ROSE Blog Interviews: GSoC participant Kanika Vats
ROSE Blog: Rikki's Open Source Exchange
The 2009 Google Summer of Code recently wrapped up. In this interview, GSoC participant Kanika Vats shares her first experience in the world of open source.
Q: Who are you?
A: I am Kanika Vats and I was selected for the Database Abstractions project by Systers as part of this year's Google Summer of Code. I am doing B-Tech in Information Technology (IT) from Delhi College of Engineering, India.
Q: What do you currently do in open source? What do you love about it?
A: This year's GSoC was my first contribution to the open source world and I will like to continue my contributions to open source whenever I get the opportunity. The best thing about open source is the huge opportunity it provides to everyone who wants to explore their career in the technical world and develop in their field of interest. The way people from different streams come together, exploit their talents, cooperate, coordinate, focus their collective efforts towards a common goal that will help many more people in the end is the best part about open source.
Q: You're speaking to a group of women from other fields who are considering switching careers. Why should they consider moving into an open source-related career? What should they know about the open source environment to prepare them for the transition from a different field?
A: From what I can see, women can consider moving into an open source-related career as it will provide them:
- Opportunity to work from their home place. This means you can organize your time yourself and spend quality time with your family.
- Excellent community support that will help you to develop in things that you lag behind in.
- You can contribute in any field of your interest wherever you feel comfortable.
- Recognition and respect. People here acknowledge you for your work – your work speaks for you.
I will say the best thing about open source is that you can start from anywhere on anything; you do not need to have a prior experience or expert knowledge. But open source experience can be better for beginners if they know a few basic things, such as how things work in the open source world, how people from different regions and technical backgrounds work together on a project, and basic rules of IRC, mailing lists, version control, etc.
They should be aware of the fact that everyone here is taking out time from their busy life, you cannot expect them to spoon feed you in issues that you are not able to resolve. Some people can be very helpful, some not. All people here are always ready to show you the path, but you need to put some efforts from your side too.
Q: You're speaking to a group of high school students (male and female). Why should they consider exploring career options in open source?
A: High school students need to get an insider view of how work is done in a professional environment, how organizations work. The Open source world provides you a platform where you can get that "insider view," as well as a place where you can explore career options in whatever field you love. If it's open source, then the reasons I can see are amazing community support, awesome people, real-world work experience, and above all, the ability to work full time on whatever you love to work on. Every person will be there to help you, you just need to dive in and devote your skills and time.
Q: What question(s) do you wish I'd asked? And how would you answer it?
A: How was your first experience in the open source world? It was a great experience, loved the work, Interaction with my mentor and members of Systers. Every bit of it was so nice – the support, the hard work, and best of all lots of things learned in the end. This was the first time I contributed to this open source world, and GSoC and Systers really managed to make me love my work and understand how everything works in open source. People here are very helpful and great in nature.
If you are a woman in open source, I'd love it if you'd take a moment to answer these interview questions and send your responses to me at rkite AT linuxpromagazine DOT com. (Otherwise, I'll try to track you down at an event or online!) If you'd like me to interview a particular woman in open source, drop me a line and let me know who she is and where to find her.
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