Announcing a new line of MeshMates

Layer5 MeshMates are committed to helping community members be successful contributors. MeshMates aid in identifying areas of projects to engage within, working groups to join, and in helping community members grow in their open source and cloud native knowledge. By connecting one-on-one, MeshMates will share tips on how to have the best community experience possible.

Tanuj Agarwal

I was introduced to the Layer5 community three months back. Being fairly new to the world of open source and looking for new communities and technology to delve into, I hopped onto the Layer5 bandwagon and was amazed by the warm welcome I received from the wholesome community. I had done video animation jobs on a small scale before, which is what led me to confidently take up the task of creating a short intro jingle for the various community meetings hosted on the Layer5 youtube channel. After iterating for about a week, I finally came up with something worthwhile. And to my elation, it was accepted! It still warms my heart to see the intro flash before every meeting.

Next up I started work on a next generation model of the site. Being a new project based on Gatsby and heavily relying on React, Javascript and GraphQL, the site project was a perfect and challenging opportunity for me to expand on my skill set. Speed learning my way through Gatsby, with a continuous influx of help and helpful suggestions from my MeshMate, Kush Trivedi and others within the community, I soon mastered the platform and have spent weeks on creating countless issues and PRs in hopes of achieving the project goals. A few months down the line, I started reviewing PRs and began helping others contribute, something which I had never had the opportunity to do before! After months of continuous effort, I am proud to write that I recently joined as a maintainer on the project and was soon approached to be a MeshMate, which I happily accepted. My learning graph has seen a soaring positive tangent in the months I have been at Layer5 and I’m looking forward to an even more educative and rewarding journey ahead 😊

Kelechi Precious Nwachukwu

It was the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and being unproductive wasn't something I can stomach. Wanting to expand on my technical domain knowledge, I stumbled across an open-source challenge for women in tech with lists of projects to contribute to by the Women of Open Source Community Africa (WOSCA). My eyes landed on Layer5 and I haven’t looked back since.

A quick look through the repositories left me quaking in my boots. To give you some much needed context and to give some hope to all the newbies out there, I recently transitioned to working in technical domains from accounting and managing construction site projects. Forever getting stuck trying to get my hands on new tech and trying to find a way into the bewildering and humongous tech domains , I didn't even understand some of the jargon, and was too ashamed to ask questions. Stumbling through my first contribution, I somehow made it to the finish line and to my happiness, was soon assigned another task. Instead of complaining, I set out to study up on the issue and took a peek at the other assignees in the repository to ensure that I was not the only one taking inordinate amounts of time on an issue. To my surprise, I was not.

I got working on the assignment and soon encountered issues that would previously have made me quit. Thankfully, I decided to take a different approach this time. I shared my challenge with the Layer5 community, and was amazed at the immediate and abundant response I received. Since then, I have helped other contributors get through their challenges, and have received an invitation to join the organization as a member, and then as a MeshMate 😎 I have been wholly satisfied with the learning opportunities and the friendly environment that the Layer5 community has to offer. I have learned that I may not be perfect, but by making full use of the resources provided to me, having a supportive community by my side and by being open to learning and showing determined courage in the face of difficulties, I can achieve anything!

Ruth Ikegah

The field of open source had always been intriguing to me. The idea of a close-knit community working with an aim had me wanting to contribute myself. Considering the fact that I have a small skill set (Donned the coder hat only 6 months ago), Layer5 was a great community for me to start out with. I came to know about the Layer5 community from the She Code Africa slack channel, after which I visited the GitHub repository and hopped on to the Layer5 slack channel.

To my good luck, I received a warm welcome from the community and was able to attend a community meeting the day I joined. I made my way through the Github repos and stumbled across a beginner friendly issue. I started work but to my dismay, my PR failed to pass the DCO check at the final rung. Stuck and with low spirits, I talked to Lee (Layer5 Maintainer) and related my problems with the DCO check fail. He patiently assured me that first-time checks can be hard to get right and assigned me a Meshmate, Ashis Singh (read saviour 😳). I sent a message to Ashis and told him about the issues I was having in submitting my Pull Request. He led me through a step by step tutorial on committing and signing off my changes, after which my first PR passed all the checks. I was thrilled at this point, waiting for my PR to be merged. I soon received two emails, the first relaying that my PR had been merged and a few pull requests later, a second one with an invitation to join the Layer5 organization on Github.

Impressed by the process and being passionate about helping others, I soon began helping out with welcoming newcomers in the Layer5 Community and a happy two months later, I am elated to write that I have helped and held the hand of many-a contributors into Open-Source, offering them the same warm welcome that I had received. I was soon promoted to become a Meshmate. Apart from adding another feather to my cap, this also helped me enhance my own skill set and reach in a dozen different directions.The most intriguing fact about the Layer5 community is how welcoming it is. You can contribute something, even as a beginner, no matter how small your skillset is. I have been through the same journey and I recommend it to everyone reading. Experience an open-source community with Layer5 today! Once you’re set up on Slack, do send me a ping to say hi. The exciting part, we might even meet as MeshMates πŸ˜‰

- Tanuj, Ruth, and Kelechi