The Perks of Being a Hasura-Intern

I’ve always avoided blogging. It’s not that I had nothing to share.

Every time I sat down to type, I ended up with a nice title and a blank story. It’s not that I couldn’t find the words.

The title is simple enough — it’s the idea that makes you sit down to write. The story is your trail of thought, much like a trail through the jungle. The idea is your starting point and you stumble along the path as it reveals itself to you. Eventually the way clears and you reach the end of the trail; this is the…. I guess wouldn’t know, I have never seen the end. Well, I haven’t seen the start of the trail either. My idea takes me to the bottom of a raging waterfall of random thoughts, that I have no hope of ever climbing (yes, waterfall climbing is a thing).

Alright, enough philosophical metaphors for one post.

So how am I typing out my first ever blog post at 3 in the morning without a hint of distraction? That is the question to be answered here.

The journey began in January this year, when I enrolled in IMAD (Introduction to Modern Application Development), a MOOC offered by IIT-Madras and Hasura, on the NPTEL platform. I decided to do so on a whim; I had programming experience from school & college, and I had participated in competitive-programming events to test my skills, but I hadn’t gotten around to developing a real-world application. IMAD seemed to be a great introduction, judging from the course content and reviews (and also my omniscient sixth sense).

That’s MADI the dinosaur, the mascot for IMAD (Source: http://www.imad.tech/)

Awesome lecture videos, weekly. Solved the assignments (the deadlines were pretty relaxed). Made a web application by following along with the practical videos (amazingly simple). Decided to give the certification exam because I felt it would look good on my résumé. While going through the IMAD forum, came across talks of Hasura offering internships to course toppers. More incentive to perform well. After 8 weeks, at the end of the course, appeared for the exam.

Did perform well.

Why so short & sweet, when I have been rambling on about everything else? Because most of it is the part common to every great MOOC. Now there’s more time to talk about the awesomeness of the Hasura internship (yes, obviously I got selected).

How I picture myself as a Hasura intern (Source: https://hasura.io/)

You may have noticed the blog’s blatantly plagiarized title and would be wondering where I’m going with it - most of the selected candidates are coming into the internship with little or no experience in real-world application development (apart from the IMAD course). Ashish Kashyap and Tanmai Gopal along with the Hasura team (of about 20), coolly took on the task of molding this horde of newbies (nearly 400 of them) into well-rounded members of the software development community.

Keeping the internship in two slots, May-June and June-July, divides us up into somewhat manageable numbers. I chose the later slot to avoid an overlap with my university exams in May, but kept in touch with the Slack channel to stay updated about the internship. It has been thrilling to interact with fellow software development enthusiasts, and participating in a forum where everybody is learning together.

Officially, my internship began on 5th June, with a welcoming webinar on Facebook Live by Tanmai himself. He laid out some basic guidelines for the interns, punctuated with some advice from his own experiences. In broad terms, the interns are supposed to come up with an idea (something simple which is doable in 2 months) and use the Hasura PaaS & BaaS to develop the application (which can be a web or mobile-based).

(Side note: He seems much more excited being in live webinars compared to recorded lectures. I forgot to mention earlier that the IMAD lectures were conducted by Tanmai, along with Prof. Dr. Gaurav Raina, IIT-Madras)

FINALLY! Finally getting to how I ended up blogging. The internship has been comprehensively mapped into weekly tasks and deliverables, to ensure that the interns stay on track. Each task will be accompanied by a blog post describing how the task was accomplished and the learning experience it provided. Not only does the intern improve technically but also improves the way he/she communicates through this exercise (I remember mentioning well-rounded members…), which will give them a sense of how comprehensive, yet precise, the communication needs to be in the software development community. Truly an internship that is the first of its kind.

The World: So this is just a post for your internship requirements then? Seems to be pretty far from decent technical writing.

Me: No and Yes. Many of my posts will be related to my weekly tasks. However, this post is a result of inspiration from the first webinar (and the internship format in general) and is not a part of the stipulated tasks. I finally got to see a trail through the forest, which I can try to follow. And its no ordinary trail; there are signboards, checkpoints and mile-markers along the way (I feel like Dora the Explorer). So while I’m still at the start, I decided to collect my thoughts and try putting them in some sort of order, to summarize the journey up to this point.

Maybe my fellow interns might read this and find a small part they can relate to.

Maybe a future IMAD student comes across this and finds some inspiration.

Maybe I’ll read this post after these two months and reflect on how much I have improved through this internship.

Looking forward to a great learning experience.

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