My Journey at the MLH Fellowship

I have been an MLH Fellow twice, and being there I realized that this has been something very special and I will always hold onto this experience as a cherishable memory. Hence, I am writing this article to take you all through my journey at the MLH Fellowship.

But before we begin with my journey, let’s get to know what is MLH Fellowship?

What is MLH Fellowship?

The MLH Fellowship is a 12-week internship alternative for aspiring software developers introduced by the Major League Hacking and GitHub Education. It was brought in during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic wherein millions of people lost their jobs and internships.

This program is uniquely structured and is at par with other open-source programs as it pairs a fun, educational curriculum with practical work experience that can be put on your resume right away. It’s collaborative, remote and under the guidance of experts from the software engineering industry.

You can learn more about the fellowship here: https://fellowship.mlh.io/

I have been a part of the Open Source track both times. Now that we know what is MLH Fellowship, let’s see how I got in?

Batch 1 Fall 2020 — Application & Interview

I applied for Batch 0 but got rejected after the initial interview due to an unstable internet connection. For Batch 1, I had my initial interview with Manya Agarwal, a junior pod leader at the fellowship. The initial interview usually spans 10 mins and aims to get a check on the individual’s eligibility to participate in the program, their passion to become an MLH Fellow, communication skills, A/V setup, and professionalism. My interview went well, and this time, I got an invitation to the technical interview( after 2 weeks though).

Know more about the process by watching the video below:

How to get selected for the MLH Fellowship program? — A podcast with Samar Mahi

My technical interview was scheduled with John D. Britton, the Founder, and CEO at raise. dev. I was in awe as I looked through his LinkedIn profile, and this got me a lot nervous. The technical interview also spans usually for 10 mins and aims to get an understanding of the technical proficiency and the learning potential of the interviewee. I showcased my Smart India Hackathon project — Awsar, a platform that connects government organizations and potential job seekers under one single domain. I contributed as a backend developer and designed and developed the REST APIs that powered the platform. John asked me a few questions on security and scaling, that I answered as per my understanding. He explained to me the ideal solutions to each of these questions as well and I felt like it was a great interview, even if I don’t get selected, as, after all, I got to learn something new.

I finally got my selection email, after 3 weeks, and my journey began as an MLH Fellow.

Pod 1.0.0 — Contribution Period

I was put in Pod 1.0.0 (later Fantastic Falcons), which was the most diverse pod of the fellowship with an amalgamation of people from different parts of the globe, different interests (JavaScript/Python/Ruby), and different times availability(Full time/Part-time). We had our kick-off call with Mike Swift, Chris Ewald, and Arsalan Dilawar, our pod leader.

It felt enthralling to me, to be communicating with so many new people, from such diverse backgrounds and experiences. I was nervous in the beginning, but I wanted to make the best out of this opportunity, so I tried to talk to as many people in my pod and make friends.

Meetings & Fun

We had our pod meetings every Monday and Wednesday, from 3:00 PM IST to 6:00 PM IST. I never had been used to such long meetings till then, it was exhausting sometimes, but we had loads of fun and discussions in each of these meetings. I especially loved the concept of Show & Tell, where each of the fellows had to pick up a new topic and present it to other pod members, such that you learn and then teach others. It was one of the most interesting activities that we did apart from the fun activities like playing games such as skribbl, Among Us, etc.

Hackathons for Bonding!

The fellowship period was coupled with two hackathons — Orientation Hackathon ( to boost team bonding) and a Halfway Hackathon ( to have some time out of contributing). It was really exciting to participate in these hackathons and build something useful for the community. Me and my team — Kshitij and Vignesh, won the orientation hackathon for our project- MLH Quizzet, a smart quiz generator.

Open Source Project

I contributed to React Native Tutorial App in this batch with three other fellows — Liang, Cecilia, and Temitope. We had maintainer meetings each week on Thursday where we met Rick and Keion from Facebook, along with Princiya and Chris from raise.dev for updates and future discussions on the project.

