Here is how I launched a program to educate, inspire and accelerate opensource software for students and underrepresented groups.
It's a story about how positive thinking, and what seems to be the "law of attraction" in the Universe, helped manifest my idea about open source into real-world impact.
2 days ago I wrapped up the program that I had set my mind on to promote education about opensource software.
I’m still high on the incredible journey this was and wrote some of my thoughts down.
Going into 2022, I wanted this year for me to be about driving meaningful impact for the open source software movement.
It seemed unthinkable to me that Computer Science students or developers already blended in the industry don’t have a GitHub account, or never took part in collaborating in open source projects.
I wanted this to be more about collaboration and opening participation to newcomers who hadn’t yet felt the rush of getting their pull requests merged. I also wanted to spend more of my time with underrepresented groups.
Earlier this year I reached out to bootcamps and meetup groups such as @shehacks_ke which promote cybersecurity awareness for women in Kenya. I did a live hacking presentation with those lovely humans.
It felt great to share my knowledge and empower others.
I wanted to do more of this, but also more about open source software in general. How do I go about doing that?
I ran a few ideas in my head.
One was about running some sort of Open Source Day at Universities and planning a schedule where we learn, practice, and celebrate open source collaboration. I initiated a few discussions with folks I knew but it didn’t move anywhere. It was hard to get their buy-in to this.
At work, I was also very busy, in a good way. That, and with all of the time I spend participating in communities, I barely get my 6 hours of sleep anyway.
My idea almost faded away… until one day
One day back in February, I went to do some work from a small co-working space in my suburb city. I don’t live in the tech valley of Tel Aviv. I noticed that most of the desks were occupied by students.
I had a chat with the venue owner and he shared with me about his attempts of creating a local community for folks in this suburb city to help each other, connect them, and help them succeed in their career journey.
This was it. I knew it.
Thoughts become words, words become actions, and actions become reality.
I proposed the idea of running a workshop about open source software. He immediately smiled and said: “MADNESS! Let’s do it!“.
That’s all it took.
In February, I started drawing out the concept for a program that would come to span over 4 weekly classes. I created a syllabus to bring the students up to date with collaborating on open-source software.
But we need some guiding principles if this was to live up to my idea.
I had 2 rules I set out:
- (1) the program needs to be inclusive, with specific success KPIs for inclusivity around gender and underrepresented groups
- (2) the program needs to be practical and hands-on, and not require any prior knowledge of programming
This program came to be #ReadyCodePush.
I drew up a logo. I like the GitHub contribution squares reference.
But what will I teach?
4 classes of 3 hours teaching this:
- Class 1: Open-source software and the GitHub Developer Platform
- Class 2: Software development on GitHub’s developer platform
- Class 3: Automate software delivery with GitHub Actions
- Class 4: Securing open-source software with Snyk
I never imagined the content to resonate so well.
I saw students creating their first GitHub user, earning their first green contribution square, creating a profile README, creating their first repository, forking and opening pull requests.
They went on to configure GitHub Actions jobs, creating a Snyk account and seeing vulnerabilities come to life for the first time.
They were all hooked on open source now. Some of them were even hooked on cybersecurity and explore it as next steps for them
One of the students, Sagi Weizmann, is a full-time employee doing full stack development. He volunteered to run the DevOps introduction in Class 3. What a hero!
He shared his experiences, practiced public speaking, and took an active part in this program.
I was proud, impressed, and thankful.
Together with #HubAshdod, the co-working space that provided the venue and yummy pizzas, we launched the program about 3 weeks ago.
We had 34 students sign-up, regularly attended the in-person classes from 6-9pm, and actively participate.
We concluded the program this week with the first cohort 🎉
IT WAS AMAZING.
Now it’s time to reflect, assess, and re-group for the next cohort!
Read through this far?
you deserve pictures from the workshop :-)