Katie Broida
Ruminations on Coding and Crafting

This summer I’m excited to say that I will doing an internship with Mozilla through Outreachy. I will be fixing small UI bugs in Firefox to make the user experience smoother and hopefully more pleasant.


What is Outreachy?

Outreachy is an effort to connect people who are underrepresented in the coding community (i.e. women, minorities) with their first internship. A really cool part of the program is that the participating organizations are all open source and applicants have to make a contribution to these open code bases as part of their application. I found even the application process to be exciting since I hadn’t yet made a contribution to any projects besides my own. Navigating large, well developed code bases feels like a skill in itself, and one I started honing even just by applying to the internship. Making my contributions for my application was worthwhile even if I hadn’t gotten accepted, so if you’re thinking about applying for a future round, you should!

####Some tips for applying

Start your application early

Start your application as soon as possible. Giving yourself a lot of time is helpful for a few reasons. You will need time setting up your environment and making sure you can run a version of Firefox (Nightly build) locally on your computer.

Communicate often and frequently

A valuable part of the application experience is being able to speak with the organization’s developers about your contribution. Starting early also allows you more opportunities to learn about the project from the developers and find out if you would like to work with each other.

Make any improvements you find

With extra time, you can make helpful suggestions to the organizations you’re interested in that go beyond just your code contribution. For example as you set up your local environment, keep a note of where installation documentation can be improved. This information is helpful for developers that haven’t had to set up their environment recently and so might not know how the documentation needs to be updated.


Thank you Jared(s)!

As I mentioned, I hadn’t made any open source code contributions before applying to Outreachy. Though I was excited about the program, I still felt somewhat intimidated by the whole code contribution process and feeling pretty impostor-y. However while applying, I found the developers I worked with amazingly welcoming and helpful, which was all the more useful for pushing past these feelings. I appreciated them being so open with their time and advice. In particular, thank you Jared Wein and Jared Hirsch for your help this spring!

Contribute to Firefox without an internship

My experience contributing to Firefox was catalyzed by the Outreachy internship program, but I’ve found that they’re very welcoming to outside contributors in general and have a good support network for them. If you’re curious about contributing to Firefox, take a look at the link below. It has some good guidance on how to get started and what the whole process looks like.