As our RGSoC journey is near its close, we can’t begin to express how heart-wrenching for us, it is going to be to bid our farewell.
While RGSoC has been in itself has been a transforming experience, it also more importantly for us, had a greater impact, of validation
in our lives. Apart from being a delightful experience, it proved to be a much needed boost to our confidence, that we are marching
the right way forward towards establishing ourselves in the field of Information Technology and Computer Science.
RGSoC became a home for us. It became part of our lifestyle. It taught us things that we won’t be learning back at our institute or school. It proved to be a support-system for us, that exists even after the summer’s over.
RGSoC for us was more than just about contributing to an open source organization, learning to code, dealing with errors and getting your patches merged. It was about the process we went through while achieving them. It is a journey of self-discovery, of making mistakes, reflecting back, realizing and learning from them.
RGSoC leaves us with a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going. It added flight to our wings.
Professor Dumbledore sums up the moral of RGSoC in a sentence:
> “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Our supervisor - Nada (Top), Rupal (bottom left) and Avneet (bottom - right) (source: Screenshot from Hangouts, Avneet's phone camera - Moto G4 Plus)
A word of gratitude
With Love to our supervisor and friend Nada:
We are ever so grateful for the continuous support of our lovely supervisor Nada. She has been a friend and guide, and we have learnt so much from all that she shared with us. We will definitely miss having our weekly calls and discussions with her. Thank you so much Nada.
The Chapel Community, Our mentors and coaches:
We were able to embark on this wonderful journey due to the endeavours an constant encouragement from our mentors Michael and Ben, our forever helpful coaches and guides Louis and Engin, and also our other lovely coaches Ian, Lydia, and Sarthak to whom we are forever grateful.
There were so many times we were stuck and needed guidance, and our mentors and coaches always came to our rescue. They helped us to explore topics, completely unknown to us and devoid of our understanding. More so, as guides they helped us to tread on the correct path.
And this is the main reason why our goodbye’s wouldn’t be easy, and our heartfelt gratitude, never enough.
Words of encouragement from our coaches. They always come to our rescue!(source: Screenshot from our communication with the chapel community on Gitter)
The RGSoC Organizers and the community:
The RGSoC community has been simply wonderful, we got a chance to make new friends and learn from their experiences. Right from the day, we received the acceptance email from the organizers, it has been a magical experience. We are ever so grateful to the RGSoC organizers for giving us this opportunity. And we hope that with your love, endeavours and encouragement, many other girls like us can have this metamorphic experience.
What we learnt this summer
The goal of the project was to develop a Parallelized and Distributed Radix Sort. It has been a mind stimulating experience with loads to learn owing to the challenges that came our way. Starting from a simple version of Least Significant Bit radix sort, progressing over to a recursive Most Significant version, and then trying out various ways to parallelize the algorithm, and finally looking at how to make the sort work in a distributed manner using multiple locales. The work involved trial and experimentation on the code and comparing execution time of the various versions of the code. Our codes went through numerous iterations of feedback from the coaches and mentors which helped us improve immensely. We learnt about the art of performance testing to be able to evaluate how well our code is performing, and along with that being able to point out what parts of our code need to be optimized for improving overall performance. We are in a position to say that we have a fair understanding of what seemed like big words like Parallelism and Distributed Computing, to us in the beginning of summer.
Due to the constant encouragement of our coaches and mentors, we are no longer afraid to ask for help and have learnt that no question asked is silly. They were always ahead of us in extending the helping hand, and responding quickly to our queries on the gitter channel. We learnt about how to collaborate as a team, working on different tasks, while keeping track of the overall progress. We learnt the importance of effective communication and the art of being patient while testing and writing code. We are thankful to them for providing us such a positive environment to be able to learn and grow along the way.
