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My Journey As A Community Intern

How I Spent 5 Months Empowering Student Tech Communities With Progate

Source: Progate (LinkedIn)

Hey everyone. I am Aditya Oberai, a junior at Amity University, Noida and tech community enthusiast. I spent the last 5 months actively working with student communities all across India, empowering students to begin their journeys as independent developers with Progate. Working with Progate has been one of the most wholesome and fulfilling experiences that I have had on a professional front. It has been a career-defining opportunity for me and it is truly my privilege to document and present my journey with Progate.

Applying For The Role

I originally heard about the Community Intern position through a LinkedIn post by Shun Uno, India Regional Manager, Progate. As I had been actively involved in student tech communities through the Microsoft Student Partner (now Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador) program, I saw this as a great opportunity to get more involved in the Developer Relations ecosystem.

Meeting with Shun for the first time

After filling the application form, which primarily asked for my personal details as well as a statement of purpose, I was set up for a week-long trial. The week-long trial essentially required me to work as a community volunteer. The idea behind this trial was to see whether I could create significant tangible growth in the Progate community in a short time. Based on my performance, I was then invited for an interview by Shun, where we discussed my motivations, ideas, as well as the company’s mission and vision. Following the interview, I received my acceptance in April and thus began my journey with Progate.

Highlights Of The Internship

The initial intern team under Shun

During the internship, apart from Progate’s pre-existing active opportunities, I introduced various new initiatives to develop the overall Progate community in India. These initiatives were designed with the sole purpose of making the Progate platform more accessible to student bodies across the country as well as assist students in their academic life. The four initiatives that I developed from the ground up were:

1. Back To School

Progate Back To School Call For Ambassadors Poster

The Progate Back To School initiative was the first new idea that I worked on in April. The essential idea behind this initiative was to support students with their academic commitments which had been severely impacted by the closing of schools, colleges, and universities across the country. A lot of institutions were still to hold examinations in a virtual format a month later. Our intention with this initiative was to help students by providing them with the opportunity to brush up their fundamentals in Java, Python, SQL, and Command-line. The initiative featured various Learning Jams (webinars) and Learning Weekends (72 Hour Learning Sprints) on the offered technologies in different colleges and universities across the country. All of these technologies are covered in academic institutions at some point or the other and were very beneficial to all the students who joined us.

2. City-Wide Learning Weekends

Progate City Wide Learning Weekend Call For Organizers Poster

Progate City-Wide Learning Weekends was another idea that I worked on and developed from May to July. In these, the participants would essentially receive full access to the web versions of 2 full courses (mostly Java and Python) from Friday to Sunday (72 hours) on the Progate platform. Those who would complete either of the courses in the set duration would receive a certificate for the same. These events were a variation of the College Learning Weekends that Progate does organize currently as well. Rather than focusing on students of one college at a time, the concept of this event was to work with the students from an entire city together.

Meeting with the first City-Wide Learning Weekend Organizer and former Community Intern, Simran Makhija

This initiative helped us reach smaller towns and cities in India that have only recently seen the growth of students pursuing higher education. It also helped significantly in finding prospective student community leads who could then bring the same learning experience to their institutions.

3. 48 Hours App Learning Challenge

The first Progate 48 Hours App Learning Challenge: Python Poster

The 48 Hours App Learning Challenge was a new kind of learning challenge that I initiated and worked on in July and August. It was a variation of the Learning Weekends that essentially focused on learning using the Progate mobile app rather than the website. The participants received full access to the mobile version of 1 full course (primarily Python) for Saturday and Sunday (48 hours). The crux of this initiative was to make the learning experience of Progate accessible to folks in different parts of the country who did not have access to laptops or desktops at their homes. Lots of students depended on their institution’s labs for access to computers and the lockdown had severely hampered their learning. Being able to support these folks was one of the most fulfilling experiences I had during the internship. With over 800 members with 40% of them being new users, the first App Learning Challenge was also the most successful individual event that I managed in my tenure.

4. Progate Web Extravaganza

The Progate Web Extravaganza Poster

The Progate Web Extravaganza was the final initiative that I worked on during my internship in September. It aimed to celebrate students’ contributions to the web development ecosystem. Participants were able to showcase any web development projects that they are or have been developing in recent times. The primary educational aspect of this activity was teaching aspiring developers how to use GitHub for code collaboration. This event was a great finale to my journey as a Community Intern and it will hopefully pave the way for more people to contribute to the open-source ecosystem.

