Diversity Scholarship Series: My experience at CloudNativeCon + KubeCon Europe 2017

By May 10, 2017Blog

CNCF offered six diversity scholarships to developers to attend CloudNativeCon + KubeCon Europe 2017. In this post, our scholarship recipient Konrad Djimeli, University of Buea student, shares his experience meeting the community, participating in technical sessions and bringing his experience back to his community in Africa. Anyone interested in applying for the CNCF diversity scholarship to be able to attend CloudNativeCon + KubeCon North America 2017 in Austin December 6-8, can submit an application for here. Applications due October 13th.

By Konrad Djimeli, Software Developer, Community organizer (GDG Buea), GitHub Campus Expert and Google Summer of Code 2015 and 2017 Software engineering intern

Being a CloudNativeCon + KubeCon Europe 2017 Diversity Scholarship recipient was actually a life changing experience for me. I came across this scholarship while browsing the Linux Foundation website for upcoming events. When I stumbled on this event and realized it had a scholarship opportunity, I was very happy. I am passionate about cloud computing and container related technologies, which is what the conference was all about. I applied for the scholarship knowing that it would give me the opportunity to learn from experts and also gain experience, which I could share with members of my community to inspire and motivate them.

One day, I opened my email inbox and had received an email saying I had been selected as a CloudNativeCon + KubeCon Europe 2017 scholarship recipient. This was like a dream to me as I had never had the opportunity to attend any conference out of Cameroon. This was also going to be my first time traveling out of my country. My contact at the Linux Foundation Katie Schultz was very helpful in enabling me to obtain a Visa and every other requirement for my travel and accommodation. When I arrived Berlin, just the trip alone was an interesting experience and my hotel was just a few minutes walk to the Berlin Congress Center, where the conference was taking place. I went to the conference hall after arriving and obtained my conference badge.

While at the conference center, the meals were great and the talks were very interesting,  although I got lost during some of the talks due to the fact that they required a certain technical knowledge I do not possess yet. Even so, I was inspired and motivated to work hard and improve my technical knowledge. I was excited to visit the sponsor booths and It was great to talk with employees from some of the tech giants in the world like Google, Microsoft and others. I had a very interesting chat with some employees at Bitnami, including the CEO Daniel Lopez Ridruejo , who was very humble and down to earth.

Photo Caption: Konrad and Daniel Lopez Ridruejo

Talking with Sebastien Goasguen, Senior Director of Cloud at Bitnami, led me to start contributing code to a project, which involved developing Jupyter Notebooks for the Kubernetes Python Client. This notebooks, could be used by others to

learn about and explore Kubernetes and its functionalities interactively, and this project is currently hosted on GitHub. This is actually going to be the topic of my Google Summer of Code (GSOC) project this summer.

I was also very glad when I got the chance to meet with Katie Schultz who had been very helpful in making it possible for me to be at the conference.

Photo Caption: Konrad and Katie Schultz

Everyone I met at the conference was very smart and hardworking and it made me realize how much we as developers in Africa have to work in order to become world class developers.

After the conference, I returned to Cameroon and sometimes feel like it was all a dream, as the experience seemed too good to be real. As a member of the Silicon Mountain community in Cameroon, I have shared my experience with other members of my community and they have all been motivated. I have also shared with them the importance of cloud and container technologies in our community and how integrating these technologies into our applications could improve their performance and maintenance.

I think it is extremely necessary for developers from African communities like mine to get an opportunity to attend such an international tech conference. This experience enables us to obtain so much awareness about the hard work required to archive our goals.