Today, Hyperledger kicks off its 2019 Summer Mentorship program, a hands-on, paid opportunity for students from around the world to gain real world experience advancing open source blockchain technologies. Now in its third year, the program welcomes 17 mentees from 12 countries. They will be paired with 25 mentors from 17 organizations, ranging from IBM to the Budapest University of Technology and Economics and from VMware to Técnico Lisboa and Soramitsu.
Together, they will tackle a line-up of projects that provides new developers exposure to Hyperledger open source development and entry to the technical community. The program, formerly known as the Hyperledger Summer Internship program, has grown in size and popularity, expanding from six projects in the first year to 17 this summer. More than 300 students from 36 different countries across Asia, North, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Oceania applied this year.
Hyperledger renamed the program to put an emphasis on mentoring as a key path to growing the community for open source development and enterprise blockchain. Mentees will be tackling research and development projects key to advancing the Hyperledger ecosystem and enterprise blockchain. They will also get a leg up in building their networks and their resumes.
Hyperledger views its Summer Mentorship program as a win for the whole community as mentoring is key to career development at every stage. Open source communities thrive when there is ongoing learning and collaboration across markets, organizations, and experience levels. Bringing a new generation into the Hyperledger community is a growth opportunity for all.
We asked some of our mentors about the role mentorship has had in their career development and what they see as the benefits of this program for them, their mentees and their projects. Here’s what we learned:
Swetha Repakula, IBM Open Technology
From a young age, I have been fortunate enough to have mentors that have helped me find what I am interested in and guide me towards a path of success. In open source, I have found mentorship is very important, and I have had some great guidance from people inside IBM and outside. These people helped me find my voice and showed me how to navigate open source development to be a productive member in the community.
The mentorship program is a great focused way to introduce new developers to the Hyperledger community and more broadly open source development. I believe mentees will leave with skills that will help them throughout their career. As a mentor, I am looking forward to sharing the things I have been taught and passing on the lessons I have learned. Last year I really enjoyed working with our intern and being one of the first people to introduce her to the world of open source. This year, I am a co-mentor of a project that entails adding a new contract runtime option to Fabric that I am very excited about. I think there is a lot of potential, so I am looking forward to seeing what our intern creates.
David Huseby, Hyperledger, The Linux Foundation
I am always excited when the Hyperledger mentorship program gets going each year. During the process of developing enterprise blockchain platforms we always discover really interesting applications and integrations with the technology. The mentorship program gives our community the chance to explore the opportunities more. It’s the fun that we get to have after all of the hard work. I can’t help but be excited and this year is no exception.
For me, being a mentor keeps my perspective on the open source community fresh and gives me an opportunity to challenge my own assumptions. Fielding mentee questions and addressing their roadblocks gives me the chance to see our community through their eyes. That fresh look is valuable to me.
For me, the benefits are that I get to influence the open source culture by introducing mentees to it with the right set of assumptions and openness. The mentees get direct access and influence over core Hyperledger technology. It’s a great resume builder and the connections created are valuable. As for Hyperledger, we get to direct the mentees to explore the exciting opportunities that we discover while building the technology but don’t have time to do.
Laura Spinaci, Blockchain & Innovation Mentoring Lab
Mentorship is something that I always look for through online resources and groups.
40% of what I know and of the experience I have comes from meticulously following subject matter experts in fields I was interested to learn outside jobs I’ve held. The same holds true for blockchain. That’s why last year I founded the Blockchain & Innovation Mentoring Lab, where I give developers and blockchain professionals the opportunity to get hands-on, concrete experience with Hyperledger use case implementations.
Mentoring is based on a mutual exchange of knowledge, experience, and interests.
The best way to learn is to teach, plus I would like to find a way to model and scale the Hyperledger Mentorship program through my own mentoring program.
I believe that working from inside Hyperledger will give my mentee the opportunity to understand the genuine value of this community, which is sometimes misunderstood from the outside, and the training to use tools that the community offers freely to those looking to enhance their knowledge and experience in blockchain. He should also make connections that can be really beneficial for his future career.
We are working on SSI Identity applied to IoT devices in Telecom industry. Blockchain is the catalyst of IoT and will be the invisible technology that will allow IoT massive adoption.
