Tag Archives: Season of Docs

Season of Docs announces participating organizations for 2022


Season of Docs provides support for open source projects to improve their documentation and gives professional technical writers an opportunity to gain experience in open source. Together we raise awareness of open source, of docs, and of technical writing. 

For 2022, Season of Docs is pleased to announce that 31 organizations will be participating in the program! The list of participating organizations can be viewed on the website.

The project development phase now begins. Organizations and the technical writers they hire will work on their documentation projects from now until November 15th. For organizations who are still looking to hire a technical writer, the hiring deadline is May 16th.

How do I take part in Season of Docs as a technical writer?

Start by reading the technical writer guide and FAQs which give information about eligibility and choosing a project. Next, technical writers interested in working with accepted open source organizations can share their contact information via the Season of Docs GitHub repository; or they may submit a statement of interest directly to the organizations. We recommend technical writers reach out to organizations before submitting a statement of interest to discuss the project they’ll be working on and gain a better understanding of the organization. Technical writers do not need to submit a formal application through Season of Docs, so reach out to the organizations as soon as possible!

Will technical writers be paid while working with organizations accepted into Season of Docs?

Yes. Participating organizations will transfer funds directly to the technical writer via OpenCollective. Technical writers should review the organization's proposed project budgets and discuss their compensation and payment schedule with the organization before hiring. Check out our technical writer payment process guide for more details.

General Timeline

May 16Technical writer hiring deadline
June 15Organization administrators start reporting on their project status via monthly evaluations
November 15Organization administrators submit their case study and final project evaluation
December 14Google publishes the 2022 Season of Docs case studies and aggregate project data
May 2, 2023Organizations begin to participate in post-program followup surveys

See the full timeline for details.

Care to join us?

Explore the Season of Docs website at g.co/seasonofdocs to learn more about the program. Use our logo and other promotional resources to spread the word. Review the timeline, check out the FAQ, and reach out to organizations now!

If you have any questions about the program, please email us at [email protected].

By Romina Vicente and Erin McKean, Google Open Source Programs Office

The 2022 Season of Docs application for organizations is open!

Organization applications for the 2022 Season of Docs are now open!

Through Season of Docs, Google awards grants to open source projects and organizations to hire technical writers to work on documentation projects. Participating organizations hire and pay the technical writers directly (we use Open Collective to help transfer grant funds). Organizations have up to six months to complete their documentation project. At the end of the program, organizations submit a case study outlining the results of their documentation projects, including the metrics they used to evaluate the success of their new or improved documentation. The case studies from the 2021 Season of Docs program are available online, and we will be releasing a summary report for the 2021 Season of Docs shortly—join our Season of Docs announcements list to be notified when it’s available! 

How does my organization apply to take part in Season of Docs?


Organization applications are now open! The deadline to apply is March 25, 2022 at 18:00 UTC.

To apply, first read the guidelines for creating an organization application on the Season of Docs website.

Take a look at the examples of project ideas, then create a project proposal based on your open source project’s actual documentation needs. Your goal is to attract technical writers to your organization, making them feel comfortable about approaching the organization and excited about what they can achieve.

We strongly recommend reading through the proposals and case studies submitted by organizations participating in the 2021 Season of Docs.

Organizations can submit their applications here: https://goo.gle/3dRyD7P. Organization applications close on March 25th at 18:00 UTC.

How do technical writers take part in Season of Docs?


Technical writers interested in working with accepted open source organizations can share their contact information via the Season of Docs GitHub repository; or they may submit proposals directly to the organizations using the contact information shared on the organization project page. Technical writers do not submit a formal application through Season of Docs.

Technical writers interested in participating in the 2022 Season of Docs should read our guide for technical writers on the Season of Docs website. Please note that technical writer recruiting began on February 3, 2022.

If you have any questions about the program, please email us at [email protected].

General timeline

February 23 - March 25

Open source organizations apply to take part in Season of Docs

April 14

Google publishes the list of accepted organizations, along with their project proposals and doc development can begin.

