College students with programming skills should start thinking about whether taking a long break or slaving away at a retail store is really the best way to spend this summer. A certain search giant announced today that it's now accepting applications for the 2011 Google Summer of Code.
If you're not familiar with the concept, a post on the Google Open Source Blog explained, "Google Summer of Code is a global program where university students are given a stipend to write code for open source projects over a three month period. Through Google Summer of Code, accepted students are paired with a mentor from the participating projects, gaining exposure to real-world software development and the opportunity for employment in areas related to their academic pursuits."
That stipend amounts to $5,000 per person, by the way, so even if Google or the mentoring acquisition doesn't make a job offer, participants aren't exactly laboring for free.
Also, the program isn't nearly as exclusive as you might imagine (and we mean that in a good way). Google allowed 1,026 students to participate in 2010, and may back as many as 1,176 this year, meaning lots of individuals will get to benefit.
So students should by all means consider applying to the Google Summer of Code program. Since the deadline isn't until April 8th, everyone still has time to review the 175 accepted projects and write up how they'd contribute.
Plenty more information is available here if anyone's interested. Good luck to all of the applicants.