It is key to overcoming the main IoT challenges (security, privacy, mobility, heterogeneity, etc) through standards (like DID and verifiable claims).
Telcom is in the early stages of its blockchain development, but the impact that SSI will have in this industry (and others) combined with IoT will be huge. I’m looking to expand the scope of this project outside the internship also through my mentorship program.
Rafael Belchior, Técnico Lisboa
Mentorship has the potential to completely change the course of a career. One of the secrets of success is to find a dedicated mentor that can help remove blockades and indicate the right direction. As a student, mentorship propelled me to explore my skills and strengthen them, while developing myself as a person. As a mentor, I have the chance to not only help someone improve but also myself. Mentorship is a great way to learn about ourselves and learn how to teach. Helping and teaching others allow us to discover new skills and, conversely, find out what we need to work on.
The Hyperledger Summer Mentorship provides a unique opportunity to get involved with the fantastic open-source community behind Hyperledger projects while working on a project valuable to society. My mentee will have great networking opportunities while having a unique learning experience: the possibility to tune skills related to blockchain theoretical and practical concepts. Furthermore, she will have access to valuable feedback and guidance.
Our project, Hyperledger Fabric-Based Access Control, will leverage Hyperledger Fabric to store access control components (for instance, user attributes, or variables linked to a context) to be used on different use cases. This allows a system (for instance, a healthcare system) to delegate its access control processes to the blockchain. Chaincode can be used for enforcing access requests, to take advantage of different blockchain properties, namely auditability, traceability and decentralization. This project can help decentralizing trust relative to access control, being an attractive solution to multi-enterprise scenarios or public administration.
Salman Baset, security and blockchain guy
Mentorship has played an important role throughout my career. I have tried to seek mentors that provide me with a diverse perspective, which can open my eyes to the unknown horizons.
Interacting with students is always refreshing allows one to see things from a fresh perspective. My hope is that my mentee will become an active contributor or user of open source projects. The ultimate goal of the project I am mentoring this summer is to make it super easy to analyze the provenance of data stored in a Hyperledger Fabric-based network. My wish is for this project to transition into a Hyperledger Lab, and ultimately, an incubation project for analyzing data stored within a Fabric-network.
Attila Klenik, Budapest University of Technology and Economics
A good mentor-mentee relationship is an immense help in getting a grip on a complex domain, such as blockchain technologies. Even with expert guidance, blockchain-based projects have a steep learning curve.
I was also a Hyperledger Intern in 2016, and I found the open-source Hyperledger umbrella a little bit intimidating at first. But my mentor helped me to break down the problems and challenges into manageable chunks. He taught me to proceed in small increments with my solution. This was the first valuable takeaway for me as an intern, and I intend to use the same approach now, as a mentor.
The second takeaway I’d like to emphasize is that mentoring shows its true potential when applied on the community level. You cannot be an expert at everything, so you must learn to reach out to the community. Especially when working on a project (e.g., Hyperledger Caliper) that requires a broader understanding of multiple other projects.
My first Hyperledger Hackfest event played an important part in connecting with the community (and several project maintainers), which put me on the way to later becoming a project maintainer myself, and now a mentor in this program. So I would encourage the mentees to jump into the community waters and explore the different projects (including the other internship projects).
Being a mentor in an international program will definitely be a useful and new experience for me. I expect that consulting someone new to the Caliper project will also help sharpen my skills with the community as a project maintainer.
Caliper is still under active development, moreover, it interacts with multiple other projects as well. Thus the mentee will have an opportunity to closely work together with the project contributors, as well as the Hyperledger community, and not just with his mentors.
The mentorship project will be an integral part of Caliper, enhancing its usability and easing its adoption throughout its users. I have great hopes that this collaboration will benefit everyone, and further increases the momentum of Caliper.
Jiahao Chen, VMware
I have had several mentorship experiences in my career so far, and each of them was memorable. Mentorship helps me make improvements, not only in programming skills but also in the skill of how to ask questions. Proper communications can make people closer and drive them to put more enthusiasm into their work.
The benefits of this program for me will be to communicate and get feedback from the mentee and make progress together.
Our mentee can improve his skills and expand his horizon with assistance from mentors like Baohua, Haitao, Litong and me.
This mentorship program could also help improve the quantity and user experience of our project.
Featured image: Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash