Outreachy wrap-up

8 September, 2016 § Leave a comment

pjk5iqnnJust a couple of weeks ago marked the end of my first Outreachy session. During the session I mentored Katie Broida as she worked on some pretty cool features for Firefox.

I learned a lot during the session, and I think she did too. I learned how to advertise and recruit for job openings, gather initial work, and to try to be as attentive as possible for the people that I’m working with.

We started advertising the internship a few weeks before the deadline to apply. Prior to advertising the internship there was little to no outreach to potential applicant pools. In the future, I hope we can reach out to campus groups, hobbyists, and other places that we might find potential candidates. We also need to do this work sooner, as a good number of potential candidates will already have made their internship plans four to six months earlier.

One of the advantages of being an open source company is that Mozilla can help potential applicants get involved in the community far before the application period opens. Applicants can get a chance to see if they will enjoy the work of their internship, and mentors can get a chance to see if the applicants will be successful. This becomes more powerful and insightful than the traditional interview.

As far as Katie’s work, she did an amazing job. Katie fixed numerous bugs throughout the Firefox user interface as well as added a couple new features too. On Windows 10, we now show a larger graphic for the Start Menu tile (it doesn’t work for everyone though, still some ghosts in the shadows here), and for all users we now have a new zoom indicator in the location bar that appears when a site is not at 100% zoom.

Restoring defaults in the Customize Mode now also restores the theme, and she introduced a new API for tab-specific panels to opt-in to closing when the selected tab changes.

Not only did Katie fix a bunch of bugs during the past four months but she also blogged about them, keeping detailed reports about how she got stuck and later how she was able to move around, over, or through the obstacles.

I had a great time working with the Outreachy program and I’ll do it again when Mozilla sponsors another session.

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