~ 5 min read
Open Source activism with ReadyCodePush
On April 5th 2022, I wrapped up the very first open source activism program in which I set out to promote hands-on practical education for open source software among inexperienced and underrepresented groups. Here is how the universe helped me manifest an idea about open source into real-world impact.
Going into 2022, I wanted this year to be more about driving meaningful impact for open source software. It seemed unthinkable to me that Computer Science students or developers already incorporated into the industry don’t have a GitHub account, or never took part in collaborating in open source projects. I wanted this to be about collaboration and welcoming participation to developers who hadn’t yet felt the rush of getting their pull requests merge.
I also wanted to spend more of my time with underrepresented groups. Earlier in 2022, I reached out to bootcamps and meetup groups such as SheHacks KE which promotes cybersecurity awareness for women in Kenya and lead a presentation about open source security and secure coding with Node.js. I wanted to do more of this, and with more focus about open source software in general. How do I go about doing that?
The brainstorm begins. One idea was about running some sort of Open Source Day at Universities and plan a schedule where we learn, practice and celebrate open source collaboration. I had started conversations with folks but it didn’t move anywhere. At work, I was also very busy and together with all of the time I’m already investing with communities and open source development, I barely get my 6 hours of sleep anyway. My idea almost faded away… until one day!
The Emergence of ReadyCodePush
One day back in February 2022, I went out to work from a small co-working space in my suburb city, Ashdod. I don’t live in the tech valley of Tel Aviv. Most of the working desks were occupied by students and it was a lovely atmosphere that reminded me of college working groups. Since this was my first time there, I naturally had a conversation with the co-working space owner and he shared with me about his attempts of creating a local community for folks in the city where everyone help each other and also help them succeed in their career journey. This was it. Thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become reality.
I proposed the idea of running a workshop about open source software. He immediately smiled and said
MADNESS! Let’s do it!. That’s all it took. A few days later of that February 2022, I started drawing out the concept for a program that would come to span over 4 weekly classes. I created a syllabus for bringing the students up to date with collaborating on open source software. I had two guiding principles: (1) the program needs to be inclusive, with specific success KPIs for inclusivity around gender and underrepresented groups, and (2) the program needs to be practical and hands-on, and yet not require any prior knowledge of programming. There are also no slides beyond briefly presenting topics.
This program came to be ReadyCodePush 🎉
The first cohort of students were recruited from the co-working space. I was lucky to have a few volunteers who helped me run the program. I was also lucky to have sponsors who helped me with the program. I’m grateful to Snyk for sponsoring the program and providing me with a budget to run the program. I’m also grateful to GitHub for providing me with a GitHub Education Pack for the students, and Hub Ashdod for providing the venue and great pizza for the students 🍕.
A brief overview of ReadyCodePush course curriculum is as follows:
- Class 1 - Open-source software and the GitHub Developer Platform
- Class 2 - Software development on GitHub’s developer platform
- Class 3 - Automate software delivery with GitHub Actions
- Class 4 - Securing open-source software with Snyk
Through-out this program, I saw students creating their first GitHub user, earning their first green contribution square 🟩, creating a GitHub user profile
README, creating their first repository, and forking and opening pull requests. That’s a lot for folks new to open source development. It didn’t end there. We learned and practiced configuring GitHub Actions, creating a Snyk account and seeing vulnerabilities come to life for the first time, as well as fixing them. They were all hooked on open source now. Some of them were even hooked on cybersecurity and keen to explore it as their next career step.
One of the students, Sagi Weizmann, is a full time employee full stack developer, and volunteered to run the DevOps introduction per the curriculum featured in Class 3. What a hero! Sharing his experiences, practicing public speaking, and taking active part in this program. I was proud, impressed and thankful.
Together with Hub Ashdod, the co-working space had provided the venue, brought the empathic humans together, and treated us for great pizza. We launched the program in March 2022, recruiting 34 students who regularly came to the in-person classes on Tuesdays from 6pm to 9pm, and actively participate. We concluded the program in the second week of April, 2022 with the first cohort. IT WAS AMAZING.