with people working in free and open source software.

Currently, internships are open internationally to women (cis and trans), trans men, and genderqueer people. Additionally, they are open to residents and nationals of the United States of any gender who are Black/African American, Hispanic/Latin@, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.

The internship is remote and full-time. It doesn’t matter whether you are a student or in the middle of career switching, as long as you can put in around 40 hrs/week for the project. The stipend is $5500 USD, which is okay-to-great pay, depending on where you're from.

I’m from Belgrade, Serbia, and I’m a computer science student about to graduate. And that’s not exactly what got me into Outreachy.

It’s been a bumpy road to that bachelor’s degree. I’ve learned a lot along the way, mostly on my own. Or rather — on the Internet. I started my journey to becoming a programmer at an electrical engineering faculty. There was programming involved (assembly counts too), but also a ton of integral crunching. My interests strayed into web development and design, which led to a stretch in freelancing and eventually to switching to another faculty. There I’ve been mostly dealing with cryptography and artificial intelligence.

What got me into Outreachy? Creativity and humble Codepen skills I got from doing the Free Code Camp curriculum. More importantly — desire to get involved in the open-source community.

If you are on the internet chances are you’ve already come across some FOSS project. You might be reading this from a free open source browser or maybe at some point you couldn’t remember the names of Donald Duck’s nephews and had a free online encyclopedia come to your rescue.

Most of the software I use and admire is FOSS. From tools like Visual Studio Code, Git and Tachyons, to communities like Wikipedia and Free Code Camp, they’re proving that when nice, hard-working people get together, they can create wonderful things.

Empowering the world with free open source software can be exciting and valuable work, but… World of FOSS can be a tough place to navigate. Having a helping hand to guide you through your first contribution can make all the difference and that’s where Outreachy steps in!

You can check out a list of previous participants, some of which are Mozilla, Wikimedia, Gnome and Linux Kernel. They often feature projects at the forefront of technology, like Rust — a new programming language designed to be safe, concurrent and practical, and Servo — a new generation parallel browser engine.

Full disclosure: That’s what I’ll be working on this summer at Mozilla, with Lin Clark and Servo dev team. Web gotta go fast. 🚀

Now that I’ve got you all hyped go check when the next round starts, what’s the application process and use these tips:

Finding a match 👯

There are projects for all skill levels, for some you don’t need to have programming experience! There are also design, marketing and translation projects. Look through the technical requirements and narrow the list down to what you think you can handle.

Look up your possible mentors online — checkout their blogs, Twitter and Github accounts to get familiar with them and their work. You’ll be closely working with this person for three months, so choose people you like and admire.

Research the projects that you’ve narrowed down, find out what is their mission and what are their goals. Find something that you are genuinely excited about, it will make the whole process much more fun and rewarding for you, even if you don’t land the internship.

Do your homework 📚

Most projects will require that you make a contribution for applying and they will feature instructions for getting started. Sometimes the projects are more open ended and you have a chance to define what exactly you’ll be working on and how can you best contribute. Either way, read the project description carefully and try figuring it out on your own. If you run into problems and get stuck — do not hesitate to ask. The people mentoring Outreachy are in this for you — most likely they volunteered to mentor and will gladly help you out with your application.

Test the waters 🎣

If you have narrowed down multiple projects, try them out first and reach out to mentors. Maybe in the process something just clicks or you notice red flags with the project or the mentor. It will give you a good idea of how the actual internship will look like, so make sure to do that before committing to follow through with the application. The application can be a very time consuming process in itself and you should laser focus on what you think is most promising and exciting. Do not squander your energy.

Reaching out 📬

If you are having trouble with setting up your development environment you can probably get help on IRC channels related to the project you are interested in. If you have more general questions or project ideas and you are reaching out directly to your possible mentor I suggest that you write a good cover letter. Do not go into your life story and entire educational history, just show some enthusiasm and get to the point. As I’ve said, most mentors volunteered to do this and still have a full day job workload to do, so keep it short. Use Hemingway to see how your email scores. And use it for all your writing!

True story 🎃

Watch out for spam filters, don’t take it to heart if you don’t get a reply. I sent my email to Lin and sat anxiously for 5 days without a reply, before reaching out on Twitter (follow her!) to check if she got it (she didn’t, it went straight to spam). Don’t be shy, follow up!

Very important 💪

You can do it! If this sounds like something you are interested in —just give it a go! Put that impostor syndrome in the backseat and see what happens.

I’m a month in my internship experience and it’s been nothing short of great so far, so stay tuned for some more tips and pep talk.

(And a month in browser internals, so keep an eye out for some exciting browser magic and performance stuff on this blog. #nerdalert)

If this is not really your jam maybe share it on Twitter or with a friend you think might be interested. :) Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions hit me up!