Team Sectumsempra - Avneet (left) and Rupal (right) (source: Avneet's phone camera - Moto G4 Plus)
Our Personal Experiences:
All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time. ~ Mitch Albom
As I reflect upon my journey, I did ponder upon how I had a myriad of experiences associated with it. In a few words If I have to sum up an important lesson that I learnt, that of acceptance, and realising that only then can I rise, if I know that I fell, the following quote best describes it:
“Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest. Except when you don’t. Because, sometimes, you won’t. I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.” ~ Dr. Seuss
And I resonate with it because along with the numerous of iterations of code that I wrote, came with it numerous iterations of self validation. Atleast that’s how I thought it was. But it is only now that I have gained a more insightful perspective, of being able to accept that I was pushing my boundaries all the time. It was only through the continuous feedback and guidance from our mentors and coaches, was I able to improve. Working with the Chapel community made me feel like I’m a part of something exciting, and that was the sole reason that I was motivated till the end. I did learn a great deal, enough to figure out, I have definitely loads to learn still. I did come out as a way more evolved person than I was before. I purely saw each an every code I wrote, the fixes and everything, as a window of opportunity. And looking back, I wouldn’t want to spend my summer any other way.
Another important lesson, beautifully summarised by the following quote, gives me the inspiration to continue to find my way forward.
“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are” ~Max Depree
Every time I tried to work on something new, it did seem difficult at a first glance, but RGSoC and the Chapel community has taught me better to not be deceived by the complexity of things, and keep trying. And eventually, it made me believe, that we all have the great potential within us waiting to be unearthed. This summer has been full of life-altering learnings paving a way to continuous improvement and I will strive hard to carry it forward with me.
I have emerged as a more confident person than ever. All thanks to the constant encouragement and guidance from the RGSoC and Chapel community. Thank you! I am eternally grateful.
The summer’s over already? Are you kidding me?
Well, it’s never ‘over’. Not yet.
I had to pinch myself to digest the reality. However, looking back at all the amazing things that had happened in the past three months gives me real chills.
When I applied to RGSoC for the first time, I was this doe-eyed sophomore who was trying to figure out the whole concept of engineering and career options at an academic research institute IIIT Delhi. In awe of the many amazing geeks, coders and passionate BYLDers (development society in my college) I met, I wanted nothing more that to be involved in some such cool communities and be doing some cool projects and become a source of inspiration for others, just like my seniors were for me. I used to feel adrift - not exactly belonging, but still with the faith in myself that I chose what’s right for me.
And then in my second year, I came across the RGSoC community and past scholars. Thence, the journey began.
I still remember the date: 17th May 2018. It was the day when searching and reading through a lot of follow up and rejection emails, after three months long wait, I found my Hogwarts letter.
And ever since then, the whole period have been very rewarding for me. If I try and put them all (the experience, emotions tagged with each one of them, mistakes and learnings and accomplishments) out here, the list will just go on and on. But don’t worry, I’ll keep it brief for you.
In addition to giving us great memories to cherish, it also marked the beginning of our Open Source journeys. We have been collaborating from four different time zones across the world: IST, EET, EDT, PDT. That’s the best part. It was my first time collaborating with people from overseas. And, it has been a great one.
Along with a lot of amazing and thought provoking things we worked on this summer, one thing I learnt during the program that I wish to share with Y’all: It is okay if you don’t know something in advance, everybody starts as a beginner. It’s more about how willing you’re to learn after that. There have been a lot of ‘trivial’ things (although not-so-trivial for me) that I got to learn this summer. There have been times when I used to feel very small about not knowing something as small as “Git workflow” which, apparently, everybody on the Chapel channel was hella great at. But you know what, chuck those thoughts away and ask for help if you’re feeling stuck.
I promised myself that I am going to make this summer that best summer of my undergraduate for me. Won’t leave any stone unturned. And, I did. No matter how silly and tiring the tasks were, I sailed through them and did my best.