June 15

Organization administrators begin to submit monthly evaluations to report on the status of their project.

November 30

Organization administrators submit their case study and final project evaluation.

December 14

Google releases submitted case studies. 

May 2, 2023

Organizations begin to participate in post-program followup surveys.


See the timeline for details.

Join us

Explore the Season of Docs website at g.co/seasonofdocs to learn more about participating in the program. Use our logo and other promotional resources to spread the word. Check out the timeline and FAQ, and apply now!

By Kassandra Dhillon and Erin McKean, Google Open Source Programs Office

Announcing Season of Docs 2022

Google Open Source is delighted to announce Season of Docs 2022!

The Season of Docs program supports better documentation in open source and provides opportunities for skilled technical writers to gain open source experience. 

Participating projects receive funds to create, improve, or expand their documentation, while contributing to our knowledge of effective metrics for evaluating open source documentation through their shared case studies.

About the program

Season of Docs allows open source organizations to apply for a grant based on their documentation needs. If selected, the open source organizations use their grant to hire a technical writer directly to complete their documentation project. Organizations have up to six months to complete their documentation project.


Participating organizations help broaden our understanding of effective documentation practices and metrics in open source by submitting a final case study upon completion of the program. The case study should outline the problem the documentation project was intended to solve, what metrics were used to judge the effectiveness of the documentation, and what the organization learned for the future. All project case studies will be published on the Season of Docs site at the end of the program.

Organizations: start your exploration engines

2022 Season of Docs applications open February 23, 2022. We strongly suggest that organizations take the time to complete the steps in the exploration phase before the application process begins, including:

  • Creating a project page to gauge community and technical writer interest in participating (see our project ideas page for examples)
  • Publicizing your interest in participating in Season of Docs through your project channels and adding your project to our list of interested projects on GitHub
  • Lining up community members who are interested in mentoring or helping to onboard technical writers to your project
  • Brainstorming requirements for technical writers to work on your project (Will they need to be able to test code? Work with video? Have prior experience with your project or related technologies?)

On your mark, get set, project page!

Every Season of Docs project begins with a project page. Your project page serves as an overview of your documentation project, and it should be publicly visible. A good project page includes:
  • A statement of the problem your project needs to solve (“users on Windows don’t have clear guidance of how to install our project”)
  • The documentation that might solve this problem (“We want to create a quickstart doc and installation guide for Windows users”)
  • How you’ll measure the success of your documentation (“With a good quickstart, we expect to see 50% fewer issues opened about Windows installation problems.”)
  • What skills your technical writer would need (break down into “must have” and “nice to have” categories. “Must have: access Windows machine to test instructions”)
  • What volunteer help is needed from community members (“need help onboarding technical writer to our discussion groups”) and links to where the community can discuss the proposal
  • Most importantly, include a way for interested technical writers to reach you and ask questions!

Technical writers: express your interest

Technical writers interested in working with accepted open source organizations can share their contact information via the Season of Docs GitHub repository; or they may submit proposals directly to the organizations using the contact information shared on the organization project page. Technical writers do not submit a formal application through Season of Docs.

General timeline

February 23 - March 25

Open source organizations apply to take part in Season of Docs.

April 14

Google publishes the list of accepted organizations, along with their project proposals and doc development can begin.

June 15

Organization administrators begin to submit monthly evaluations to report on the status of their project.

November 30

Organization administrators submit their case study and final project evaluation.

December 14

Google publishes the 2021 case studies and aggregate project data.

May 2, 2023

Organizations begin to participate in post-program followup surveys.    

See the full program timeline for more details.

Join us

Explore the Season of Docs website at g.co/seasonofdocs to learn more about participating in the program. Use our logo and other promotional resources to spread the word. Check out the timeline and FAQ, and get ready to apply!


