If you're related to the tech industry, you've probably heard about the talk of the town, the MLH Fellowship. Even if you haven't, this article contains everything that you might wanna know about the program. After all, who wants to be that one person in a group who doesn't get a reference and smiles when their friends talk about cool things. So without any further ado, let's get started.
This is my first blog post ever. Yes, you heard it right, let's see how this goes. This blog serves various purposes depending on what you expect out of it.
- If you're thinking about applying to MLH fellowship, this blog would provide a detailed insight into the whole program including the selection process.
- If you're interested to learn about my fellowship experience and how it made a difference for me, I've got you covered.
- If you were a part of MLH Fellowship, it's a journey back in time and my side of the story.
- For others, I'd encourage you to read this article and let me know what you made out of it.
MLH Fellowship is an internship alternative by Major League Hacking where students contribute to open source projects that are used by millions of developers worldwide. The program came into existence to support the students who lost their internships due to the Covid-19 pandemic and created an impact on the whole industry. It was such a huge success that MLH has announced the next 3 iterations of the program.
MLH fellowship was announced on 4th May 2020, the day Google Summer of Code's results were published(coincidence🤔?). I applied to the program by filling up the application the very next day. A few days later I received a mail for the screening round (non-tech). The interview began with an introduction and the interviewer verified some of the details that I filled in my application form. I remember the interviewer asking about the college Data Science Club that I am a part of(that I've mentioned in my LinkedIn profile) and also about the internship that I lost due to COVID.
Tip: Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date.
I cleared the screening round and received an invitation for the technical round. I booked a slot for the next week. The technical round was different from any other technical interview(the scary whiteboards). The applicants had to submit a personal project a few days before the technical round and the interview is based on the project that they submit(can you believe that?). The interviewer asked me to walk him through my code and explain some parts of the code. The technical questions were based on the code I wrote. I submitted a MERN project and I remember a few interview questions:
- Explain the role of
- What are functions like
I wasn't able to answer a few questions but the interviewer was supportive and explained the answers to me.
To my surprise, I got selected and that too on my birthday🎂! It was the best gift🎁 I could expect in the lockdown. Thanks, MLH!
During a normal week in MLH fellowship, every day starts with a daily standup, a 30-minute zoom call with all fellows of the pod, and an amazing mentor (my OP mentor was Jani Eväkallio). Before the meeting starts, everyone posts their standup notes on GitHub. In the meeting, we discuss what we did yesterday, what we would do today, the blockers and the shoutouts.
After the daily standup meeting, the day involved all sorts of activities. One thing I liked, in particular, was flexible work hours. There is no constraint to when a fellow must work on the project. I enjoy the evening pair programming sessions with my project teammate(Aniket Kumar). Throughout the day, there are optional MLH events and workshops scheduled which are so interesting that I stay up till 3 am🤓 to attend some of them. And yes, the time zone is a problem because the fellowship is a global program spanning a lot of different timezones.
Weekly events include:
- a Show & Tell where fellows get a chance to demo something interesting to the whole pod (generally technical but not always).
- a Pod Retrospective - Retros were the most valuable times in the fellowship as we used to reflect on our traffic lights for the week i.e., what went wrong, what can be improved, and what we did well.
- a Weekly Check-In with the project maintainer where we discussed the progress of the project and the blockers with the maintainer from Facebook.
- a Round Table Conference - I can only wish we had more of these. In a typical round table conference, we would have an open discussion with our mentor on a predecided topic (mostly non-technical).
How was my experience?
I had one of the most memorable times of my life during the MLH fellowship. I believe that this fellowship is what kept me sane and cheerful throughout the lockdown period.
Ayush Jain@ayushjn_What's the worse you can do to your PC?
- 10+ chrome tabs (some with camera and mic on).
- Discord audio call with screen share.
- VSCode live collaboration session.
- Webpack bundling the packages and running server and client both.
- Heavy ML models running through an API.22:59 PM - 16 Jul 2020
What did I learn?
What sets MLH fellowship apart from any other experience is that the learning wasn't limited to the technical knowledge. The emphasis on soft skills especially communication(not just speaking a language) is what I value the most. I learned so much that I cannot describe all of my learnings during the fellowship in one blog. To summarize, I learned lots of new technologies (React Native, GraphQL, docker), how the tech industry works, how to efficiently communicate your needs to others(especially during remote work), and some really important life lessons.
"The end is the beginning."
— Jani Eväkallio
Always reminds me of the quote from Netflix's Dark. For me, MLH fellowship was a new beginning which I never wanted to end but as they say, all good things must come to an end and so here we are. I loved working on my project, made some brilliant friends, learned from THE best mentor, and left with a lot of memories as a better human being and a step closer towards my goal.
Thanks for bearing with me. I won't keep you up anymore, so in the name of the MLH tradition, let's clap this out 👏.