Reflections on becoming from a Contributor to a Mentor

Reflections on becoming from a Contributor to a Mentor

Wrapped up my Journey through 2022

Being a techie, I am passionate about open source and DevOps. But those who don't know or are hearing for the first time can explore great videos out there on Youtube, namely DevOps Bootcamp from Kunal Kushwaha. So, It has been like 3 years since I was involved in OS. But this 2022 was one of those years in which I was able to unlock many achievements mainly in open source but got hit up by some challenges as well like many techies striving to reach their milestones, and plans don't work as expected. I have had always great times exploring new technology out of intriguing and learning it which looked interesting to adds-on my tech stack.

In this blog, I would like to mention how I grew my strength to showcase my abilities to be a mentor, faced challenges and pulled through them, and pulled off small achievements, and a few expectations and goals for this new year with new beginnings.

What empowered me to get started with open source world

Before I wrap up my journey, I want to start off with when and how I stepped into open source briefly. As we all know, there has been a craze about open source since college days, mostly in the sophomore period. But my motivation came around when my PR got merged on FOSSASIA organisation's sub-project in 2019. And what! my excitement towards OS raised high. I kept doing contributions to various projects starting from documentation to code. In 2022, I made myself learn and build personal projects using ReactJs and other tools to get acquainted with various libraries since big projects like Meshery SaaS don't clarify your understanding of flow unless you run it as a local development successfully and contribute to it. Although I was able to understand the code or contribute to it at the same time, was not able to stand out. I had to dig into that.

Drake Hotline Bling Meme |  Asking questions DMing people; Asking and sharing in public | image tagged in memes,drake hotline bling | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

When I first heard about the opportunity to participate in GSoC 2022, I was just overwhelmed by finding some niche project where I can fit in. So, no other than CNCF umbrella projects took my eye on it. You might be thinking what is CNCF, you can follow this video to get around. So, I started exploring a few projects under it and involving in some of the projects through Slack, Gitter, GitHub discussion, etc., joining their weekly calls, discussing the ideas and making contributions to win the trust being a volunteer. The cool thing is that not only, do you give value to others sharing your knowledge, but also get to know the culture of community building and strengthening your tech stack, ultimately your CV. I just got a chance to be a volunteer for a project and experience the culture of a GSoC mentor. Although I liked being a part of it but destroyed the myth is you get a lot of perks and money. So the truth is you work hard to build the confidence of your mentee in the project and produce milestones to match the deliverables given. Despite this phenomenon, I enjoyed learning new tools for my side project and developing a new set of skills like soft skills and community building. If you want to learn about these things, you can join Twitter spaces and find youtube videos on that more specifically.

The challenges I went through

When I first landed upon participating in hackathons, I screwed up by implementing multiple things without a plan. I failed to manage my time to get an advantage of knowing things over implementing them properly. So planning is way more necessary than starting without it. So do I. I had to face back off while learning stuff. In Feb, I was exploring another OS project to build out my tech stack i.e. Golang related project, I started contributing to it by following contrib guide which help me run the project, but the libraries were just freaking me out. I spent my time finding the exact file to work on like a person swimming in the pond without knowing the depth inside it, which means confusing to find the use of any lib in the code and ended up wasting my time. I think this happens when anyone who wants to start overwhelmingly does not get the right path to involve. So I believe community comes into the picture and becomes a saviour for your tasks. You go to slack or any communication channel, get involved and solve your issues as fast as you could without support. Below are the snapshots from my keptn community where I tried to get my issues sorted from developers. Although it takes some time, you get satisfied solutions for your queries.

Over time, I realise there are a lot of things to be prepared and applied in our project development. Because tech is producing new things every day, new releases, etc. Sometimes being outdated becomes tough to handle and maintain the project. It was in Aug when I was participating in a Hackathon that deals with cloud-native, I lost track and submitted some override code, which ultimately fail to crack it thinking over I could do it anyway.