By Kassandra Dhillon and Erin McKean, Google Open Source Programs Office

Life after Season of Docs


My journey to technical writing involved a long, windy, and non-linear career path. Before I became a technical writer, I spent years working in finance jobs with a stint of teaching in between. Seeking a career change, I went back to university where I came across the Technical Writing certificate program. It was the perfect fit for my skills and interests.

One of Google’s technical writers, Nicole Yap, visited my class to talk about her career, and introduce Season of Docs—a program that brings technical writers and open source projects together to work on open source documentation. My interest was piqued as it seemed like a great opportunity for a new graduate. With no real world experience of writing documentation, I applied and was accepted into Season of Docs. I worked with Oppia, an online learning platform for a 3-month project, where I created a user guide with video tutorials.

During that time, I had to quickly become familiar with many new concepts:
  • Open source philosophy
  • Writing docs-as-code
  • Command-line basics
  • Submitting and amending pull requests on GitHub, and much more!
In the course of the Season of Docs program, I got my first full time job as a technical writer at a software company in Toronto. Juggling the demands of the project and my new job was challenging, but I was grateful for the experience as I could transfer the skills I learned to the new role. 

Opening doors to new experiences

I had such a positive experience working with my mentors1 at Oppia that we mutually agreed to extend our relationship. Over the next year, I continued to work with Oppia in different capacities—copywriting, editing, helping write math lessons—while getting to know the network of international volunteers who contribute to this incredible organization.

I also had the opportunity to present a talk at a Write the Docs Toronto meetup which was a great way to plug Season of Docs, and demonstrate what I had learnt during the program. There was quite a bit of interest from the audience as many hadn’t even heard of the program before.

My Season of Docs experience also helped me with my day job as a technical writer. After experiencing the steep learning curve with Oppia, I was able to hit the ground running with learning the new job processes at the software company. I was also able to fall back on my Season of Docs experience as I created marketing and technical videos in my new job as well.

A new opportunity

At the start of 2021, I had the opportunity to apply for a technical writing position at Google. I had the notion that a company like Google would require years of tech writing experience before they would even consider my application, but that turned out not to be true. I’ve been a technical writer at Google for four months now, and it still feels a bit surreal!

As a newcomer in the tech world, I find that everything I learned during the Season of Docs program has come in handy in helping me understand my job a little better. Getting into Season of Docs as a new entrant to the field of technical writing was a confidence-booster for me, and the path it led to has been challenging yet gratifying. I’m excited to continue learning every single day from the sea of talent around me.


By Audrey Tavares – Google Cloud


  1. The current Season of Docs program format does not have a defined mentor role, but technical writers in the program work closely with project contributors to learn open source skills.  




Season of Docs announces results of 2021 program


Season of Docs has announced the 2021 program results for all projects. You can view a list of successfully completed projects on the website along with their case studies.
In 2021, the Season of Docs program allowed open source organizations to apply for a grant based on their documentation needs. Selected open source organizations then used their grant to hire a technical writer directly to complete their desired documentation project. Organizations then had six months to complete their documentation project. (In previous years, Google matched technical writers to projects and paid the technical writers directly.)

The 2021 Season of Docs documentation development phase began on April 16 and ended November 16, 2021 for all projects:
  • 30 open source organizations finished their projects (100% completion)
  • 93% of organizations had a positive experience
  • 96% of the technical writers had a positive experience
Take a look at the list of completed projects to see the wide range of subjects covered!

What is next?

Stay tuned for information about Season of Docs 2022—watch for posts on this blog and sign up for the announcements email list. We’ll also be sharing information about best practices in open source technical writing derived from the Season of Docs case studies.

If you were excited about participating, please do write social media posts. See the promotion and press page for images and other promotional materials you can include, and be sure to use the tag #SeasonOfDocs when promoting your project on social media. To include the tech writing and open source communities, add #WriteTheDocs, #techcomm, #TechnicalWriting, and #OpenSource to your posts.


