Fun Facts about our Google Summer of Code Interns

Now that you know a bit more about our interns professionally and what they’re working on over the summer, let’s take a more a personal look at their lives with some fun facts about each one of them.

When and why did you start coding?

Courage: I started coding in my first year in the university, 2012. At that time we had a club called elite programming club, where I studied C programming daily and with each day I learnt something new. It was amazing to know what I could do just coding.

NamanI started coding at the start of my college. Initially, I was mainly interested in fixing some of the bugs I encountered in CyanogenMod which I was using on my Android device and then slowly started building android apps.

Vladimir: I started coding in 2012 but it was mostly html and css, but really got interested software dev after taking Harvard’s CS50 online. I use to go to the cyber cafe with my mom around 2002, in those days most websites were not very interactive. Then in 2009 I signed up for a Facebook account and surprisingly it was very interactive. So I was curious to find out what made Facebook so interactive and this curiosity pushed me to learn code.

GopalaMy interest in coding particularly began when I was around 13 years old and found a multiplayer online game called ‘Roblox’. Roblox was a platform where the registered players could create their own game from scratch( using a programming language called Lua ) and where other players could play and rate it. I was really amazed by the quality of the games the players used to make considering the fact that many of them were just around ( 12 -15 ) years old. Since then I wanted to pursue programming as a career.

I actually started coding basic C++  when I was in 12th as it was part of our curriculum.

Raunak: I was exposed to playing games like Dave on PC since way back with Windows 98. That did pique my interest in these machines, to be able to achieve so many things through these machines. I actually started coding in 2008/9 making websites and scripts.

Kumaranath: It was in the year 2013,when I took my first software engineering and programming  lessons.I was intrigued to find out what and how we as engineers we would solve problems in real life and make an impact to the world.

Tarun: I started coding in senior secondary school (XI – XII standard). when I had CS as one of my subjects.

DilpreetFirst line of code I wrote was in LOGO where I wrote commands for writing A-Z in logo in 4th grade. Learnt basis of web development in 10th grade and after studying c++ in 11th and 12th grade I fell in love coding when I was introduced to Android Development during 2nd semester of my college.

Mohit: I was very much fascinated with the computers since my early years. I started a little bit of coding when i was in the 10th grade. It was so much exciting to see how u can automate the task from some lines of code. I started Coding because it was fun and all the stuff which can be made excites me a lot 😉

Mayank: I started coding in first year of Bachelor’s degree and  I came to know that Coding skills are required almost in every field irrespective of your Major. That was the time when I started my coding journey.

Thisura: I started coding form my school age. First I started coding with Dos, VisualBasic and then moved on to c#. Lately I learned java somewhere around 2010. I simply enjoy coding. I like to learn new technologies, concepts in computer science and coding is a part of that.

Of all the projects, you could have applied to for Google Summer of Code, why Mifos?

Dilpreet: I wanted to be a part and contribute to an organization which impacts the life of people and Mifos helps small communities or providers by providing them a platform where they can provide better financial services to the poor people thus helping poor people on a global scale due to which I chose Mifos.

Alex:I was introduced to Mifos during Google Code-In 2014. I really liked the fact that the Mifos Initiative helped provide access to banking to people in developing countries. I also wanted to work with a Java platform this summer so Mifos was the perfect choice for me.

GopalaAs a freshman in my college, I wanted to get myself involved in projects involving AngularJS. When I found Mifos Initiative, I was really amazed by how they use technology to solve real-world problems. Also, since my project deals with working on the community app which has a huge codebase,  I wanted to gain the skill to be able to read huge codebases and collaborate with awesome developers

I believe the things I would do in this project should largely benefit the Mifos community!

Mayank: I am passionate about android app development. I was looking for the organization which is trying to solve a problem by developing android apps. I found out that Mifos is working in microfinance and developing very good android products.  It personally gave me motivation for contributing in Mifos. I didn’t have to struggle much for getting idea of code base because org. admin Ed and previous contributors were very helpful.

Kumaranath: To contribute to the betterment of the poor community around the world, make a positive impact on their livelihood and work towards the realization of mission of the Mifos foundation which is to “speed the elimination of poverty by enabling financial service providers to more effectively and efficiently deliver responsible financial services to the world’s 2.5 billion poor and unbanked”

Raunak: I have always wanted to build things that help. Everybody has some way of giving back to the community and working on something which enables impact in lives is my way of giving back to the community.

Vladimir: I believe in what Mifos does because many people here in Africa are unbanked and this technology can help bring banking services closer to them.