My advice to RGSoC ‘19 aspirants
Network: Meet new people and talk to as many people as you can. You’ll never know
who you’ll run into one day. It might just be your life mentor, your next recruiter, your
potential thesis advisor, or maybe your “he is the one” person. :P
Go to conferences, meetups, workshops, attend short talks that your university arranges
for you. Talk to the speakers over there, ask for their current running projects and ask
them if they can look at your profile and can recommend you at their company or can
mentor you. Sounds far-fetched, right? Believe us, this works. It has worked for us, at
Communicate: Be it the application period or the RGSoC internship period, make sure
you don’t leave any communication gaps. Be clear with what you want. Be concise while
asking for favour or help, but ASK! Don’t shy away.
Set the bars high for yourselves: In our experience, we have observed that when it
comes to career, expectation bar is embarrassingly low for women. And this is majorly
because why we don’t see ourselves being able to match men. Think that you’ll achieve
big, and so you will!
Kate Winslet just puts it right:
Give back and help others: Peer-support is the key learning from RGSoC program. We
need to have each other’s back. We need to tell each other that “I’m there for you, to
help you.” And, this is how we grow. TOGETHER.
YAS Girl, you can do it! The feeling that “I’m not ready. Not just yet” always clouds us
too often. You’ll never be prepared, there’s always be a scope for improvement. But,
don’t let that hold you back. If you so want something, go get it. Period.
Source: Google Image Search
- C’mon, a Dork dance is must. Amy’s style
We feel that we would now be able to make a smooth transition into the world of open source. We are no more dubious of our selves while trying out to figure out how to contribute to open source and whether what we do would be suffice, we would now definitely just dive right in!
And we feel there are no better words to express how we feel for RGSoC than to say.
> “There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Photo credit: https://illustratedbites.wordpress.com/
We spent our summer of code working on the Nextcloud contacts app. Originally built with the Angular.js framework, we supported app maintainer John to migrate it over to Vue.js. With the date for the Beta release now approaching we can report our work has been successful and provided us with a lot of insight and knowledge along the way. Some of our work has also made it into the official NPM package for Nextcloud vue components
Team Popcorn’s top 8 highlights of the summer of code
- Coding in person with app maintainer John
- Docker workshop with coach Victor
- First PR merged into vue branch
- Social gathering with coaches and mentors
- Learning Vue.js
- Team meetings on the train
- Trouble shooting issues together
- Meeting contributors and our mentor John at the Nextcloud conference
🎶 Finding our Rhythm and getting Agile
Team Popcorn was committed from the start to creating a work environment that would allow both of us to maximise our personal growth and enjoyment of the summer. We held weekly meetings on Mondays which we ran in an Agile format. Its purpose was to refactor our work flow and analyse how we could increase our productivity, but also to improve our experience and allow for personal growth alongside contributing meaningful work to the project.
One thing we found was that by splitting tasks up into manageable and clear goals we felt a lot more satisfaction and less frustration with our work. At first we started working on our own fork of the project but we quickly moved over to our own branches in the master repository so we could keep our work closer to the master branch. We went further still and created issues and made branches for smaller parts of code so we could make more regular PRs.
We also had to address that we both work differently, have different knowledge areas and have different lives outside of the Summer of Code. Communication has been key and talking openly about our feelings has given us the chance to approach subjects before they became issues and ensure we were both getting what we needed from the programme.
As the RGSoC is about learning the skills for working in the tech industry, we also set up knowledge share sessions with some of our coaches to gain more knowledge on topics ranging from Docker to BEM and CSS structuring. We will also be running a few more before the end of the programme.
Team Popcorn’s update titles
For our daily updates we decided to create a format for our titles and turn them into popcorn flavours. We asked our coaches, mentor, family and well whoever was around to give us three things. The base of our question was a food, a colour and an adjective but we changed it around a little each week
Here are our top 6 flavours
- Flaming Pink Spaghetti Popcorn
- Pipoca brincalhona de Paçoca Amarela
- Tired Grey Croissant Popcorn
- Königsblau Reggae-Feverish Watermelon Popcorn
- Lime Green Glamorous Praline Pecan Popcorn
- Thankful #0082C9 Kumquat Popcorn
On this September day, with no distance from the program to provide perspective, I can safely say that the summer of 2018 is going to have repercussions on my work and life for years to come. Though I may not be able to articulate all the changes I have gone through, the degree to which I have been challenged is undeniable. One of the greatest benefits I have observed so far is that RGSOC has helped me become familiar with unfamiliarity.