Progate’s vision for the coming times

Learnings From The Internship

Some tips on utilising the internship properly by Sangeeta Devni, Executive Director, Progate India

Every single experience that I had while working as a Community Intern for Progate has brought with it learnings that I shall take along with me. Some of those learnings are:

1. Define what you want from the role

When you apply for an internship, you first have to understand why this role is the one you are chasing. Be it for the experience, to experiment, to help define your career path, or for any other reason, you have to make that decision. This is very important as it will define your commitment to the role.

2. Taking risks is a good habit

When we talk about any organization, there’s no one fixed way for a person to succeed. While it is great to work with the organization’s pre-existing methodologies that have been successful in the past, you should be willing to experiment and find new ways to pave your path. The courage to take risks is a trait that will benefit you in the future.

3. Swift execution is just as important as meticulous planning

It is a good habit to plan properly before taking the next step but you have to take the steps to follow through with your plan and you have to do both quickly. Not doing either is simply a recipe for failure.

4. Don’t be afraid to fail

No matter how well you plan or how perfectly you execute, chances are that you will make mistakes along the way. Just remember that it is alright to do so. We will always make more mistakes than succeed at this stage. Make sure that you embrace those mistakes, analyse them, and take the learnings forward. Now that’s how you win!

5. Document your work regularly

When you work in a team or an organization, you should always document your work process and results. It will not only help you quantitatively view your personal growth over time, but also allow you to share your recipe for success with your team.

6. Together Everyone Achieves More (T.E.A.M.)

When you work in a team, you have people with different perspectives, traits, and skill-sets working towards a common goal. You should leverage this to your advantage by collaborating with and learning from each other. Building long-term relations with these folks will go a long way in your career.

7. Keep your personal priorities straight

As students and young adults, we have various commitments to look after such as academics, career preparation, housework, etc. apart from the internship. You will have to define your priorities in a way that maximize your personal growth. And if you feel at any point that the environment you work in has become toxic, there is no harm in walking away as well.

8. Empathy always goes a long way

When you work with the community, for the community, you have to understand the perspective of the people you work with. It is only when you empathize with their problems can you create solutions that will benefit them.

9. No one is bigger than the community

When you work in a community, every member, no matter how new or old, will have something to contribute to the ecosystem. Keeping a mindset where you can learn from anyone and give back to everyone will amplify your growth significantly.

10. Your actions are in your hands, your reputation is in others’ hands

There will be occasions when, due to your actions or unforeseeable forces operating beyond you, everything that can go wrong will go wrong (Murphy’s Law is eerily real). At that point, you must remember that whether your result is good or bad, people will talk about you. You cannot control the reputation that precedes you, so make sure to do right by your morals and ethics when choosing your actions.

A snippet from the meeting with Sangeeta

Shoutout to my Team

I do not believe that my experience as a Community Intern would have been close to as great as it was without the people I worked with.

Meeting with the Progate India team for the first time

I would first like to thank all the members of the Progate India team, Yashraj Nayak, Ankita Mishra, Disha Vishwakarma, and Sangeeta Devni for always supporting the interns and guiding us to make the best of our internships.

Meeting with all the Team Shun interns

Huge cheers to Khushboo Verma, Tarun Raghu, Simran Makhija, Uday Bhaskar Gajavalli, Vishek Pratap, Vadde Gowthami, and Harsh Agarwal for being the best teammates that I could have asked for. I have learnt an immense amount from all of you and working together has been a pleasure.

The biggest thank you goes to my direct manager and mentor, Shun Uno. I have truly enjoyed all our team group calls and personal one-on-one sessions with Shun, these last 5 months. Shun was always open to communication about our thoughts and ideas and always encouraged us to focus on our personal growth whilst working within the internship. It has been an honour to work with and learn from him.

The Farewell Day meeting

What’s Next

A Progate Mentorship Programme meeting

Although my role as a Community Intern has ended, my journey with Progate has not. I will continue serving the folks in the Progate Plus community as a Mentor in the Progate Mentorship Programme. If you are interested in learning about and/or joining the program, do visit the following link:

I have honestly loved working with Progate every day of the last 5 months. Every meeting with our team members, every interaction with our event participants, every single opportunity to represent the Progate mission and vision has been a privilege. It has been the best first internship experience that I could have asked for and I will truly cherish it in the times to come.

Source: Progate (Facebook)

Connect with Progate:

For more updates on Progate in the future, do follow us on our social media handles at LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Do join our Telegram channel to keep yourselves motivated as you learn to code. You will find great coding resources and stories from coders from around the world!

If you want to volunteer with Progate and help uplift your local student community, fill up our Typeform here.

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Aditya Oberai

Aditya Oberai

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DevRel🥑 @ Appwrite📍Hosts random community convos 🤓📍👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 MLH Coach | Twilio Champion | Gold Microsoft Student Ambassador | Google DSC Lead 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