A clip from Batch 1 Graduation Ceremony showing all Fellows of Batch 1 across the globe.

Graduation — Part 1!

Batch 1 was an awesome experience at the MLH Fellowship where I learned the art of communicating more effectively, learned how to build cross-platform apps with React Native, and made many new friends. I also got a chance to attend Career sessions with the Facebook team and got introduced to CTFs as well. It was a rather happening time.

Class Photo — Batch 1 (Fall 2020)

However, I had trouble contributing because of my laptop, and hence, decided to re-apply for the next batch and contribute more.

Batch 2 Spring 2021 — Application & Interview

Being a former fellow, I skipped the line for the initial interview and just had to give the technical interview. My technical interview was scheduled with Karan Seth, one of the junior pod leaders. This time, I showcased to him StandNote, an online meeting assistant that lets you generate an automatic meeting summary after each meeting. I contributed to the project as a backend developer and was responsible for designing and developing the REST APIs that powered the platform. He was quite impressed with the idea and asked me a few questions regarding the security of the APIs that I answered well. Hence, the interview went well, and I was back in the fellowship for another batch.

Pod 2.0.0 — Contribution Period

This time, I was a part of Pod 2.0.0 (later the Shiny Shifus). We had our kick-off call with Manya Agarwal, our pod leader, and I discovered that most of my pod mates were from India and JavaScript enthusiasts. Batch 2 was a bit different, we had everyday stand-up meetings for 15–20 mins to share our daily updates, blockers, and issues and two longer meetings for Show & Tell and Retrospective on Wednesday and Friday respectively. It was tiresome in the beginning to have daily meetings, but we all eventually started enjoying the process.

Hackathon & Fun!

This time also, me and my team — Lisa, Pawan, and Israel, won the Orientation Hackathon for the Best Open Source Project category. Our project was called FellowStories — a platform for the MLH Fellows to share their stories and experiences.

Open Source Project

I contributed to Adobe Docs in this batch, along with two other fellows — Aviral and Ayan. I wasn’t really familiar with Adobe XD or Photoshop, and I was supposed to be working on Adobe XD and photoshop plugins using JavaScript. I started with the determination that I can learn along the way. However, university exams were the first major roadblock for me, I couldn’t devote enough time to the fellowship for about 2 weeks due to my end-semester exams.

As I returned, half the time was already gone and I had a lot to catch up on. The maintainers on the Adobe Team — Ash, Kerri, and Erin and our technical mentor — Princiya were a great support to me during this time. I began with some small issues, made a few PRs, and then picked up a big one — building the Vue Starter Plugin for Adobe XD and Photoshop.

I am really proud of this contribution that I made because this was something needed by the Adobe team for a long time and I was able to do this for them. I had no prior experience in Vue, so learned it from scratch and finally built it using some help from the maintainers. Below is the complete blog on what I contributed to Adobe Docs and how you can do it too!

Graduation — Part 2!

Batch 2 was yet again, an amazing experience at the MLH Fellowship for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it, learned a lot of new things, and made new friends. I just wish I wouldn’t have fallen ill in the last week and could have got some more time with all the awesome people at the fellowship. Nevertheless, it’s overwhelming and sad to state that it’s over and this journey has come to a halt.

Maintainer Meetings with the Adobe Team

Memories & Learnings

I will always hold onto everything I have learned along the way and cherish each moment that I have spent as a part of the fellowship. It has a great contribution to making what I am today. I owe my communication skills and confidence to speak in public to the fellowship. I don’t think I could have ever got to learn so much from any classroom in the world that I have learned from the fellowship. To sum up, this was my journey at the MLH Fellowship and everything that I learned out of it.

Class Photo — Batch 2 (Spring 2021)

If you find my journey in the fellowship insightful and helpful, then do let me know your views in the comments. In case you want to connect with me, follow the links below:

LinkedIn | GitHub | Twitter | StackOverflow

Writing what should not be forgotten!