Rails Girls Summer of (more than just) Code
What outreach actually means
One month of Rails Girls Summer of Code 2017 is almost drawing to a close and we, at Team 200 OK, are absolutely overwhelmed by the interest you are showing in our progress through the summer. Thank you for sticking with us! We will try our best to live up to your expectations.
When I, along with my teammate Prachi, started off with RGSoC’17, the terms like team organization, community bonding, support and outreach were very vague concepts to me. This being my first time in an open source initiative of its kind, I entered into the program with a completely fresh slate. I expected to learn a lot in terms of programming skills and how open source projects work, but what I’ve learnt beyond that deserves a notable mention.
Lesson #1: Define Your Own Success
RGSoC is different from other summer of code programs in being a self guided program, with more emphasis on gaining transferable skills and learning new things by working on an open source project, rather than the number of commits and pull requests. The entire focus is on learning and learning only, no matter whether you are a beginner or a proficient programmer. Everyone has something to learn, each at their own pace and RGSoC is a perfect platform to learn at your own pace and grow.
During our first week into the summer, we had a call with the organizing team members Anika and Vaishali, and our supervisor Mayar. The amount of emphasis they laid on staying motivated through the summer, working hard without burning out and reaching out to the community for help, really amazed me. What Anika said in that call has stayed with me ever since :
Have a successful summer, whatever the definition of success may be for you!
Lesson #2 : Just Breathe and Relax
Fun Fact : To recognize the alarmingly high rate of burnouts in our industry and the risks associated with it, RGSoC has a marked day off on 18th August. Working full-time on an open source project is as demanding as any other developer job and has its own share of challenges. You can’t figure out where to begin, you can’t figure out implementation details, you don’t know who to reach out to, your builds fail — we’ve seen it all. But the constant reminders from your pair, coaches, mentor and supervisor to carry on regardless, are absolutely heartwarming.
Lesson #3 : Everyone Needs a Support System
But the best part is the support system RGSoC has in place to see us through all of this and anything else unforeseen. Through each hour of the day, through each commit, through each issue and each pull request, you have the support and company of your pair. Brainstorming, coding and debugging with Prachi is an amazing experience. It’s good to have someone to code with.
This program requires us to have a minimum of two coaches on board and we are extremely lucky to have three! Vidur, Tushar and Suryansh are our seniors from college and have been and continue to be pillars of support throughout the program. Debugging code and motivating us when things seemed bleak — they’ve done it all. The presence of coaches really makes a difference when you’ve spent hours wracking your brains on code coverage, and all you were missing was an if-else clause to test.
The support and guidance we receive from our coala community, too, is unparalleled. The exhaustive code reviews and prompt suggestions on the Gitter channel reaffirm our primary reason behind choosing coala as our first choice project for RGSoC.
Lesson #4 : Inspire and Be Inspired
Perhaps one of the most important lessons RGSoC has taught me, is the importance of outreach and networking, which knows no bounds. The past month has seen regular interactions with our supervisor, Mayar, who’s from Cairo, Egypt and our weekly supervisor meetings are something we’ve both come to eagerly await. Before the start of the summer, I would have thought it to be impossible to bond with someone across time zones in such a manner, but here we are.
Not Really a Wrap
One month into Rails Girls Summer of Code, and I’m already glad that Prachi came across this, that we applied and so humbled to have been selected and presented with the opportunity to meet such an awesome team. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer brings with it. Till then, that’s all folks! 😀