The mistake I did was I oversaw the practice of development tools and ignored understanding the use of tools in a project. Like when I was contributing to a project kong service mesh in September, I was just looping around the projects until I realised whatever I was doing was me being ignored to the fact. That means I just wasted my time asking and figuring out short tricks to get into the project by DMing through slack or gitter or discord, but sometimes it works. Long story short, I think asking about anything related to the project in public is a great way to grab an online presence and become confident in yourself in the development journey.

What I unlocked new achievements along the way and how

  • Period-1 Jan - June

    Change My Mind Meme |  Learning by doing consistently | image tagged in memes,change my mind | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

Learning by doing; Yes what you read is right. When I first learnt about CI/CD, I always wanted to do a real-world project. So, I jumped on tools featured on Cloud-native projects. I started learning the project keptn CD and building it to understand its flow with an example. I unlocked this skill by achieving its keptn core contribution and becoming a volunteer. in Feb, I took part in Developer Week Hackathon, where I was able to manage to integrate the DevOps tool i.e. Harness CD with my web application and finally grab the winning track prize. In April, I participated in another hack getting me a chance to pick a new achievement i.e. open ziti tool to secure your app. That went to my stack. Following the next month, I went to explore other projects in the cloud native world .i.e Kong Service mesh where I was able to contribute to the project. Not only that, but it allowed me to grab some cool T-shirts. As long as you are consistent in contributing to a project, you are gaining a lot of experience in scaling your skill up in different areas of the tech stack from frontend to backend.

  • Period-2 July-September

In July, I discovered a Hackathon conducted by Hashnode where I got my chance to explore the Linode cluster and leveraged it to deploy my app and used Argo CD to automate my deployment firmly.

Next month, I took part in another hackathon where I leveraged oracle cloud service exploring its features i.e. Autonomous DB service and load balance and deploying it to one of the clusters helped me brush up my Kubernetes skills strongly vibrant since I had already become a fan of Kubernetes tech. And fired the stage by winning the track prize and gaining a huge amount of resources for my DevOps skills.

In September, I engaged with the Kong summit Hackathon, where I was able to make contributions but ended up cracking the participation prize. Following the next month, I prepared to contribute more as part of Hacktoberfest and made 7 PRs accepted making history this time. For the first time, I contributed to the Gitlab project repo.

  • Period-3 Nov - Dec

In the last two months, I started building my portfolio spending more time on myself and preparing myself to overcome my shortcomings around my tech skills like preparing for certifications by The Linux Foundation. Finally going towards the end of the last month, I hacked another hackathon conducted by GitLab and gained the experience of contributions to the backend category.

Lessons I stroked

During the whole year, there were many up and down in my tech journey. It is easy to show off your winning moments but there is a lot of work committed to building a portfolio alongside. When I started involving in cloud native projects, everything looked difficult and became a hassle for me. I took it for granted and left out no progress unless I was able to find a way to contribute to the project. Even though there were other many hackathons I participated in, I ended up with no wins. So, I developed the practice of learning new things and being consistent in my work so I could bring a positive impact on myself and the community around me.

Tech stacks I was proud of learning

  • Kubebuider and Helm

  • MERN

  • Cloud providers like Linode, Digital Ocean and Oracle

  • DevOps tools: Argo CD, Keptn CD, Harness CD

What's next: A few expectations ahead and milestones

Although the last year was remarkable for me as to how I was able to unlock many things, there are many other things left to explore and make my next year full of learning space and overcoming the shortcomings that happened the last year. I hope to create contents whatever I learn and share with the community.

I remember Eddie says Collaborate first, Code second. I think it comes to the place where my community can push me forward to build it strong putting open source good practices in our daily job and opening new opportunities for them to make use of correct resources in relevant work.

Overall, it sounds like I am technically strong from the perspective of my achievements. But it is of course not, I have to fill up the gaps that remained during my journey and drive myself more to explore other cool projects out there to stay committed and dedicated. I want to deep dive into security tools provided by projects like Kubescape, Crossplane, OPA, tekton CD, etc. and brush up my certification skills like CKS, GitOps, PCA, etc. This can be made possible only through consistent learning together with the public and sharing with them.