Exhibit A: our first week of the summer of code. During this time I was introduced to Vue.js, the offices of Absolventa, working with a teammate (the indomitable Jessica), German keyboards, our wonderful contingent of coaches, RGSOC communication requirements and a gruelling schedule that would hopefully enable me to continue my new job as a full-stack developer while participating in the program. This is without mentioning the changes that were still to come. Having to juggle two remote repositories, a million local ones, strange forks, branches, trees. Vuex. The work process of the app maintainer (yay skjnldsv!) and collaborating remotely. Linting. Getting uncomfortable with CSS, up close and personal with git. What it means to migrate a project.
This constant exposure to novelty has proved to me in a clearer way than ever before that the strangeness of a new beginning doesn’t last. I can now much more easily see past my comfort zone to the day when it turns into a skill or an insight that I can call mine. This is how I was able to quickly fix a branch at work by cherry picking commits even though I had never done it before and to impress my boss along the way. The most significant aspect of the incident was that I sought out the challenge and I did so with confidence, i.e. feeling completely lost for much of the past six months, surviving and realising that coding is not nearly as fun when you know what you’re doing.
Team Popcorn’s top resources
ohshitgit (Helpful git commands)
Vue-multiselect (Multiselect component for Vue framework)
Bem 101 (Article about CSS Bem (CSS structuring))
ohmyz.sh (framework for managing Zsh configuration, particularly useful because of autocomplete!)
Code Complete (book given by coach Lora)
Dev.to (blog about software development/watercooler)
I have certainly learned a lot about programming and contributing to Open Source during the summer, however what was perhaps less expected is that I have also learned a lot about work flows and team work. Our weekly agile meetings and talking with team mate Arati about how we could streamline our workflow gave me a lot of insight to how this may work in a future position. Something else that was new to me was working in an office environment. Both my previous jobs were more physical and in varying work spaces. I have really enjoyed working at our coaching company ABSOLVENTA’s office and I am incredibly thankful to them for providing us not only with computers and workspaces but also a safe, friendly environment to work in.
During the summer of code I was successful in finding a position as a software developer at Ecosia (the search engine that plants trees 🌳). I am so happy to be able to continue my journey and thankful to RGSoC which has helped me so much to prepare for this next step.
I am also inspired by all our coaches, mentors, supervisors and the RGSoC organisers to give back to the community. I am already actively involved in the local chapter of PyLadies and as part of my new position will be able to take time to lead community activities. I hope to be able to participate in future RGSoC sessions as a coach or supervisor and support others on their journey into tech!
We definitely could not have done this without the support of the following people. Thank you for making our summer of code inspirational, productive, and most of all fun!
- Our fantastic coaching company Absolventa
- Our amazing team of coaches: Lora,Markus,Camila,Kaja & Victor
- Our supervisor Neta
- And the one and only @skjnldsv for his patience, guidence and friendship!
- Nextcloud community, espcially Xheni, Jona, Jos and Jan
- Our friends and family for understanding and support during some challenging times
- Arati’s work for being flexible with her schedule so she was able to work and participate in RGSOC at the same time
- RGSOC and the broader community for giving us this opportunity
- And let’s not forget our brilliant mascot Popcorn 🐾
Over and Out!
Arati & Jessica AKA Team Popcorn
Photo credit: Team Popcorn
RGSoC 2018 Moments from Rails Girls Summer of Code on Vimeo.
We can’t believe time went by so fast, but Rails Girls Summer of Code 2018 is over! And while the program has ended, we know that this is the start of multiple beginnings: It could be a participant’s first time application to a job, receiving their first job offer as a software developer, or working on a new OSS project.