By Kassandra Dhillon and Erin McKean, Google Open Source Programs Office

Season of Docs announces results of 2021 program


Season of Docs has announced the 2021 program results for all projects. You can view a list of successfully completed projects on the website along with their case studies.
In 2021, the Season of Docs program allowed open source organizations to apply for a grant based on their documentation needs. Selected open source organizations then used their grant to hire a technical writer directly to complete their desired documentation project. Organizations then had six months to complete their documentation project. (In previous years, Google matched technical writers to projects and paid the technical writers directly.)

The 2021 Season of Docs documentation development phase began on April 16 and ended November 16, 2021 for all projects:
  • 30 open source organizations finished their projects (100% completion)
  • 93% of organizations had a positive experience
  • 96% of the technical writers had a positive experience
Take a look at the list of completed projects to see the wide range of subjects covered!

What is next?

Stay tuned for information about Season of Docs 2022—watch for posts on this blog and sign up for the announcements email list. We’ll also be sharing information about best practices in open source technical writing derived from the Season of Docs case studies.

If you were excited about participating, please do write social media posts. See the promotion and press page for images and other promotional materials you can include, and be sure to use the tag #SeasonOfDocs when promoting your project on social media. To include the tech writing and open source communities, add #WriteTheDocs, #techcomm, #TechnicalWriting, and #OpenSource to your posts.


By Kassandra Dhillon and Erin McKean, Google Open Source Programs Office

Season of Docs announces participating organizations for 2021

Season of Docs has announced the participating open source organizations for 2021! You can view the list of participating organizations on the website.

During the documentation development phase, which runs from now until November 16, 2021, each accepted organization will work with the technical writer they hire to complete their documentation project.

For more information about the documentation development phase, visit the organization administrator guide on the website.

What is Season of Docs?

Season of Docs supports documentation in open source by:
  • Providing funds to open source organizations to use for documentation projects
  • Providing guides and support for open source organizations to help them understand their documentation needs
  • Collecting data from open source organizations to better understand documentation impact
  • Publishing case studies from open source organizations to share best practices
Season of Docs seeks to empower open source organizations to understand their documentation needs, to create documentation to fill those needs, to measure the effect and impact of their documentation, and, in the spirit of open source, share what they've learned to help guide other projects. Season of Docs also seeks to bring more technical writers into open source through funding their work with open source projects and organizations.

How do I take part in Season of Docs as a technical writer?

Technical writers interested in working with accepted open source organizations can share their contact information via the Season of Docs GitHub repository; or they may submit a statement of interest directly to the organizations. Technical writers do not need to submit a formal application through Season of Docs. We recommend technical writers reach out to organizations before submitting a statement of interest to discuss the project they’ll be working on and gain a better understanding of the organization.

Organizations must hire technical writers by May 17, 2021 at 18:00 UTC, so technical writers should begin reaching out as soon as possible.

Will technical writers be paid while working with organizations accepted into Season of Docs?

Yes. Participating organizations will transfer funds directly to the technical writer. Technical writers should review the organization's proposed project budgets and discuss their compensation and payment schedule with the organization prior to hiring. Check out our technical writer payment process guide for more details.

If you have any questions about the program, please email us at [email protected].

General timeline

May 17

Technical writer hiring deadline

June 16

Organization administrators begin reporting on their project status via monthly evaluations.

November 30

Organization administrators submit their case study and final project evaluation.

December 14

Google publishes the 2021 case studies and aggregate project data.

May 2, 2022

Organizations begin to participate in post-program followup surveys.

See the full timeline for details.

Care to join us?

Explore the Season of Docs website at g.co/seasonofdocs to learn more about the program. Use our logo and other promotional resources to spread the word. Examine the timeline, check out the FAQ, and reach out to organizations now!

By Kassandra Dhillon and Erin McKean, Google Open Source Programs Office

Season of Docs announces the successful 2020 long-running projects

And, that’s a wrap! Season of Docs has announced the 2020 program results for long-running projects. You can view a list of successfully completed technical writing projects on the website along with their final project reports.

