Symmetry Autumn of Code 2021

The D Language Foundation and Symmetry Investments are pleased to present the 2021 edition of the Symmetry Autumn of Code (SAoC). We invite motivated individuals who enjoy solving problems with code to apply for the chance to earn some money by firing up their editors and hacking on D projects!

Those who participate will need mentors, so we’re looking for experienced D programmers to take on the job. If you know the D programming language and enjoy sharing your knowledge with others, we invite you to put your skills to use in guiding and advising the coders who will join us this autumn. We’ll even pay you to do so!

We are always looking for more project ideas from the D community. Each SAoC participant will need to submit a project proposal as part of the application. We ask anyone with a project suggestion to please submit it as an issue in the dlang/projects repository.

Quick 5 Ws

  • Who: coders who are at least 18 years of age, with preference given to university students
  • What: get paid to create a new project or improve an existing one using the D Programming Language
  • When: from September 15, 2021 to January 15, 2022
  • Where: your favorite coding space
  • Why: to make the D ecosystem even better
  • How: send your application (described below) to social@dlang.org

What’s in it for you

Participants will be tasked with completing four monthly milestones for a project using the D programming language. Each participant will be paid $1000 USD upon successful completion of each of the first three milestones (a total of $3000 per participant). At the end of the fourth milestone, the overall progress of each participant will be evaluated by the SAoC committee, and one participant will be selected to receive a final payment of $1000 USD. That lucky coder will also be eligible for a free pass to the next real-world DConf, including reimbursement of travel and hotel expenses.

Deadlines

  • August 18th – Application deadline
  • August 25th – Applicants notified of their selection status
  • September 1st – Project planning phase (milestone development) begins
  • September 15th – Project begins
  • October 15th – Milestone 1 submission deadline
  • November 15th – Milestone 2 submission deadline
  • December 15th – Milestone 3 submission deadline
  • January 15th – Final submission

Community

Community members are encouraged to submit ideas for potential projects. Project suggestions should require at least four months of work (assuming a minimum of 20 hours per week) and should be beneficial to the D community. Ideally, each project suggestion should outline specific goals that participants and their mentors can use to measure progress. The project should also provide a reasonable amount of challenge. For example, improve Visual D is not an acceptable suggestion, but a list of specific features to add to Visual D is fine.

Develop your project ideas in the D forums and submit them as individual issues to the dlang/projects repository.

Participants

This event is open to anyone over 18, with preference given to undergraduate or postgraduate coders currently enrolled in a school program. We are looking for creative, driven, and goal-oriented individuals who are willing to contribute to the D programming language. Those participating in the Symmetry Autumn of Code 2021 should expect to propose an idea for a new open source project or to establish specific goals for improving an existing project, finalize milestones for evaluation of progress on the project, and work with a mentor over the course of four months to ensure the milestones are met. Participants should expect to put in 20 hours of work each week, keep their mentor updated on their progress, provide status updates in the D forums, and work with their mentor to submit monthly progress reports to the SAoC committee.

To apply, please send a project proposal and resume to social@dlang.org. Make sure the subject line reads: “Autumn of Code Application” and that the project proposal and resume are attached as files. The proposal is where you sell us on your project. The resume is where you show us why you’re the person to get it done. Markdown is the preferred format. Please do not send files in a word processor format (DOCX, ODT, etc.).

Project Proposal

In 800 words or less, describe the project for which you’re willing to devote four months of work. Why did you select it? What specific goals do you want to achieve? Will it be completed in four months of effort at 20 hrs/week, or will more work be required beyond the event? How will it benefit the D ecosystem and/or community?

Your project should require enough effort to keep you occupied throughout the event while also being beneficial to the D community. You can find a list of project ideas in the dlang/projects repository. Those tagged with the SAOC label were proposed specifically for SAoC, but any project may be suitable as long as it meets the aforementioned criteria.

It is not an absolute requirement that applicants find a mentor before submitting the application, but doing so will have a positive impact on the evaluation of the application. As such, applicants are encouraged to make an effort to find potential mentors before the application is submitted. Once an applicant decides upon a project, a good first step to finding a mentor would be a post in the D.announce forum.

Resume

Briefly explain who you are and why you should be selected. Describe your experience working with the D programming language or the language you’re most comfortable working with. Tell us about your life as a programmer: programming languages you’ve learned, projects you’ve worked on, and programming-related topics you’ve studied. We recommend including your GitHub ID if you have any existing work there that you’d like us to see.

Note that you aren’t applying for a job! We will not take into consideration your general education or work history. We only want to get an idea of your level of programming experience. It will also help us if you let us know what your study workload or your work schedule will be like for the duration of the event.