In spite of all these new beginnings, some things will carry on from this year’s RGSoC; we are proudly talking about all the students who decide to continue contributing to the Open Source projects they worked on during the summer, and all the friendships and work relationships that have been developed during our program.
These special friendships are what makes our community exceptional. And as a community, wee got together and coordinated, funded, trained, mentored and supervised 26 people who are now on their way to make a change in tech and in Open Source. We couldn’t be more proud of our students’ growth since day one! You have been inspiring us in the past 3 months and we know for sure that you will continue to inspire a whole lot of other people in the future.
We are profoundly grateful to all of the students, coaches, mentors, supervisors, organizers, sponsors and individual donors who helped make RGSoC 2018 a reality. Thank you for believing in our mission and in the importance of making Open Source a better place for everyone. We hope to have your support in the years to come!
Let’s keep in touch!
And on that note: If you would like to receive RGSoC updates for the next time we launch the program—such as information on the OSS project submissions and student applications opening — please subscribe to our newsletter using this link. We promise we won’t spam you.
Another thing: if you’d like to keep in touch with our students, coaches, mentors and supervisors, we suggest you check our twitter lists here and our RGSoC twitter moment.
RGSoC 2018 Sponsors (image by Ana Sofia Pinho)
Hurdles of a beginning developer
So, you’ve done a bootcamp, congratulations you’re now a programmer!! It’s weird to think that now you have a developers’ certificate for the whole world to see, but it still doesn’t feel like you’re a dev. Now you can start applying for jobs as a junior developer and dip your toes in a new project. With this new job comes your first programming experience, and the ups and downs of being a junior in a field of seniors.
When we wrapped up our bootcamp, we didn’t feel confident that we had a dev toolkit; we were so lucky to come across and be able to apply for a Summer of Code together. Entering a program where you can start learning by doing was a great opportunity to dip our toes into a real project and an amazing stepping-stone to an eventual job. We spent some time after our bootcamp classes checking our application and searching for coaches. We had our doubts during the process, thinking we would be so lucky if we were to be chosen, so we chose the projects that we felt comfortable with and most familiar. We reached out to the community to find coaches willing to invest time for a whole three months during the program. Alina already knew who our first coach would be, Daniel. By reaching out to reddit Amsterdam community we found our second coach Jack.
Ana Sofia from RGSoC organization
We felt a bit like imposters even..
With hindsight I guess we’ve been blessed with the way everything worked out for us. We got into the program quickly, even though there were lots of good teams to choose from. I think we didn’t expect that we had been selected, when the news came. I guess we felt a bit like imposters even, with so little coding coding experience and always thinking that we don’t know enough. Even though Rails Girls is meant for teams like ours, there’s definitely still a voice in the back of your head telling you don’t have what it takes.
We’ve realised that it’s actually good to have that voice there, since it will probably stay with us our whole career (we might as well get used to it). Seasoned developers online even have a blogs on the subject of imposter syndrome. It’s good to learn early on that this is there to stay. It’s selfishly nice to know that every developer out there has these feelings, and it doesn’t seem to matter how experienced you are. In the end coding comes down to this feeling, but the only expectations you’re not meeting are the ones YOU CREATE for yourself. Things like algorithms, frameworks, new tech can be learned, with enough effort and time.
A potato for every occasion
We learned during the program that there’s so much more to coding, than programming itself. That basic feeling of not knowing enough to do the job is something we will encounter in life on many different ways. But with coding, it’s a day to day business, the confrontation with not knowing. As humans, most of the time we have an option to choose: go bungee jumping for the first time or not. This seems to be the overarching theme of coding, too. There is so much to learn, that every coding challenge is another decision of whether to jump. You never know what you’re going to get. So if you’re prepared to take a challenge, you’ll grow on the fly, and code through it. It will never be the same thing twice, and definitely won’t be as you expected, but it will feel adventurous. I guess what we want to say is that we can choose if we want to live the fear or not. Feeling adventurous ? become developer : choose another profession.
