Outreachy Internship blog: It’s a Wrap

Hello! This blog is part of the series of blogs I am writing during my Outreachy 2020 summer internship with Intermine Boot project in the Intermine Organization.

This is the last week of the Outreachy Internship. From filling up the initial application form just based on the gut feeling even though I thought I lacked technical skills to apply for an internship, picking up intermine org to getting selected, the memories seem a bit fuzzy.

If someone would have asked me before applying to Outreachy whether I’d be able to get selected and successfully complete the internship, my answer would probably have been a no.

In a mere span of a few months, I feel like I have come quite a long way in terms of my confidence, approach to new problems and skills. I’ll reflect on three parts in this blog – my before and after thoughts of the internship, how Outreachy helped me grow and progress of my project.

Apart from my little stint at Hacktoberfest 2019, I did not have any quotable experience working with OpenSource. I feel lucky to land in such an encouraging org. I have had trouble thinking about communicating during the project as I have mostly just communicated in my mother tongue so understanding different accents or fear of mis-pronouncing words, mis-form sentences are there. But I never saw any judgement from anyone based on how correct my communication skills were. The only important thing is to express yourself. This really helped my self confidence. Before applying to Outreachy, I thought it is for people who have good open source experience and skill set, who have worked on reasonably big projects and are able to carry on the project completely independently. Now, I would say Outreachy is for anyone having basic skills and trying to learn new things. The collaborative environment of open source would surprise you.

I think Outreachy has helped me grow in a multitude of ways. It has definitely boosted my self confidence. It taught me working in collaborative projects and how it is ok to ask for help when stuck and not feel bad about it. Amongst technical skills, I have learnt about docker, docker-py, github actions, picked up more info about bash, python along the way.

The concept of having a mentor (actually two mentors!) is great. I have a background in research where most of the time I am all on my own to move the project forward (codewise) if stuck. Discussions with the advisor are mainly on the theoretical and experiment part. I am very grateful for my mentors being patient and guiding me during the internship.

I have definitely deviated from my initial project proposal. Some old tasks were removed paving the way for picking new tasks along the way. I think majorly the task of setting up wizard and configuration was not touched because they are not ready to be integrated. The task of running any mine (and not just mines based on biotestmine) would still require a bit of tussle. So there are definitely many open tasks requiring contribution.

I have got a taste of open source from Outreachy and hope to carry it forward. 

All good things come to an end eventually, but the next experience awaits


Published by

Pooja Gaur

Research Scholar at IIIT Hyderabad