TarunI started with Mifos last year while applying for GSOC’16. I was not selected but I kept contributing whenever and to whatever extent I could. That was the main reason I applied to Mifos this year. Also, the project and the vision deals in alleviating poverty which is indeed something I’d like to contribute to in the best possible way.

Mohit: I have been associated with Mifos since more than 1 year and work that the community is doing is pretty amazing. All the hard work of community lead Ed can be seen which makes the community grow. I am really amazed to see how Mifos is helping poverty stricken areas by the help of open source. Every line of code written by us would touch millions of people under Mifos

Courage: Mifos’ mission is to speed the elimination of poverty. I live in a developing country and I would love to work with mifos to help my country, Africa and other countries

Naman: Banking softwares have always been close to me as my father works as a Bank manager and I really liked the community around Mifos.

You’ve only been a part of the community for a few weeks now but you all have made such great contributions, what’s been most rewarding for you so far?

Thisura: Having the opportunity to continue in a technical discussion with friends who I never seen, was the amazing achievement for this journey so far. Guys from Mifos, like Nikhil made it so friendly. That confidence was the best reward I had. Moreover, my first two PRs were rejected as mentioned above. But they reasoned for the rejections. It was quiet interesting to do the changes required and resubmit a new PR. After sending the PR I was looking at the bell to the top right corner of github, waiting for any notifications. The moment I saw that blue dot on the bell, I clicked on it, and I was quite amused to see that merge arrows with purple colour.

Mohit: I have been associated with Mifos since GSoC 2016 and most rewarding things since my journey is that i have become the maintainer of the community app. In every decision regarding community, i get the opportunity to put my views among others which makes me feel the importance of contributing to the community.

Gopala: During the starting days of contribution, I had a lot of problems understanding git hence I faced a lot of issues submitting proper Pull requests but I eventually understood how it works thanks to the community who always helped when in need :). Also, getting the first PR merged was the best experience ever (after a lot of changes)!

DilpreetGetting “Merged Tag” on my first PR in this open source world was the most rewarding thing for me which motivated me to contribute more.

Vladimir: The most rewarding moment was the day I had my first pull request merge into the android self-service app codebase. Though it was not a major amendment to the app, it gave me great satisfaction and a sense of belonging.

Kumaranath: Attempting to solving validation bug in the community app.It seemed so simply at first, but learnt a lot on coding conventions and best practices upheld by the mifos community itself.

TarunActually, I’ve been associated with Mifos for quite a while now. The most rewarding experience was me being considered deserving enough to be accepted as one of the mentors in Google Codein 2016. Moreover, I was also considered as a nominee to represent the organisation in mentor’s summit at US.

RaunakTo feel how helpful the community is. Everybody is willing to offer help whenever you are stuck.

Naman:  Most rewarding for me till now was to be able to get in touch with such great mentors and community members. And my first pull request to the mifos code base.

Alex: The community around Mifos is awesome – everyone is friendly and helpful. Getting feedback on my contributions is something that I found very rewarding. With every contribution there is the feeling that you are doing something that will influence people’s lives.

CourageSeeing my first pull request merged. I was excited to know that somehow even if it’s just a little i had contributed to mifos.

Mayank:Getting my first pull request accepted with proper commit message and squashing was the most rewarding for me. I felt very confident in handling git commands efficiently.

What is the one thing you’re hoping to learn or take away from your Google Summer of Code internship?

Kumaranath: Build good friendships and help the community realize its noble objective by making true impact.In addition, enhance my skillset and also, gain exposure to developing open source products.

Alex: Apart from the technical skill that I hope to learn during GSoC, I would love to meet new people who, like me, are passionate about FOSS. I would also want to start contributing regularly to open-source projects.

GopalaThe most important thing which I would like to take away is acquiring the skill to be able to read and work on huge codebases like the community-app. I think this a very important skill to have if you want to become a good software developer 🙂

Naman I am really looking forward to implementing the clean architecture for my android app project and hoping to learn unit testing.

Raunak: The best thing to take away this summer would be the thought process involved in the solving a problem.

CourageThe experience, working on a team with different people in different countries and the knowledge it brings. 

Mohit: Other than all the obvious technical skills that one acquires after working on such a large codebase, one of the most important thing I’ll learn is how to manage a big project like this one and to collaborate with developers from all around the globe.

Tarun: Besides the technical expertise I hope to gain, I’m looking forward to build my network.

Dilpreet: I hope to learn writing clean and understandable code for a large code base and hoping to communicate with amazing people.

Mayank: Skill of writing a good understandable code for new contributor which gives very good user experience for android users.

ThisuraI hope to continue with this and to get the committer-ship to the mifos community. I don’t know whether I will be able to do that within this few months. But I will keep on contributing to Mifos project even after GSOC. That is the main thing that I am going to take away from the GSOC 2017.

Vladimir:Make friends, long life connections and learn to even learn faster.

Most of us on the project have been away from college for a number of years but we all have fond memories – what’s your most memorable experience from university thus far?

Mohit: The most memorable one is the when i got selected for the Google Summer of Code for the first time in 2016. Another one i remember is calling my Mentor Gaurav Saini to my University for giving talk on open source where Ed also joined via hangouts, It was the most memorable one 🙂

Courage:  I had to present for an International Women’s Day event and my presentation was really technical and i was to present to a non-technical crowd. The challenge was to make at least one non-technical person understand my presentation. And I at the end of the presentation I got an accounting student to understand RESTful web services. I was soooo impressed with myself. That was the most memorable experience thus far.

Raunak: Deciding to pull an all nighter for exams with your friends for group study, and end up hardly studying and laughing and talking through the night.

Tarun: I’m a recent graduate (will be graduating this month only) and have several fresh memories. The most memorable experience I had had was during my internship at Delhi University Vice Chancellor’s office. We were given the ID-cards and we could walk into any place on the campus, even those departments where other students or even teachers are not allowed without prior permissions, by showing that ID card which gave that VIP kind of feeling. Besides, I had a great fun there with the newly-made friends. We used to travel around the campus, go for outings and the best thing is some of them are still with me after almost 3 years. 😀  

Kumaranath: Approaching then unknown colleagues during the first day of orientation.

ThisuraWhile most of the friends are attending government universities I attend a semi government university in Sri Lanka. I work here and there to earn some to help my family to cover my semester payment. This summer I hope Google will help me on that. The best thing happened in my university life at the moment is to getting selected to a GSOC project. I was able to use what I have learned to earn some great opportunity.

Naman: Definitely attending workshops and learning about software development and open source from my seniors in college. And winning hackathons.

GopalaI don’t have a lot of experiences as I am still a freshman in my college. However, I believe the best thing to have in my college is a student community like FOSS@Amrita and I feel grateful to be a part of it 🙂 . I was introduced to open source because of the seniors who have experience contributing to open source communities and are really willing to help. Our motto is `Code | Share | Grow`.

Naman: Definitely attending workshops and learning about software development and open source from my seniors in college. And winning hackathons.

Dilpreet: I love going to hackathons and the most memorable experience was when me and my team got first prize in a hackathon.

Alex: The first hackathon that I took part in was quite fun. It was a long hackathon – 36 hours. From the beginning the atmosphere was nice – everyone was having a great time coding and trying out new technologies. We, as most other groups, spent the first night having fun, chatting around. The next morning all of us were tired but that was the time we actually started working. In the end we built a harassment recognition app for chat messages and SMS – that won us 3 prizes. Overall it was a great experience.

Vladimir: My unplanned road trip from Ghana to Togo with my best friends.

MayankI had participated in an overnight android app competition with my friend. It was my first android project. We had developed an app for transaction of bitcoins by utilizing the BTCX India API. That is the very memorable experience.

Share something about your local culture that the community and other interns might like to know

Tarun: In the Hindu scripture – Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna –

कर्म करे जा फल की इच्छा ना कर तू इंसान

जैसे कर्म करेगा वैसा फल देगा भगवान्

which translates to Keep working without craving for the results; you will be awarded accordingly by God. That is a statement (I believe) worth espousing.

Raunak: I come from a background where street food is very popular, The most popular being Panipuri, a round, hollow puri, fried crisp and filled with a mixture of flavored water ( which might or might not run in our veins).

Mohit: There are numerous things which “only happens in India”, lots of festivals, lots of colors, lots of languages, diverse religions, lots of different geographical regions and variety of cuisine. India is called a sub-continent for a reason.

Gopala: My country consists of people with different religions and languages. In spite of these differences, we exist as one united and democratic country. This is unique in our culture, and you can observe this when you visit India !

CourageIn our culture women don’t eat the gizzard of a chicken

Vladimir:My people strongly believe that our ancestors can help them in their everyday life so they usually make sacrifices on the skulls of our ancestors.

Alex: Bulgaria is one the oldest countries in Europe. We have a rich history of more than 1300 years. We are generally welcoming people. We have beautiful seaside resorts and beautiful mountains, it is worth a visit! =]

Mayank: I am from Rajasthan in India which is also known for its local food. It is also known for its snacks like Bikaneri Bhujia, Mirchi Bada and Pyaaj Kachori. Other famous dishes include Bajre ki roti (millet bread) and Lashun ki chutney (hot garlic paste), Mawa Kachori from jodhpur, Alwar ka mawa, Malpauas from pushkar and Rassgollas from Bikaner.

Naman: India has lots of languages, cultures, religions and diversity.

Dilpreet:  I am from Delhi, India and Delhi has mixture of different communities of India

Kumaranath: I’m from a quite diverse culture of many ethnicities and it’s interesting to learn, accept and work with people from different backgrounds and social levels.

Share one fun fact about yourself

Alex: I love aviation – everything from planes to airports. One day I would like to get a private pilot license and fly my own plane! I also want to go sky-diving in the near future.

Tarun: I’m kind of an introvert but I really enjoy shenanigans and banters with the people I’m really comfortable with. 😛

Naman: I am pretty good at Counter Strike and have been playing it competitively for some time. 

Gopala: Well, apart from academics and open Source,  I also play soccer and I am really into Gaming especially Counter Strike Global Offensive 😛

Kumaranath: I’m fond of being myself

Mohit: I can sleep anywhere, anytime and at anyplace. I just Love sleeping a lot 😀

VladimirI’m an African vegetarian.

Mayank: I always dream about traveling new places irrespective of destination.

Raunak: I do love to crack jokes and I believe I have a good sense of humor, as I’ve been told.

Mohit: I am capable of sleeping anywhere, anytime. I love sleeping a lot. I have also some addiction for Quora 😀

Dilpreet: I am an EDM fan and I listen to Skrillex and Marshmello all the time.

Thisura: I am a very friendly person, that you could meet at anytime and go out. When in trouble I tell the truth to the ground, but all the other times, you will have to listen me carefully. 🙂 Because of the dynamic nature of my life, I like to work on one thing at a time. So there may be times that you will not hear from me, but that doesn’t mean I have forgot you. I will surely shoe up when it is needed and will make sure that I do everything to make it a success. There are times I have failed (in the given time period) in the point of view of the project goal. But my goal of learning something to my life was never failed so far. In-fact, I would love to work and live freely without being bound to time or other limits.

If you could travel to one place in the world where would it be?

Gopala: I would like to go to Japan. I have heard a lot of great things about their culture and I would love to visit the temples there and go to Mount Fuji. Not to forget, I would love to have a bath in the hot springs 🙂

CourageNeuschwanstein, a nineteenth-century castle in southern Germany is the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. This German retreat is visited regularly during summer months as a symbol of refuge and peace.

Tarun: I’d like to travel to the Netherlands to meet a pen-friend.

Kumaranath: Would love to trip around exotic cities in europe.

Alex: That has to be Dubai. I have always wanted to go there and in the recent years the city has changed so much!

Vladimir: Cape Verde

ThisuraI could travel to all the cricket nations and support Sri Lanka on their grounds. But there is one place that I was dreaming for a long time. That is Himalayas in India. I would love to go to the top of Himalaya and see the nature at that part of the world.

Naman: Yosemite Valley

Mayank: I want to go to Silicon Valley and talk to some of the tech entrepreneurs.

Dilpreet: I would like to go to Google Zurich

Raunak: I’d love to travel to Scotland.

Mohit: Mountains, rivers and wildness are connected to my soul. I would love to visit Alaska, USA

If you could have lunch with anybody (living or deceased) in the world, who would it be? What would you have for lunch?

Naman: Sergey Brin, I will have veg fries:)

TarunIt’d be Lt. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam – the Missile Man of India who was a teacher, scientist, the President and a great human. I’m not a foodie (even if I were, why would I think of food while I’m with such an eminent personality?! 😛 ) so I don’t mind about the food.

Vladimir: Gandhi and we will have Sushis.

Thisura: It is my family that I would love to have the lunch and the full family, with my mother (who passed away back in 2013 after fighting Leukemia for three years). And my favorite is Spaghetti cooked by father.

Gopala: Since I am staying in my hostel, I am really desperate to eat house food! So, I’ll have lunch with my parents at my home :). I would have anything provided it is home made 😛

Alex: Elon Musk is seems like awesome company for a lunch. We would probably eat pizza as both of us are coders and pizza is the primary food for us, developers.

Raunak: I would love to have a lunch with Bill gates.  

CourageWilliam Henry Gates III

Kumaranath: Christ Ryan,ex-SAS, a person with undying determination.

DilpreetI would like to have a lunch with Mark Zuckerberg and I would introduce him to some all time favorite Indian dishes like Chole Bhature,Dal Makhani

Mayank: I would love to lunch with Elon Musk. Coconut sweet would have been best.

Mohit:Sundar Pichai, Any Indian food he would like 😉