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I spotted a "Google Summer of Code" announcement recently, and though eager to join, I see my chances are plainly poor. I'm short on time to shape my ideas and study the source code.

I just wonder - Are there any similar events that provide an opportunity for students to develop real working projects? Especially ones that are worth mentioning in one's CV?

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For what I know with GSOC you can either submit a project proposal or choose one suggested by the different software foundations (like the Perl or Parrot foundations). When you do so you still get a month or so to read up on the project, study its sources etc. So I think if you feel you're capable of picking up one of the many GSOC projects just apply. –  Htbaa Apr 6 '11 at 14:57
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Get a summer internship - GSOC is wonderful, but plenty of software engineering firms hire summer interns with whom they may develop a relationship that turns into a full-time position after graduation. You're a bit late to be looking for this summer, but some places may still have openings. Your career office may be able to help you, but in my experience the best way to network is to think of people you already know in industry.

Do a Co-Op Program - co-ops are like long internships that usually last a summer plus a semester. They get you a chance to really delve into real problems at a company and you usually get college credit for them. If you have space in your academic schedule, consider it.

Contribute to an open source project - some people are of the firm mindset that a github commit log is the best CV you can have. Find an open source project where you can help out. You may want to just start with adding documentation on features that you initially found confusing or offering to do some code clean-up. If you feel more confident try tackling new features or bug fixes. As a bonus you can do this throughout the year.

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Well, most of internships/junior positions are meant for no less than 3rd year students. I feel that freshmen like me are not taken serious, though I'm sure I have necessary skills. –  Basily Apr 6 '11 at 15:26
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@Nordvind - perhaps not, but I've been part of an interview team that hired a rising sophomore before. The reason she was hired was largely because she knew the hiring manager who was willing to pull for her. She did a great job. –  justkt Apr 6 '11 at 15:26
    
It's all about social skills, not professional, I see =) Anyway, thanks for the answer. –  Basily Apr 6 '11 at 15:41
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@Nordvind - You are going to regret not at least attempting to get a internship or something while you are school. It will make the difference between looking for a job for a couple months or 6+ months when you graduate. While you cannot do poorly in school, if you can prove you are willing to work TODAY, you network with the people that can enable to work TOMMOROW. –  Ramhound Apr 6 '11 at 15:50
    
@Nordvind - My statement was based on some experience I had. I didn't get the internship and I didn't get A's what didn't land me the jobs I interviewed for I feel was the lack of an internship ( I didn't network soon enough ) and thus the only thing they could judge me on what my college career ( that might or might not reflect with a great deal of accuracy ). –  Ramhound Apr 6 '11 at 18:18
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