Students, want to gain real world software engineering experience and get paid? We are now accepting applications for Google Summer of CodeTM 2009, our global program to introduce university students to the wonderful world of Open Source development. For our fifth Summer of Code, students can choose from 150 Free and Open Source software projects, in technical areas as diverse as gaming to humanitarian efforts to operating system design. All accepted students will be paired with a mentor from academia or industry and will receive coaching in all aspects of software development over the course of their three month coding project. Successful students will receive a stipend of 4500 USD for their participation in the program.

Check out the program Frequently Asked Questions and the extensive set of resources for student applicants on the program wiki, then talk to your prospective mentors about your ideas. Each mentoring organization has provided an ideas list to help get your creative juices flowing and learn more about what the project needs. Our mentors are also very excited to hear from students who have their own plans for improving their code bases, so let their ideas inspire rather than constrain you.

You can find knowledgeable folks on hand to answer questions in #gsoc on Freenode and on the program discussion list, or you can keep up with our announcements on various social networking sites.

We'll be accepting student applications through April 3, 2009 at 19:00 UTC. Best of luck to all of our student applicants, and get those applications going!