We both had part time jobs when we started Rails Girls. Alina was a growth-hacking trainer, and Sabine was (and still is) a front-end developer at her company. We’ve had to make sacrifices to find time for everything, but we both knew the best way for us to continue our growth as developers was to learn by doing. Actually working on a project for an intense period and lots of hours has caused us to grow exponentially. This is exactly what we wanted and needed when starting a different career path. Working on our project has consolidated a lot of our progress and gave us more confidence in developing and knowing that we can learn if we persevere. We were so humbled to get a chance to do that with Stretchly and Rails Girls.
Talk to each other
Part of our way of overcoming our fears and anxieties was to talk to each other. As a team we are very open about issues we encounter in the project or in our personal lives. So, whenever we were stressed about an issue we discussed it first thing. It helped us to reconsider or get other viewpoints to a code problem or situation. Having mentors, coaches, teammates to rely on has provided us with an environment where we felt comfortable and safe.
Even so, the list of hurdles we encounter as junior developers grows bigger every day. To name a few, this is what we’ve come across:
- Not enough documentation written for our innocent junior dev eyes (it takes hours to sometimes decipher documentation)
- Working with timezones in any code is a huge pain! Just ask Jan (our mentor), Dan (our coach), or Jack (our coach) and they will confirm
- Interview question: What is a DNS? Domain Name System Go figure!
- Junior software-engineer job listing: minimum 3 years of experience
- Corrupting git branch data to a point of no return (queue Phantom of the Opera soundtrack in the background)
Courtesy Forbes Conrad Macau Bridge
Just like we’ve found solutions to most of these, we’re determined to chip at this list one issue at a time, and bungee jump as much as it takes :)
Overall, we had a great smooth time at Rails Girls, with very few hiccups along the way because we were lucky to have our amazing supervisors and mentors. Going forward, I think we’ll find that having a network to rely on will be one of the most effective ways to overcome these struggles. We can only hope that one day we’ll be at a level where we can provide the same type of support for future aspiring devs!
Wow, it’s hard to believe that the summer is almost over! And it is even harder to believe that we started working together on this project only (almost) 3 months ago… At the beginning of the project, we were excited to be a part of all this, but we had no idea what was ahead of us. Now we can say that we were part of an amazing project. It was a great summer and we will be always grateful for this opportunity!
Obrigada - or thank you if you don’t know Portuguese :), RGSoC!
Team Brazilian Housewives coding! picture taken by Julio Albinati
How was our experience?
During our summer, we learned… A lot! We had the opportunity to learn much more than simply programming in a new language or using new tools, but also about teamwork! And many times that was our biggest challenge! We have learned that communication is one of the most important thing when we are collaborating with several people - remotely or not.
In addition, we learned a lot about APIs implementation, Rails, Ruby, MySQL, Git… Oh, all the rebases that didn’t work, such special moments!
So far, what did we do?
Our summer project is the Public Lab, a community and non-profit democratizing science to address environmental issues that affect people. They are really cool, check it out!
Two months ago when we started working on the project, we had to spend a lot of our first week studying the Public Lab code and documentation. We chose to work on the API because it was something new for us. We studied the basics such as what is an API, what is a RESTful API, RubyGrape and Swagger - an open source tools for creating and documenting API’s.
After refactoring some part of the API we were able to identify the endpoints that needed urgent improvements and we worked hard on making some of them more efficient. Our work was mostly done on the back-end but we are really proud of the new /search page that we are working, that will be soon alive on the project’s website.
We used the Github Projects page to keep track of our work and to break our tasks into small parts:
Photo credit: Github Public Lab projects page - API project
And thank you so much to our amazing team:
Our supervisor Mayar, you’re so sweet and helped us a lot during our summer <3
Our mentorJeff, thank you for your time and all of your reviews of our countless Pull Requests :D
And of, course, our coaches, Thiago and Julio. You helped us so much, especially when we were stuck or lost xD. You are an inspiration for both of us, keep shipping! :)
Well, now you can call us the Brazilian
housewives developers coding! Now we are super ready to embrace new challenges to come! See you around, RGSoC!