During our chat at the Udaipur sprint, Vishal, one of the C4GT interns, shared an insightful perspective: “Most of the good things come unexpectedly…” This statement deeply resonated with me as I reflected on my remarkable experience with Glific and the C4GT program. Let me introduce myself – I’m Darshan Jain, a Computer Science student from Sardar Patel Institute of Technology, Mumbai.
How I met Glific?
It all began with an email from Unstop about the C4GT program, an open-source initiative where DPG organizations list their problem statements and open-source enthusiasts contribute solutions. As a tech enthusiast, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to dive into the open-source community. Among the many projects, Glific, a platform that empowers NGOs to build WhatsApp chatbots, captured my attention. There was a catch—I had no prior experience with Elixir, the programming language used for Glific’s backend. Despite the initial dilemma, my curiosity and eagerness led me to set up the project and join their Discord server.
The Journey Begins:
My introduction to Elixir shattered the notion that it was just another programming language. It opened doors to a new world of possibilities and challenged me to embrace the functional programming paradigm. The daily standups conducted by Lobo at 10 pm IST played a crucial role in our learning journey. We solved exercises on platforms like Exercism, shared knowledge with one another, and gradually got comfortable with the language. The patience and guidance of my mentors during this phase were invaluable, helping me overcome initial doubts and dive deeper into Elixir’s unique features.
Submitting the Proposal and the Interview Day:
After weeks of standups and honing our skills through exercises, it was time to submit a proposal for the project I wanted to contribute to. With thorough research and mentor communication, I crafted a well-rounded proposal that aligned with my interests. The interview day arrived, and despite a flutter of nerves, my interview experience was good because Akhilesh streamlined the interview really well. Later that evening, the results were announced, and to my sheer delight, I found my name on the list. Although I hadn’t made it to the C4GT program itself, the team offered me an internship with the same benefits and mentorship, filling me with excitement and motivation to embark on my open-source contribution journey.
The Initial Steps:
As I began my internship, I initially focused on tackling good first issues to familiarize myself with the codebase and build a solid foundation for my work. Akhilesh, my mentor, played a crucial role in guiding me at every step while also allowing me room to learn and explore independently. Some of the issues I worked on involved enhancing the search capabilities, such as adding tags to flows and templates. These tasks not only improved my understanding of the project but also instilled confidence in my abilities.
The Sprint Experience:
Since my last end-semester exam was on 10th July, I joined the sprint on 11th July, eager to meet the faces I had only seen virtually until then. The sprint proved to be an enriching experience, filled with opportunities to learn, collaborate, and connect with passionate individuals. One of the highlights was our field trip to the Aajeevika Bureau, where I gained invaluable insights into the inner workings of NGOs, the services they offer, and the challenges they face. I got amazed by the impact they are making among the labours community all over India. Discussions with NGOs and this exposure to real-world scenarios deepened my understanding of the impact Glific could make. Additionally, during the sprint, we celebrated the launches of the Glific Mobile app and DDP. I would consider myself fortunate to be able to interact with such experienced people in their domain and learn from them. From morning walks to DJ nights and dinner talks, the entire experience was brimming with unforgettable memories and connections. We had the opportunity to explore the stunning Monsoon Palace located near our hotel. It was the perfect way to spend our last day, as we enjoyed our time there and created lasting memories.
During a casual conversation with other C4GT interns about our experiences, college life, and coding; “Most of the good things come unexpectedly…” said Vishal. Those words struck a chord within me, as I reflected on my journey with Glific and the C4GT program. Just a month earlier, I had no clue that I would be working on such a meaningful open-source project, collaborating with exceptional mentors and talented individuals, and forming deep friendships with fellow C4GT interns. Truly, the best things in life often arrive when we least anticipate them.
As my journey continues, I am committed to improving my skills in Elixir every day. I am eager to make meaningful contributions to the Glific project and contribute to its ongoing impact on the NGO community. Currently, Aashi and I are working on designing and implementing a payments solution for Tech4Dev. Through extensive research and the guidance of Sanjeev, we have identified Chargebee as the ideal solution, ensuring a loosely coupled system with various payment gateways to ensure adaptability with changing government policies. We are exploring the possibility of building an abstraction layer over Chargebee to facilitate easy onboarding of new projects from Tech4Dev, but further research is still underway.
My journey with Glific and the C4GT program has been an extraordinary adventure, one that has expanded my horizons and transformed my perspective. From delving into the intricacies of Elixir to collaborating with passionate individuals during the sprint, every step has been filled with unexpected discoveries and growth. As I continue on this path, I eagerly anticipate the future and the opportunities it holds. Remember, sometimes the most remarkable journeys are the ones that unfold when we least expect them.