Mentoring others in Open Source 🌟

A year ago I and my teammate were fortunate enough to be selected as one of the 7 full-time teams for Rails Girls Summer of Code Scholar(RGSoC) ❤️. This was my first experience with Open Source programs. In the application form for RGSoC, there was a question :

What do you think you could give back to the community?

I aspire to become a mentor or coach in the next edition of RGSoC. Apart from this, I love teaching and believe that knowledge grows by sharing. I will also apply as a mentor next year in Google Code In as well as Learn It Girl. (A small snippet of my answer. )

During the course of RGSoC, I had the opportunity to work for if-me.org. It is an open source app to share mental health experiences with loved ones. A few things about if-me that I really like is the level of coding standards(extremely well written code with test coverage), the detailed documentation, well-labeled issues on Github, Internationalization(i18n) and the helpful slack community. 💛 Their codebase is in Ruby on Rails and React. If you are looking to learn these two languages or want to get started with Open Source, if-me would be a good place. It is an amazing organisation with awesome mentors. Julia, Camille and Alvaro were our mentors. What I learnt from them helped me grow enormously as a person and developer. There were lots of pair-programming sessions 👭, detailed outlines of tasks 📃, discussions regarding tech stack 💻, doubt clearing sessions etc. I look up to them till date and have tried incorporating whatever they taught me while mentoring others.

The first open source program that I mentored for was Google Code-In(GCI). I was a mentor for plots2 project by public labs. Public Lab is a community where they seek to change how people see the world in environmental 🌳, social, and political terms. plots2 contains the code for their website. The project is in Ruby on Rails, HTML and CSS. It was really good to mentor young GCI students, the amount of knowledge that they have at such a young age was inspiring. I am presently also mentoring for the same project as Google Summer of Code Mentor 2019. I have learnt a lot from this project, by reviewing Pull Requests I learnt about frontend, building rails features etc. I have also learnt the importance of proper labels on Github issues, templates for Pull Requests etc. I also often refer to their codebase when I am stuck with something on an entirely different rails project. If you are a first-timer, you should definitely contribute to public labs !

Apart from public labs I was a mentor for project Cosmos by Open Genus Foundation during GirlScript Summer of Code. Cosmos is a personal library 📚of every algorithm and data structure code that you will ever encounter. Contributing and mentoring for this project helped me sharpen my Data Structures and Algorithmic knowledge. I wrote code on Job Scheduling Algorithms as well as reviewed code on a variety of topics ranging from simple while loops to complex coding topics like Dynamic Programming, String matching etc. During the course of GirlScript Summer of Code I really appreciated that the organising team kept track of what the mentors did every week. This ensured that every mentor was contributing regularly. 🙌

I was also a mentor for LearnIt girl. I was matched with a mentee based on my technical skills. My job was to guide her to build a shopping portal in ruby on rails. However, my mentee went off the grid after a couple of weeks and I have no idea what happened. I really loved the concept of LearnIt girl but I do wish that there was more accountability and the organising team was more involved. 😃

Often, students want to participate in Open Source Programs as they will get to learn a lot but don’t want to mentor as often. It is definitely good to participate in open source programs because unless you’ve been a participant you won’t know what is expected of a mentor. However, if you’ve already been a participant for an Open Source Program, I would highly recommend you to mentor others. You will learn a lot as well as get an opportunity to impact those starting out in open source. ❤️

Happy Mentoring !

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