The pencil down date has passed. It’s been one heck of a journey! If done right, it is perhaps one of the world’s best experiences for aspiring developers. I got to learn from some of the most talented developers while chasing time zones and ideologies. The opportunity to explore beyond the scope of formal academics, be it the code base, version control system, code development practices, review process or any other unfamiliar terrain I came across, is unmatched. Even the frustrating moments, made me grow not only in skills but also as a person.
In the following article I will walk you through my internship journey along with some tips based on my experience.
My OpenStack Journey So far
Interns are considered an integral part of the OpenStack community and are well cherished. Fortunately, I also had an extremely supportive and encouraging mentor- Samuel de Medeiros Queiroz, whom I could ping anytime about anything and he would reply back with the same enthusiasm as on day one. I first got in touch with Samuel a year back and I couldn’t have gotten this far without him. To be honest, I can make a whole separate post thanking him, and it still won’t be enough!
Working with Victoria Martinez de la Cruz – one of the two Outreachy OpenStack coordinators was an enriching experience. Despite having a hectic schedule, she always finds time for the new contributors. It was also a pleasure to stay in touch with Rodrigo Duarte and Steve Martinelli throughout the internship period.
I also want to take a moment to thank Henry Nash, Dolph Mathews, Adam Young, Boris Bobrov, Raildo Mascena, David Stanek, Jamie Lennox, Brant Knudson, Gage Hugo, Mahati Chamarthy, Madhuri Rai, Geetika Batra and other OpenStack contributors for welcoming me and for broadening my learning experience.
Takeaways from my internship
Diving deep into OpenStack codebase while still getting familiar with Python was indeed a steep learning curve for me, because of which, my mentor used to make sure that I hadn’t hit a road block and was on the right track. I am grateful that he suggested the project task – Improving Docs and Functional Testing Development for the Keystone Client Library, which gave me plenty of interaction with the code base to help me grasp the concepts well.
I also learned how to contribute collaboratively and effectively on an open source project that is used by millions across the globe. I realized the importance of feedbacks for writing better code. In fact, one of my patches took a month to get merged and I didn’t anticipate that, but by the end of my internship 30+ patches got merged, making me a more confident OpenStack contributor.
I am truly grateful to Outreachy for the wonderful initiative and am fortunate to be a part of OpenStack – a beginner-friendly organization.
Tips for future interns
- It’s never too late to start, but of course the earlier the better. Confront your fears or apprehensions by sticking to fundamentals and keep learning along the way. Google has a great search engine and OpenStack documentation has a goldmine of information, make the most of it.
- Find a project that really intrigues you and provides ample of learning opportunity and hang on the IRC channels to get in touch with a good mentor – one who has enough time, communicates well and is as excited as you are about the internship.
- Be completely honest with your mentor about your skills, work experience and time availability. Clear communication is critical to the process, especially with an international community of contributors.
- Schedule a regular meeting and jot down your daily/weekly progress after getting in touch with your mentor. My mentor gave me weekdays off to rejuvenate myself, which may work well for you too.
- Ask lots of questions but first try to figure out them on your own.
- Participate in team meetings and discussions. Put in your thoughts even if you are just a beginner, as the fresh outlook might be the key to the problem.
- There will be times of both frustration and great pride. Learn to have fun in both the experiences. At the end if you are able to laugh it off, then you have come a long way.
I plan to keep contributing in OpenStack not just to hone my skills but also to share my experience with others and help new contributors learn. Thanks to Samuel’s great idea and Victoria’s help, I have been accepted along with them as a speaker in the upcoming OpenStack Summit, Barcelona. Again, thanks to them, I also got accepted for funding by the OpenStack Summit Travel Support Program. For more on that, stay tuned!