Google's 8th year of its program that gives students the chance of working in open source software development during their summer break was announced at the FOSDEM open source conference in Belgium.
Google Summer of Code, a global program that is run completely online, benefits both students and open source projects. The students get paid a stipend (of $5000 USD) by Google to write "real-world" code which enables the mentoring organizations to advance projects more rapidly than without this input.
Over the past seven years Google Summer of Code (GSOC) has had 6,000 students from over 90 countries complete the program. The majority of participants come from university or college Computer Science and Computer Engineering programs but also from more diverse backgrounds from computational biology to mining engineering and could be studying for Bachelors or Masters degrees or for PhDs.
Many have never participated in an open source project before while others use the GSOC stipend as an opportunity to concentrate fully on their existing open source coding activities over the summer. Many 'graduates' of the program later become mentors, establishing firm links between GSOC and some open source organisations.
The window of opportunity for mentoring organizations to submit applications to Google is between February 27 and March 9.Once the list of accepted mentoring organizations is announced on March 16 students can begin to contact them via to GSOC website. The student application period runs from March 26 to April 6 and by April 20 students and mentors have to be matched up.
The working part of the summer of code runs from May to August
The eligibility criteria fro students is that they are 18 or older on or before April 23, 2012, enrolled or accepted into an accredited institution as a full-time or part-time student, and eligible to work in the country in which they will reside during the program. More information is in the FAQ section of the website.
Also in the FAQ's are the answers to "What are the goals of GSOC far as Google is concerned?"
Create and release open source code for the benefit of all
Inspire young developers to begin participating in open source development
Help open source projects identify and bring in new developers and committers
Provide students the opportunity to do work related to their academic pursuits (think "flip bits, not burgers")
Give students more exposure to real-world software development scenarios (e.g., distributed development, software licensing questions, mailing-list etiquette)
These seem worthwhile and students often discover that participating makes them more attractive to potential employers.
So if you are, or know of, a student interested in a software development career Google Summer of Code 2012 is worth looking into.