19 May, 2020

Day before yesterday was probably one of the most special days of my life- I had secured my first ever internship. After hearing I made it into Outreachy, I could not have been more relieved yet elated at the same time. All my hard work had finally paid off! But trust me when I say, there was a long journey to getting here.

I first heard about Outreachy from one of my friends in December, 2019. I told him I was aiming to get into GSoC, but was frightened at the idea of open source coding, because I had only recently started programming, in August 2019. He then told me to look at an organisation called Outreachy- as it was targeted for newcomers to the tech field, and would help me not only learn more about open source but also get settled and comfortable in the community. I was elated to hear this news, and I knew it was something I could try out.

I then began looking through organisations and projects. Although the non-open source projects appealed to me more, I wanted to branch out of my comfort zone. Thus, I spent a lot of time getting comfortable with open source, writing readable code, and GitHub. I contributed to open-source projects in whatever ways I could, and I knew I had learnt a lot in the process. However, in the end I decided to focus on a non-coding internship. This was because I knew, even with all the knowledge I had gained, I still had a long way to go before I became comfortable and confident in doing a job that required me to do open-source code. I believed would be able to fulfil my responsibility as an intern much better through a non-coding internship, although I’m grateful to have learnt so much about code during this process. I’m sure that with a bit more practice, I’ll be able to put my newly-learnt skills to use very soon!

The internship I decided to focus on was ‘Performing user studies on target students’ by Oppia Foundation. This organisation in particular stood out to me because of their aim to provide accessible education to children everywhere- something which I have been very passionate about even in the past as well. I love volunteering whenever I can, and I was also in the process of developing an online tool that connects underprivileged children to tutors. So, when I stumbled upon an organisation that had my goals in mind, I knew this was the one. I also love working with children, so this project seemed like a perfect fit! I knew it would also help me improve my analytical and documentation skills, along with problem-solving skills as well.

During selection, I was asked to perform user studies on two students. I performed it on my neighbour’s children, and created a report along with some proposed solutions. My mentor, Yamama Shaka’a, was very helpful and guided me the whole way through.

I am so elated to have been chosen, and I’m so excited for the work that lies ahead!