The “Contributor’s Story” series is intended to provide a face and voice to our major open source contributors and community members, an overview of the projects they are working on, and the successes and challenges contributors face when developing.
In this blog post, we will be talking to Grace, a VISSL contributor working on event storage mechanisms through the Major League Hacking (MLH) Fellowship.
“I am a lifelong learner and… think this fellowship will help me fulfill my dream of getting back into the software industry.”
I graduated from the Computer Science Master's degree program at Middle Tennessee State University last August. I heard about MLH through a friend.
I heard about open source many years ago when I attended a conference organized by the Free Software & Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) back in Nigeria.
I am working on a computer vision project called VISSL. VISSL is an acronym for Vision Self Supervised Learning and is built with PyTorch. VISSL aims to accelerate the research cycle in self-supervised learning.
I started by taking a look at the “easy” issues first. Some of them in the repository are marked by “beginner” or “bootcamp”. Working with the project maintainer through the MLH Fellowship, we were able to identify which tasks were good baby steps before diving into more code. He did a great job of assigning those to my teammate and me in the first few weeks of working on the project. In doing so, it was a lot easier for us navigating the project and understanding the project architecture.
Open Source is cool. In this Fellowship experience specifically, I liked learning about pre-commit hooks. In open source in general, since there are usually many contributors, it makes sense to provide an automated check on code formatting and ensuring some best practices.
Prior to the fellowship, I thought I knew enough Git but it was actually a roadblock for me to get onboarded to the specificities within VISSL. There were a lot of new commands I got to experiment with and use while working on this open source project. I also learned some best practices through the project maintainer's feedback like learning how to separate concerns in multiple PRs.
I want future contributors to know that no two projects will be the same. When assigned to a new project, things may look very daunting but with the support of other open source contributors and community members, you will find the aha moment when everything will make sense to you. Asking the right questions is also important. Additionally, try to engage with the community and find the maintainers, a potential teammate, or a mentor to get started quickly.
We’d like to thank Grace for their continuous contributions to the Facebook Open Source ecosystem. You can follow Grace’s work through LinkedIn.