2020 Summer Mentorship Program: The Mentors’ Take

The 2020 Summer Mentorship Program is drawing to an end as the last of our part-time mentees are finishing their final reports. You can read these reports and hear straight from the mentees about the work they’ve done, the lessons they’ve learned and their plans for future involvement in the open source community here.

We applaud the accomplishments and contributions of our mentees. However, their projects are all done in partnership with a committed group of mentors who dedicate a large amount of time and effort to the program. Mentors develop the project concepts and then work one-on-one with their mentees to make sure they achieve their development goals. Along the way, the mentors provide hands-on training on everything from key tools to community engagement to final presentation skills. They are shaping a new generation of developers and advancing projects that are central to the community. 

Since mentor engagement and involvement are critical to the success of these programs, we’ve asked some of our mentors to share what is important, rewarding and challenging about their work with mentees.

1)  What motivated you to sign on as a mentor in the Hyperledger Mentorship program?

Oracle’s Baohua Yang, mentor for Operate and govern blockchain networks in decentralized way: “The Hyperledger mentorship project is a great bridge between open source community and university students that lets them learn open source culture, technology and projects with help from community developers.”

University of Saskatchenwan’s Sara Rouhani, mentor for Towards Blockchain Interoperability with Hyperledger: “Last year, I was collaborating with Hyperledger’s summer project as a mentee. My excellent experience as a mentee and working with a dynamic team last year was the main reason that motivated me to sign as a mentor this year. Besides that, as a previous mentee, I felt my development experience would help drive the project faster and reach higher goals.”

2) What was the highlight of your mentorship project(s) this year?

Hyperledger’s Dave Huseby, mentor for four projects this year: “The biggest highlight for me this year was the response we have been getting from the proposed technical design for adding universal cryptographic signing to Git. My mentee on that project, Jimit, worked very hard at understanding the problem and potential solutions well enough that his proposal was well received by stakeholders across many large tech companies.

Wipro’s Vinod Panicker, mentor for Secure DID Registry on Github/Gitlab for Hyperledger Frameworks: “Seeding DRman as an open source project and boot strapping a Hyperledger community around it.”

3) What was the most significant growth or learning for your mentee from your perspective?

Baohua: “Learning how to handle a very complicated task. How to define a reasonable plan and finish it step by step.”

Tuxera’s Anoop Vijayan, mentor for Ease endorsement operations for Hyperledger-based products (EasyDoser) and  A fully distributed citizens pulse platform for state/city councils – with Hyperledger Fabric: “The chance to be part of the full software development lifecycle right from requirements to delivery.”

4) What lesson(s) have you learned from your mentee(s) or from being a mentor?

Dave: “I always forget how much I have learned over my career in open source development and my mentees are always good at pointing out that I’m making lots of assumptions about their knowledge. Open source development is a very strange and different environment that few people have deep experience with. I enjoy being reminded I need to always be willing to start from basic first principles when mentoring a new open source developer.”

Vinod: “I realized it is possible to explain complex technology to someone who is just getting started.  All it really takes is a little bit of passion and the right opportunity.”

Anoop: “The mentees are more capable than I thought, though they are students. So next time, I will have to widen the scope of the project.”

5) What have you found rewarding about being a mentor in this program?

Sara: “It helped me to develop my leadership skills and prepare me for the next chapter in my career as a Ph.D. student. The lessons that I suggested to our mentee was like a reminder to myself as well. Besides, most of the weekly meetings were like a development course for me as well. Many challenging questions were raised during those meetings, so I had to get back and study.”

Vinod: “It was a wonderful experience, and I believe this is a novel way of giving back to the open source community from which I have gained a lot personally.”

Mentorship plays a vital role in bringing new talent and diversity into the open source community. Hyperledger’s program is part of a larger, ongoing commitment to mentorship within the Linux Foundation.