15 technical writers successfully completed their long-running technical writing projects. During the program, technical writers spent a few months working closely with an open source community. They brought their technical writing expertise to improve the project's documentation while the open source projects provided mentors to introduce the technical writers to open source tools, workflows, and the project's technology.

Congratulations to the technical writers and organization mentors on these successful projects!

What’s next?

Program participants should expect an email in the next few weeks about how to get their Season of Docs 2020 t-shirt!

If you were excited about participating, please do write social media posts. See the promotion and press page for images and other promotional materials you can include, and be sure to use the tag #SeasonOfDocs when promoting your project on social media. To include the tech writing and open source communities, add #WriteTheDocs, #techcomm, #TechnicalWriting, and #OpenSource to your posts.

If you’re interested in participating in a future Season of Docs, we’re currently accepting organization applications for the 2021 program. Be sure to sign up for the announcements email list to stay informed!

By Kassandra Dhillon and Erin McKean, Google Open Source Programs Office

Season of Docs 2020: 5 Technical communication learnings as an open source contributor

Open source contributions have always intrigued me as they are a good way for developing skills needed in the real world. When I stumbled upon Season of Docs (SoD) 2020, while watching Amruta Ranades technical writing videos, I was thrilled to find an opportunity that serves as a bridge between technical writers and different open source organizations. I was intrigued by how there is an open source software or tool addressing different industry needs (eg: HR, video editing, education, robotics, etc), and how the lack of good documentation moderates the user adoption.

Figure 1: Open source projects are resourceful for developing new skills and building new industry connections

This blog post summarizes my technical communication learnings while working as an open source contributor with CircuitVerse.

Documentation audit is key: To prepare my technical writer application, I audited available documentation of five organizations for the following factors:

  • What documentation is available?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Does it cover all the functionality?
  • Does it cover end-user needs?
  • Is the documentation any good?
Based on my findings, I further narrowed down my choice to two organizations. While preparing the SoD proposal for CircuitVerse(CV), I drafted a content proposal plan that included a mixed bag of video prototypes, tutorials and existing content improvement and remapping to illustrate my ability to understand real world problems and tech integration capabilities. You can find my final project proposal, which got me selected as a participant for Season of Docs 2020 with CircuitVerse here.*

*A special shout out to Audrey Tavares (a past-participator of SoD 2019, Oppia) for answering my queries and guiding me through the process.

Know your audience: When SoD concluded in December 2020, I had produced a series of video tutorials and rewritten the complete documentation for the CV simulator. You can find the complete project report here.

Audience analysis is key to the success of a documentation project. Do your research and ask enough questions to understand your audience and discover vital facts.

In my case, I concluded from my initial findings that the primary audience were students, but the mentors corrected me that the primary audience are educators. This provided a cue for the team that the message is not clear and we revised the content layout to cater to the primary audience.

Secondly, avoid assumptions, and be prepared with agreeing to disagree––conflicts can be healthy!

Write documentation for an evolving platform: Documentation empowers users to feel confident about the product and build trust. One of the key pain points of working on open source documentation is that the platform is continuously upgraded with new features and functionalities. So how do you strike a balance?

While the CV videos had some UI discrepancies, I focused on making sure that the user guide content (that is live) is detailed enough, and gives users clear instructions on how to accomplish a task. I learned that videos play a key role in demonstrating a workflow while the text documentation must be detailed and updated frequently.

Build up developer and documentation tools proficiency: Contributing to open source projects expands one’s familiarity with real world practices, including working with different tools like Adobe Camtasia, GitHub and Markdown. While my comfort level with GitHub grew, I learned better practices for working with Markdown for a large data set. I used the Docs to Markdown add-on for Google Docs to transpose the content in markdown before uploading it to GitHub.

