Experiences applying to Outreachy
Everything started few months ago, when I faced a full-time internship announcement supporting underestimated people in the technology world. I went through the description. Wow, it is what I have been looking for. A place that I can get experienced, learn new skills, and develop my CV. I have to say, after several years, Outreachy is one of the unique environments far from any discrimination and stereotyping. Yes, here you can see pure equity and equity. If you think of yourself being underestimated, Outreacy is what you should consider.
Anyway, I set a notification in my calendar to remind me about application commence. I have to say, Outreachy informed me about it earlier than my calendar, as you can ask them to send you a reminder email as soon as the application period starts. The first application had several general questions, more about why you think you have faced discrimination and you are supposed to touch some personal stories. I applied, but I was not that optimistic about the result, not positive about what would happen, just knew my application will be rejected, like most job applications.
I was counting down the days, what will be the result? will they give me a chance? will this be a start for me? Again, negative thoughts were extremely annoying. BANG! I got an email; I am among the candidates for the contribution period. I contacted my fried, as she was concerned about the result more than me, as she was asking me everyday about the result. I told yeah, I passed the first stage, it is a start, I will rock it.
So, I went through offered projects to see which ones match my background and interest most. I took couple of projects, but really committed to one, Oppia. I actually invested a lot of my time, and used my knowledge, even met some experts, and read a lot to have a stunning proposal. My mentor was also extremely supportive and available to comment on the proposal to improve it and mentoring me to have an acceptable level proposal. For sure she has supported all the candidates.
I was rather positive about being among the finalists. As you have guessed from my topic, it is not surprising to say that I was selected as an intern. This is not very likely to be selected, as there are many applicants. However, it seems hard work, works! I cannot describe and express my feeling that how excited I was after getting the positive response.
So far so good, I started strongly, even putting efforts over weekends. I am so lucky to work with people that are very kind-hearted, supportive, and knowledgeable. I am sure working in a company with an open source website like Oppia is a massive opportunity, to apply all my accumulated knowledge, and learn about untouched areas. Stay tuned for the second part of my path in Outreachy. It is a start!
This week, I am supposed to post about the challenges that I am dealing with and how I am managing to move on. In the course of this project, I have not been facing a major challenge that handcuffs me. However, there have been several minor ones that I have tried to manage or I am currently managing them.
First, as I am doing the project over the time, it happens that I fall behind the project proposal. Sometimes it is due to some changes to the plans, OR changing the priorities. Sometimes, it is about my learning flow, which might be slow.
Second, although working remotely with the team is so exiting, that is still challenging and there are many lesson learned for me. I am working with people from East Asia and North America. My timezone is between them, so I am having meetings both early in the morning and late at night. In such a case, it happens a lot that a person is not be able to join a meeting and cancels it last minute. So, coordinating all issues to progress gets sometimes a bit slow. However, this is the beauty of working remotely.
All in all, I think these are massive valuable experiences for me to learn more about working with people from faraway places. As the technology like Microsoft Hologram is becoming more available, in a close future remote jobs will be more and more seen.
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Think About Your Audience
when applying to the raising awareness about Oppia, the boundaries of the project was quite vague to me. I had ideas regarding what is awareness as a marketing approach, however, thinking about what I have to propose was not something straightforward. So, I started to brainstorm about the project. I did minor online research, and just wrote my ideas on sticky notes. The ideas were rather broad and I was not sure if they were relevant. This approach helped me to think about the project more systematically.
However, when starting the project, I found it relatively wide, and I had skills and knowledge for some approaches but not all. However, it made the journey more wonderful. I was supposed to spend a bit more time, meaning besides working, I needed to spend time to learn, some time to confer and consult with experts. Hence, over time, this process got easier and smoother.
What I wanna say is, learning is very sweet. Whatever it takes, it is worth to to learn. And, there is nothing that you can not learn, just the commitment changes. So, do not be afraid of a difficult and rather blur projects. Over time, you can learn it, and tackle it, even better than those who have experiences. Why? because you are a newcomer and far from any bias or tendency towards a single method. You try new thoughts and have an eye for details.
The goals of the project have been highly changed. That is due to the boundaries of the project have been changed. Marketing is not an area like programming with more specific tasks and methods. Marketing is highly creative area, you need to think outside the box, the methods are getting updated and changed continuously. There are tens of tools out there, some of them are premium, the resources in projects are not fully available, so I needed to find a workaround.
But, by spending time, I have been able to find the solution. I think currently the goals of the project are very transparent. It is interesting to know that marketing is not a short-term task with quick results. You absolutely need to research, experiment, plan, then execute, and continue this loop for even a half-year to get the result. I think in few month, we will see a very concrete growth in Oppia.
Getting help from my networks has helped me a lot. Now, I know what is the execution path for this project. I am currently at the planning stage, and I will finish my project earlier than the project time frame. In that sense, I will have a chance to start the execution of the project. I have a very clear picture about this project, but, while I am documenting any acquired knowledge, I still think I will continue working with Oppia for after internship. Since, I have a structured picture of the implementation, so, it might be easier to transfer this knowledge to other staff and contributors in action.