GSoC at Systers (Part 3 of 3)

Fon Noel Nfebe 2018-05-19 Technology

Babye community bonding! it’s Part 3 of my GSoC at Systers series. Please if you just landed here, it will do you good to read Part 1 and Part 2 before heading back (don’t worry there are pointer links from part 1 to 3). So after 3 weeks of community bonding from April 23rd 2018 till May 14th 2018 we have had a wrap up and are now moving into a new phase. The coding phase! Before I start the next series of write ups (which will almost be like change-logs) on the coding phase in the next weeks, permit me talk about all what was programmed for the series. I promised to share my GSoC Interview experience and give details about the selected project but before then it’s nice to share with you the overview of the entire community bonding.

Community Bonding Overview

So what went on for all 3 weeks? Well, the period name (Community Bonding) is self-explanatory. I was bonding LOL! In a very large community, I got to know more and more people, established connections with other students, mentors, admins and community members! The organizations’ ideas of GSoC Happy Hours (an online “party” in which we carry out social interactions and as the name sounds everyone is happy in it) and Student-Mentor One-on-One meetings among other things including Team Building sessions are some of the core activities that we carried out every one week! Which to me promotes a very strong bonding culture. The period also is not just an opportunity to know people but a time for students to know better what (tools, standards, procedures, processes ...) they would be working with! So I (and other students) spent a lot of time fiddling with GitHub issues, ideas, small fixes, updates, code environments and more. 

GSoC Interview Experience

Like I mentioned in Part 2, some organizations run interviews for GSoC and Systers is one of them! How was it? I must say, I was not aware I had to take up GSoC interviews in the first place! I had been in the community for 3 days and had gotten a review on my first proposal before I noticed a student who joined earlier telling a new student to schedule his GSoC interview! With a little surprised and quietness, I went ahead to schedule one.

Even though the name is clear GSoC Interview I never thought it will be anything serious! I thought it will be like a “let's get to know each other” session or something. But No!! It’s almost like a Job interview. Serious question where asked and it took me unaware! Interviews where organized in groups meaning multiple students were interviewed simultaneously, during my session the first question was not thrown at me but it was a serious question. I then realized it’s not a whats-your-name session, heck! This is serious! I heard vigorous keyboard hits (fast typing) in the background sounded much like some of us were looking for impressive answers on google.

Even so, I figured if you don’t know what you are talking about a quick search would hardly help in an interview where oral details and exquisiteness was clearly required. Hearing the fast keyboard hits whenever one of was asked a question was a little awkward and funny. By the way, I figured out they admins really need to get our own understanding of these topics asked and unique answers mattered. Secondly, I noticed the questions each student was asked was related to the project applied for. It was easy for me to know as I was asked two sets of questions (since I wrote two proposal covering different issues) and other students were not asked one-set or the other of the questions.

The questions I was asked included this main ones :

  1. Differentiate between a SOAP and a RESTFUL API (clearly pertained to my first proposal)
  2. Apart from code coverage what other software Testing Metrics do you know of? (again it clearly pertained to my second proposal, lucky to have submitted on time so admins were aware to add a question for it in my question set)

It's worth noting that the questions were asked alongside other “community questions”. Not sure there’s some else about the interviews I want to mention nevertheless it was fun, an eye-opener and a great learning opportunity an experience I would have carried with me even if I was not selected.

Project Specifics

Like I mentioned in the last post the project I am working on this summer is categorized under Infrastructure Automation Python. So what exactly is this Infrastructure Automation Python? Every software artifact has an infrastructure that is ideally designed/picked out (or not designed) by the engineers who worked on it, whether we choose to carefully design our infrastructures for our projects or not, at the end of the day it will still assume some infrastructure. This infrastructure determines how tradition DevOps will be carried out. My project is about working on the infrastructure of systers/portal to improve continues automated testing procedures and introduce continues deployment which is jointly known as continues Continues Integration (CI). For the rest of the GSoC period, everything I do will basically be geared towards automation (right down to very small tasks), testing and deployment. I would do this exploration using in Django/Python with a “workbox” containing (pytest, unittest, selenium etc). Sorry for boring you with some tip of the iceberg details just yet, the next articles will cover all the technically details sought. See you!

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