I am back with some more interesting stories of my journey with the Linux kernel and open source. I have like dozen drafts saved in my google doc for the blog posts but none of them find their place to be published here for one or other reason.
Actually since I have relocated to the Bangalore, I am busy with the work on weekdays and in attending/speaking at events on weekends. It’s almost 6 months since I joined Oracle as a Linux kernel engineer and the journey so far has been fantastic. But I am not going to write about that in this blog [may be some other day!]. This time, I would like to share about my experience at speaking local/national events/conferences. So far, here is a list where I spoke at in last 5 months.
1. Took a session on ‘Contributing to Linux kernel’ at first Bangalore kernel meetup [slides, blog]
2. Conducted a workshop on ‘Contributing to Linux kernel‘ and took a session on ‘Getting started with contributing to open source‘ with Tapasweni Pathak at NIT, Calicut in FOSSMeet, 2016 [slides]
3. Took a session on ‘Getting started with contributing to open source’ at NIE, Mysore [slides]
With this I also had some casual webinars with some university students whenever it was not possible for me to present a talk in person. After all of this, I thought it’s good to write answers of 2 W’s. Why and What! So, let me write an answer of them.
1. Why I decided to speak at events/conferences?
– To get out of my comfort zone :
Yes, I thought to start speaking at conferences because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. During my early college days, I was someone who could’t even raise a hand during lectures to ask the questions because I was used to think that I am supposed to know all of the answers. I think this feeling is common with many people. But Open source and Outreachy taught me that no question is a silly question and it’s good to speak up when you have valid points. Although that was all limited to mailing lists or IRC discussions. So, my primary motive was to to kill my fear of public speaking.
– To share and improve my knowledge:
I think it’s a false assumption that when you are speaking at the event, you are just sharing your knowledge. Actually it’s more about improving your knowledge than sharing it. When you decide to give a public talk, you need to be ready for each and every question that can come in to mind of audience while attending your session. And sometimes you need to be prepare for out of context questions as well [Someone asked me about Iphone and Nexus 6P at one of my talk :D]. Actually this improves your knowledge about things and how you look at things. Also, the talks I have given till now had more percentage of students [2 university talks]. And they had lots of questions about which I didn’t even give a thought before that. So, this actually helped me to become more accurate about things and information while talking about them or including them in my talks.
– To be more socially active:
I am an introvert and I found it difficult to start conversation with strangers [I still do]. But I realized that speaking at public events/conferences can help to become more socially active. Because you are the one from whom people are expecting the answers of their questions and wants to discuss about your talk or things in general. On top of that, best part is you don’t need to worry about saying ‘Hi’ first. 🙂
– Giving back to the community:
During my open source journey, people have helped me a lot in many ways. And by giving public talks I wanted to give my few cents to an amazing open source community. And I am counting this as a success at some point because we have got contributions from the students/individuals in the Linux kernel after that.
2. What I learnt from speaking at these events/ conferences?
– It’s ok to be nervous:
Yes, it is pretty natural to be nervous but the important part is how you are going to handle that nervousness. One of the thought which helps me in handling this is ‘I have something to say and I am there because I want people to hear that’. And you know what, this actually helps me in communicating my ideas to the audience very clearly with the confidence.
– Became more confident by travelling alone:
I did my schooling and graduation from my hometown only. So, travelling alone never happened to me before relocating to Bangalore. But I was always sure that I can handle the things by my own [although my parents were not :D]. So, actually after this my parents have become more confident about myself than me.
– Learnt to talk with strangers
Either it’s about talking with the co-passengers or organizers of the events or attendees, I learnt how to talk with strangers. And that actually led me to some interesting conversations. For example, at NIE I was free after the talk, so I went to roam around the city with some girl students. And we actually had some nice discussions about how they can encourage more girls to participate in coding and which kind of sessions they can conduct at their universities. I got to know about different perspectives of the girls at university level.
So, yes the important thing I realized after speaking at these events is ‘It’s my glass of juice’ and if I can do this then anyone can I guess. Now I am hoping to speak at some international conferences in upcoming months [I was previously invited at LinuxCon Europe, 2015 and Devconf cz, 2016 but couldn’t make it due to some reasons.]. I am also open for giving talks at Indian universities as well. Because I believe students are the future developers and there are universities where students does not even have any idea about open source and how open source projects works. I have also seen cases where students have never used Linux during their 4 years of undergraduation [yes, not even once]. And I am hoping to change this scenario in India.
Finally, thanks to Outreachy and organizers for sponsoring the trips. And with this, I am signing off for now. Ping me if you have any questions about my slides or talks or open source/Linux kernel.
Thanks for passing by.
P.S. The only reason behind the title of this blog post is, I don’t like tea/coffee. 😀