Mentorship in Action: Hyperledger 2019 Summer Program Recap – Part 2

When we hear about internships and related projects, we often think of the resulting technical contributions. However, when such a project takes place in the context of an open source and international ecosystem, like Hyperledger, the code artifacts are just part of the journey. Accordingly, in this blog post, I would like to focus on the participants and the community aspects of the Hyperledger Summer Mentorship program.

The first thing I would like to emphasize is that this is not just a summer job for the interns. During the internship, they had a chance to get to know the intricacies of different Hyperledger projects. They also worked closely with mentors who guided them throughout their work. But above all else, they became part of an open source community.

If you consider all these aspects, it is a challenging journey in two months. I think this is where the mentorship program of Hyperledger shows its strength. It gradually eases you into a (seemingly) complex environment. And the main goal is not just to get the job done, but to give the interns a toolset that allows them to stay engaged with their project, even after the internship is over. 

The opportunity for interns to present their work during a Hyperledger event (like the Global Forum) is in line with this goal.

Attila Klenik, Hyperledger Summer Intern Program alum and current mentor

Let me share a bit of personal experience with you. I also participated in a Hyperledger internship project in 2016. I was in the mentee role back then, and I was already looking into some Hyperledger projects that could prove useful for my Ph.D. research. However, open source development was new territory for me, and it was a bit intimidating at first (technical skills aside). 

But then I got to present my project work on the next Hyperledger event. That was my first close-up experience with the Hyperledger community, and it opened up a world of possibilities. I met the maintainers of many projects, we exchanged ideas, and they answered many of my questions. And suddenly the open source Hyperledger ecosystem wasn’t intimidating anymore. 

It is safe to say that this whole experience put me on the track to get more involved with specific projects, and later becoming a maintainer of Hyperledger Caliper. And, as the next step on the road, I had the pleasure to mentor a Caliper-related internship project this year.

Of course, with the new role came new challenges. Although I have mentored students before, the setup was different this time. I expected that working around the 8 hours time zone difference will not be easy. However, the fact that Caliper was under active development during that time was an even more significant challenge. The most important lessons (and skills) I learned as a mentor was the proper compartmentalization and scoping of tasks. These insights also shaped the further development of Caliper, intending to make it more contributor friendly. So mentees are not the only ones who learn new things during the internship.

Hopefully, this blog post gave you some ideas about the vital role the Hyperledger Summer Mentorship program plays in the open source community, as well in the development of projects themselves. However, don’t forget to check out the other side of the coin, the technical project results from the latest participants to complete the program: