domingo, 23 de agosto de 2015

Goodbye GSoC.

Hello all,

This is my final entry for the GSoC. It's been one hell of a ride, nothing short of life changing.

When I started looking for a project, the idea was that even if I didn't get selected to participate, I was going to be able to make my first contribution to OpenSource, which in itself was enough motivation to try it.

I found several interesting projects and decided to apply to one of them, the one that I considered to better suit my situation at that moment. Before I got selected I had already interacted with a few members of the community and made a couple of contributions. I was hooked on OpenSource so there was no looking back. By the time I got selected, the GSoC had already met my expectations.

I found a healthy community in SciPy and I could not have asked for a better mentor than Ralf (Gommers). The community members were always involved and supportive while Ralf provided me with enough guidance to understand new concepts in a simple way (I'm no statistician) but not so much that I would be overwhelmed by the information and I still had room to learn by myself, which is an essential part of my learning process (that's where I find the motivation to do the little things).

After starting the GSoC I received the news that I was denied the scholarship to attend Sheffield and my plans for a master's degree were almost derailed. I then got an offer to study at the University of Toronto and this is where it got interesting (spoiler alert: I am writing this blog entry from downtown Toronto).

I went through the scholarship process again and got selected. I also went through the process of selecting my courses at the UofT. With Ralf's guidance and after some research I decided to take courses on Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing and other related topics. 

I can now say with pride that I am the newest member of the SciPy community which will help me in my journey towards becoming a Machine Learning expert or maybe a Data Scientist, that remains to be seen, but we already have some plans on how I can keep contributing to SciPy and getting acquainted with the pandas and Numpy communities. I'd like to see what comes from there.

As you can see, I got a lot more than I had expected from this experience, which I attribute to having approached it with the idea of searching for a passion to turn into a career. Naturally I found it, so now it's time to switch gears.

I would like to use the last paragraph of this rant to give out some thanks. Thanks to Ralf for walking me along to find my own path within the beautiful world of OpenSource and Scientific Computing. Thanks to the SciPy community, especially to Josef Perktold and Evgeni Burovski for providing so much valuable feedback to my PRs. Thanks to Google for organising an event like this, helping people like me with the excuse they need to finally join OpenSource and stop leaving it for later. And of course, thanks to the people in my life that provide me with a reason to wake up and try to be a little better than the day before: My girlfriend, Hélène, who keeps my head above the water when I feel like I forgot how to swim by myself and my parents, whose love and support seem to have no end. You make me feel like I owe it to the world to be the best I can be (or try, at the very least).

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