Mentorship post originally published on Dev.to by Asmit Malakannawar
Are you already actively contributing to open source and looking to take your involvement to the next level? You can participate in the LFX Mentorship program. Through the LFX Mentorship, I found a supportive mentor and a community that helped me overcome these challenges and achieve my open source goals. In this blog, I want to share my personal journey from being a mentee to becoming a mentor, and the valuable lessons I learned along the way.
Let’s explore the power of LFX Mentorship together and discover how it can turn your open source aspirations into reality!
What Is LFX Mentorship Program and How Do I Apply?
The LFX Mentorship Program is a specialized 12 week program designed to connect aspiring contributors with experienced mentors in the open source community. The program aims to facilitate personal and professional growth by providing guidance, support, and valuable insights to mentees.
You can find more information about the program in the LFX Mentorship Docs.
For the LFX Spring Term, I worked on CNCF – ORAS: Develop ORAS website, which I will discuss about in this blog later.
Now, You Know About the Program, How Do You Apply?
Applying to this program is straightforward. You begin by creating an LFX Mentee account and then proceed to apply for the projects listed on the platform. As part of the application process, you will be required to submit a resume and a cover letter. However, it’s important to note that the task doesn’t end there. Many students make a mistake here.
I made the naive mistake of just submitting the resume and a three-page cover letter explaining my idea. Back in 2021, when I first learned about the LFX Mentorship program, I eagerly applied for the CNCF Buildpacks project. My proposed idea was to undertake a Web Redesign of Feature Comparison which involved creating a features page in Hugo. I began learning about static site generators, hoping to make a positive impact. Due to this, my application didn’t go through at that time. However, I received valuable and detailed feedback from my mentor, which motivated me to continue working on improving my skills and knowledge based on the guidance provided.
My Experience and Background
Before applying for the LFX Mentorship program, ask yourself some key questions: What are your skills? Do they align with the project’s requirements? Is the community supportive? Having a foundation in at least 50% of the required skills is crucial, as the rest can be learned while contributing to the project. Assess your readiness and choose a project that matches your abilities and offers room for growth.
After wrapping up GSoC’22 and GSoD’22, I was pretty sure about my next move. As an intermediate frontend developer with strong UI/UX skills, I began searching for projects in the LFX Spring Term that involved redesigning or building websites from scratch. During my search, I came across the CNCF: ORAS Project, which seemed to be the perfect fit for my skills. ORAS is the de facto tool for working with OCI Artifacts.
Working on the Project
Once I made up my mind about which project to work on, I immediately started exploring the project’s repository and started engaging with the mentors. I was fortunate to have Feynman Zhou as my mentor for this project, and I couldn’t have asked for a better guide. From the application period until the end of my term, Feynman supported me every step of the way.
As I mentioned earlier, many students make the mistake of solely submitting a resume and cover letter. To distinguish myself as a strong candidate, I took an extra step. I began creating a rough design for the website using Figma. Although it wasn’t a required task, it served as a motivation for me to enhance my design skills and demonstrate my abilities to the best of my capacity.
Feynman greatly appreciated the efforts I put into contributing to the project and creating the design.
Having learned from my previous rejection from the LFX Mentorship program, I understood that the waiting period was an opportunity for active participation. I discussed my situation with Feynman and decided to focus on improving my design skills and working on other project pages. By taking this proactive approach, I not only grew as a contributor but also demonstrated my dedication to the community. As a result, I got selected as a mentee for the ORAS Project!
About the Project
The focus of my project was the development of a new website for the ORAS Project. Unlike the old website built with MKDocs, the new website featured a completely redesigned interface using Docusaurus. The primary objective was to provide a user-friendly platform for both new and existing contributors, facilitating their understanding of ORAS CLI and the supportive community. By simplifying the developer experience, the new website aimed to encourage more engagement and participation within the project.
Because my project involved creating a website from scratch, I immediately dove into refining the Figma design based on my mentor’s suggestions. After a week of designing, I began developing the project using Docusaurus.
Since the old website was built on Mkdocs, I couldn’t directly work on it. Instead, I created a new project in my own account and started building a proof of concept. Once I had a basic layout in place, it was time to make the site live!
To merge my changes into the main repository, I submitted a pull request. After making several more updates and improvements, the official new ORAS Website was launched on April 26th. It was a rewarding moment to see all my hard work come together and share the updated website with the community.
To make things even better, my mentor shared my project on Twitter! It was thrilling to see my work getting recognition and reaching a wider audience.
During the next few months, I continued working on the website by adding new features, improving designs, and fixing any issues that arose. Throughout my mentorship, I made a total of 13 pull requests. Out of these, 11 of them were successfully merged into the project, while 2 were still under review.
Seeing my active progress, my mentor suggested that I become a maintainer of the ORAS Website project. The community voted for my nomination to become a sub-project owner. This opportunity allowed me to take on a more significant role and continue contributing to the project’s development and success.
Well, the journey doesn’t end here…
Becoming a Mentor
As the website was entirely new, my mentor proposed an exciting idea: creating an ORAS Artifact Explorer portal. Additionally, the documentation structure required a revamp. To tackle both these projects, I had the privilege of becoming the mentor for the LFX Summer Term! It was an incredible opportunity for me to continue contributing to the growth of the project.
The opportunity to work on the ORAS Project, from designing and developing the website to becoming an active maintainer, has allowed me to showcase my skills, contribute to a meaningful open-source project, and expand my knowledge in the field.
Through my journey, I have realized the importance of self-assessment, perseverance, and the value of a supportive community. To anyone considering applying for the LFX Mentorship program, my advice is simple: engage with the community, reach out to mentors early on, and demonstrate your skills by taking initiative. Instead of relying solely on being guided every step of the way, showcase your abilities by being proactive and self-motivated.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, seek guidance, and share your ideas. Remember, the program is not just about being mentored but also about actively contributing to the project and making a difference.
Thank you for reading and all the best! 😄