Focus on fluid communication skills while working with subject matter experts: The SoD opportunity allowed me to experience working in a distributed, collaborative environment across borders and geographies––replicates the traditional corporate world.

While my mentors were receptive to my suggestions, I made an effort to keep them apprised about the progress and missing deadlines of the project. For instance, I improvised the documentation deliverable midway with their consent. I realized that it was important to have good, clear documentation available for the available popular topics before adding new content.

When my mentors and I were in doubt, we reached out to the CV Slack community for user feedback on different aspects.

Warming up as an Open Source Contributor
Although my project with CircuitVerse has been successfully completed, I look forward to my continued journey with CircuitVerse, and continued open source contributions with other organizations in 2021. If this is your first time applying for Season of Docs, refer the FAQ for technical writers to gather more insights into the program. You can also give a shout out to the extremely helpful program admins at [email protected] or post your queries on the Season of Docs Slack channel.

Guest Post by Pragati Chaplot Jain – Season of Docs Participant

SoD and technical documentation in an open source organization

Featured image


Documentation in open source organizations is a complicated job because there are so many new edits and issues occurring daily, that without a dedicated team, they become challenging to manage. Since open source organizations mostly rely on volunteers it is not unusual for a small task to take longer than if full-time team members were dedicated to it. Time is of the essence when improving documentation; since as contributors continue to add value to the organization, chances are there will be more work content to continuously work through. Season of Docs (SoD) aims to aid with documentation in an effective way.

SoD creates an environment where freelance technical writers can work with an open source organization for 3–5 months. The technical writers can get paid and the organizations get a dedicated individual to take care of their documentation —a win-win for everyone.

I had the opportunity to work with ESLint under SoD 2020, where I was able to learn quite a lot, with the aim to improve and organize the Configuration Documentation of ESLint. From understanding the work of ESLint and the structure of the existing documentation to managing a short-term project and collaborating with other volunteers, the project was filled with learning experiences. The best aspect was that I realized the worth of my contribution, but also felt appreciated all along. Often, technical documentation and communication are not given much attention but with SoD it was different.

The Positives

A different perspective

A freelance technical writer, in most cases, is a person who is not a part of the organization. An external perspective with the existing documentation can point out some issues which may otherwise go unnoticed. Additionally, since the freelance writer is entirely dedicated to the task they’re able to solely focus on that task.

Collaborative environment

One of the best things about open source organizations is the level of collaboration. While working in such an environment, where everyone is so willing to help and to give valuable input, a freelance contributor does not feel alienated at all. There is a lot of valuable feedback and the work of a technical writer is both respected and appreciated.

Some Challenges

As in any other project, documentation in an open source organization is not free of some hiccups.

Understanding the content

Freelance technical writers have limited time to get acquainted with the objectives and the content of the open source organization, making things a little hard if the writers have not previously interacted with (or heard of) the organizations they are working with. Reflecting on my own experience, I feel that this was a major concern for me since I had no previous experience with linting software.

Thanks to the 'community bonding period' however, which lasts for almost a month before the project officially begins, the freelance writers can get some understanding of the organization and the content.

Time

Since most of the contributors are working voluntarily, their engagements can prolong the process of review and feedback, which can make meeting the project deadline feel challenging at times

Overcoming the Challenges

It doesn't matter if you're working under the SoD umbrella, contributing to strengthen your portfolio, or trying to gain more practical experience, the following tips can be helpful.
  • Communication is key. It is important to convey your concerns regarding time, commitments, and other engagements so that the expectations are met.
  • Ask questions! You won’t know everything about the project.
  • Be flexible. Your project might change after you start working on it, and things don't always go as you planned.
  • Use the 'community bonding period' to interact with your mentor and other collaborators, indulge in small tasks, and get to know the people and the organization.
  • Value the work and feedback of others. Everyone who is a part of the community is trying to add some value to the organization.
SoD serves as an excellent platform in bringing technical writers and open source organizations closer.

Guest Post by Khawar Latif Khan – Season of Docs Participant