If you are currently employed, please be sure to include your employer’s name and a point of contact. Before submitting your application, you should make sure your employer imposes no restrictions on your participation in this event and that you are free to contribute source code to open source projects. If your employer imposes any restrictions but is willing to waive them for this event, please provide proof of such, or the means to obtain proof of such, as part of your application.

Mentors

We need patient, experienced D programmers willing to provide support and guidance for the coders who pursue their projects during these four months. Mentors are volunteers who the participants can look to for advice on the D programming language and how to approach solving the problems they encounter as they work on their projects. Participants and mentors will work together to establish the project milestones that will be used to evaluate performance. Mentors will be expected to keep abreast of their coder’s progress and to encourage their coder in achieving each milestone.

At the end of SAoC 2020, each mentor whose student successfully completes the event will receive a one-time payment of $500. (Mentors of unsuccessful projects may also be eligible for the same payment at the SAoC committee’s discretion.)

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please submit an email to social@dlang.org and let us know which project, or what kinds of projects, you would be willing to mentor, as well as the number of hours per week you can make yourself available to your coder during the event. The event organizers may ask for more information, such as examples of your level of experience with D, before deciding to accept your offer. Also, please pay attention to the D.announce forum and be on the lookout for SAoC applicants in need of a mentor.

Note that mentors are not allowed to simultaneously participate as coders. Choose to apply only for one role!

FAQ

Can I use other languages alongside the D language in my project?

Yes. Make sure that the focus is the D language. We are more likely to select applicants that prioritize it.

How do you select applicants?

We like to see experience with the D language, but a good track record of finished projects in any language is good to see. Preference will be given to graduate and postgraduate students. The proposed project’s perceived benefit to the D community is a big factor in the decision, and so is the quality of the proposal. Applicants who are motivated to research their project and provide a solid level of detail in the proposal are just the sort of programmers we’re looking for. Finding a mentor prior to submitting the application is not a big factor, but can make the difference if there are more proposals than available slots.

Can I work with a partner or a team of people?

No. The Symmetry Autumn of Code is intended for solo work.

Can I earn course credit for participating in SAoC?

Please check with your school for their policy. If they determine you are eligible for course credit, we can provide documentation for them upon a successful final evaluation of your SAoC project.

Can the schedule be adjusted to adapt to my school or work schedule?

Unfortunately, no. We understand that our schedule will not work for everyone, and we are sorry if it conflicts with yours. However, we welcome contributions to D even outside of SAoC. (You can still earn some money by completing one or more Task Bounties.)

How do I find a mentor?

A post in the D.announce forum is the best place to start.

It isn’t strictly necessary to find a mentor for a successful application. Doing so may increase the chances an application will be successful and will certainly make the process easier for all involved. If you are unable to find a mentor prior to submitting a successful application, we will try to assist in matching you up with a mentor suitable for your project, If you already know someone who would be skilled in your proposed project area, don’t hesitate to get in touch with him/her to discuss your project and let us know about it in your application.

Is SAoC considered an internship, a job, or any form of employment?

None of the above. SAoC is an activity that the participants perform as independent developers for which they are paid a stipend. Applicants should check with their school or employer to ensure that participation in SAoC does not violate any school or local government regulations, or contractual requirements.

What if my school/employer/local government does prohibit me from being paid as a result of my participation? Can I participate without pay?

Yes. We will accept applications from those who, for whatever reason, wish to participate without pay. The application should make it clear that no pay is expected by the applicant. Those participating without pay will still be evaluated upon completion of each milestone and provided with feedback, but will not receive the stipend and will not be eligible for the free trip to DConf.

What is Symmetry Investments?

Symmetry Investments is a global investment company with offices in Hong Kong and London. We have been in business since 2014 after successfully spinning off from a major New York-based hedge fund. Currently, we have about 180 full-time employees and manage over US$8 billion of capital.

At Symmetry, we seek to engage in intelligent risk-taking to create value for our clients, partners and employees. We derive our edge from our capacity to generate Win-Wins – in the broadest sense. Win-Win is our fundamental ethical and strategic principle. By generating Win-Wins, we can create unique solutions that reconcile perspectives that are usually seen as incompatible or opposites, and encompass the best that each side has to offer. We integrate fixed-income arbitrage with global macro strategies in a novel way. We invent and develop technology that focuses on the potential of human-machine integration. We build systems where machines do what they do best, supporting people to do what people do best. We are creating a collaborative meritocracy: a culture where individual contribution serves both personal and collective goals – and is rewarded accordingly. We value both ownership thinking AND cooperative team spirit, self-realisation AND community.

People at Symmetry Investments have been active participants in the D community since 2014. We have sponsored the development of excel-d, dpp, autowrap, mir-algorithm, and various other projects. We started Symmetry Autumn of Code in 2018 and hosted DConf 2019 in London.