A New Graduate’s Guide to Open Source at Adobe
How I rekindled my love affair with open source at my first job
Eleven months into my first job after college, I could not have imagined myself standing on the stage of the first Adobe India Open Source Summit, sharing a deeply personal story. But there I was, being mic’ed up, with trembling hands and a reeling mind. As I heard my name being announced, a tiny voice inside my head spoke up, “You’re home.” Yes indeed, I was home.
An email brings elation and humility
A few months ago, when I spotted an innocuous email from Jen, asking for submissions for the Open Source Summit at Adobe, it was like spotting an old friend in a sea of unfamiliar faces. My association with OS went back to my time as an undergraduate, and I was elated to discover avenues that allowed me to pursue my passion at my workplace. An amalgamation of unexpected brainwaves, caffeine-fueled late nights and a lot of finger-crossing led me to submit an outline for a talk. The joy that came with the acceptance email knew no bounds. However, what humbled me the most was the realisation that I would be sharing my story with some of the brightest minds at Adobe and even the industry, and that they would be interested in listening to it.
What can I tell people that they don’t already know?
All throughout the drafting and preparation stage, I was constantly confronted with the question of what could I bring to the table that was not present already. What could I tell the audience that they didn’t know beforehand? How could I make people want to listen to me? Initially, the answers weren’t straightforward. In terms of technical expertise, my more experienced colleagues could provide much deeper insights. I decided to keep it real and simply share my learnings — some tips for newcomers looking to contribute; some feedback for maintainers to make their communities more newcomer-friendly; and some esoteric motivations for all of this. More details of my talk in an upcoming presentation recap. Watch this space!
Re-read, reiterate, and reinforce
Working for the ETHOS team at Adobe, whose philosophy strongly aligns with open source principles of openness, open development and collaboration, has its own perks. While preparing for the talk, I found help pouring in from all quarters. From my teammates to my manager, everyone was willing to go out of their way to help me put my best foot forward. This incredible support system reaffirmed my faith in the decision to join Adobe and made me thank my lucky stars for the opportunity to work with such wonderful colleagues. After numerous reviews and iterations, I was armed with my Star Wars themed presentation and a printout of my speech, that I ultimately forgot to refer to.
The Adobe India Open Source Summit, held at the Adobe Bangalore office on April 11, was a life-changing experience altogether. The event was a full-house, with overwhelming numbers of walk-in attendees, mostly developers. The wonderful members of the Adobe Open Source Office gave us some wonderful insights about the growth and status quo of the OS culture at Adobe, and what we could do to help. A host of interactive lightning talks on a variety of topics, open house discussions and a great networking mixer really made the event a delight to be at. The cherry on the cake was the immense honour of being bestowed with the “Outstanding Open Source Contributor” award, which is a peer-nominated award for excellence in open source contributions going beyond code.
In the end
Adobe may not have been traditionally perceived as an open source company. Indeed, when I initially joined the company, I was a bit lost and skeptical about my future involvement in the OS community. But the persistent efforts of the Adobe Open Source Office, and my experience at the Open Source Summit, have really helped changed the company’s and my perceptions about open source at Adobe. As I commemorate a year of working here, I firmly believe that things are definitely looking upward, and the times, they are a-changin’.