How do I get started?
Choose an organization.
There's hundreds of thousands of projects that use Python, and you need to narrow down the list before you can get help or do much that's useful. See How do I choose a project or sub-org? for ideas on how to do that.
Any open source experience will help you prepare for GSoC, so don't worry too much about what project you try first and don't be afraid to change your mind! When we know which sub-orgs will be participating, they'll be listed with the project ideas.
Set up your own development environment.
Document what you do so you can remember it later, and so you can help others if they get stuck! And if you get stuck, don't be afraid to ask for help.
Start communicating with the developers.
Join the mailing list, IRC channel, or any other communication channels the developers use. Listen, get to know the people involved, and ask questions.
- Read first to see if your question has already been answered. We get a lot of repeat questions!
- Communicate in public (not in private). Most open source work is done in the open, so demonstrate that you can do that!
Try to fix a bug.
Many projects have these tagged as "easy" "bite-size" or "beginner-friendly" -- do a search to see what comes up. Competition for the easiest ones can be fierce, so don't be afraid to try something harder if you think you might know what to do.
Can't find a bug? Other ideas: find typos and fix them. Improve test coverage by writing new tests. Improve documentation. Use a tool like Pylint or Bandit to see if you can find new issues.
Find bugs and report them.
Hopefully you won't encounter too many, but it's always a good idea to get familiar with your project's bug reporting process.
Help with documentation.
As a beginner in your project, you're going to see things that are confusing that more experienced developers may not notice. Take advantage of your beginner mindset and make sure to document anything you think is missing!
Most projects are looking for not just coders, but good community members who people like to work with. Show your community skills by helping others and make a great impression come selection time!