During Summer of 2020, on top of our full-time work, on-call rotations, open source project’s work, preparing conference talks and ☕ we had extra
75% of the Thanos Team (Giedrius, Lucas, Kemal,
Matthias, Povilas and me) and a few members of Prometheus Team (Callum,
Chris and me) were mentoring amazing people in their first steps into Open Source! 🎉
We taught mostly students but also already experienced developers, all new to the CNCF space and projects.
We are very grateful that this year’s edition was full of smart, diverse and incredibly curious candidates that applied for Thanos and Prometheus mentoring through Google Summer of Code (GSoC) and Community Bridge programs.
A longer blog post about learnings and tips that might be useful for other projects which are willing to participate in such mentoring/internships is in progress, so stay tuned!
However, today we present you the first actionable result of our learnings: Weekly Thanos Mentoring Office Hours.
Long story short, as part of the mentoring, we scheduled a weekly meeting with each of our student for the duration of the program.
Despite extra time spent on mentoring, I personally got used to those extra meetings pretty quickly and had an amazing experience running them with co-mentors.
The main reason why mentoring and meetings were so satisfying for me is that we could see the mentees growing every week in terms of both technical and soft skills. Every meeting was fully utilized thanks to energetic and passionated students and we could see that mentees literally respect and fully use our time. 🤗
In fact, it was so addictive and fun that when GSoC and Community Bridge programs finished, it was just super awkward to… just stop our mentoring like that. 😱
Most of our students had still some PRs open and the next tasks were still within the reach and quite exciting for all of us.
Project is never ready. You can always improve things!
Given that all of Thanos mentees expressed the willingness to contribute in their free time after the program, we left our weekly meetings for an extra month.
However, as always, the month passed quickly and we had to again decide what’s next. With more programs being planned and other, potentially also passionated and diverse candidates willing to try their path in the open source, it was clear that the idea to preserve our weekly 1:1 with everyone would never scale.
This time, Twitter came with help. I recently saw the following tweet:
What about… Student Office Hours! After a quick discussion with Thanos maintainers, we found that creating Student Office Hours for our mentees maybe what we need!
Lucas: I haven’t discussed this will all but I know my two students have expressed interest. I would like to continue this relationship and I think a “many:many” meeting vs millions of individual 1:1 meetings will scale much better.
Announcing Weekly Thanos Mentoring Office Hours
From today, within Thanos Project, we are starting (virtual) Mentoring Office Hours every Thursday. The idea is to allow all our ex and current Thanos mentees to just put items on the agenda and propose topics to talk about. It could be anything from career advice, technical question to just PR pair-review; similar to what we do on our past 1:1s. As the Thanos project, we will try to make sure there is at least one maintainer. This meeting is also, obviously, fully optional for mentees.
The (ambitious) plan is to have the meeting agenda prepared the day before so we can cancel the meeting if the agenda is empty.
What About Ex-Mentees From Other Projects in the Prometheus Ecosystem or the CNCF?
Personally, I was also mentoring one student for Prometheus project, so I would love to allow (ex)mentees to be included in the similar initiative.
And to be honest, Thanos Mentoring Office Hours is just the beginning. 💪 We will experiment with the format, having inclusiveness, and quality in mind. We would love to make sure the discussions are focused and that the mentees have a safe and trusted environment to ask questions and be innovative. Time zones are another problem to solve someday.
Looking forward to expanding more in the future, if you have any feedback, let us know on Slack or directly to me! (:
BTW Do we Plan Further Mentoring in Future Quarters?
Well, of Course!
All engineers, new to the CNCF or open source, will be able to apply from September 21 for another Community Bridge Edition (details)
As mentioned before, this is just a quick announcement. Ask us in a few weeks how it goes, but we, Thanos maintainers are definitely super excited for offering Mentoring Office Hours. 🤩