A Contributor’s Story with Grace Omotoso

The “Contributor’s Story” series is designed to give our key open source contributors and community members a face and voice, an overview of the projects they are working on, and the successes and challenges contributors face in development .

In this blog post, we’re going to speak to Grace, a VISSL employee who works on event storage mechanisms through the Major League Hacking (MLH) Fellowship.

“I study for life and … think this scholarship will help me fulfill my dream of getting back into the software industry.”

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started with open source.

I graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Masters degree in Computer Science last August. I heard about MLH from a friend.

I heard about open source many years ago while attending a conference in Nigeria organized by the Free Software & Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA).

Describe the project you are currently working on.

I’m working on a computer vision project called VISSL. VISSL is an acronym for Vision Self Supervised Learning and is created with PyTorch. VISSL aims to speed up the research cycle in self-supervised learning.

How did you start at VISSL for the first time?

First, I took a look at the “simple” topics. Some of them in the repository are labeled “Beginner” or “Bootcamp”. Working with the project supervisor through the MLH Fellowship, we were able to identify which tasks were good baby steps before we dealt with further code. He did a great job assigning this to my teammate and me in the first few weeks of working on the project. This made it much easier for us to navigate through the project and understand the project architecture.

What have you learned about the project, development or open source so far?

Open source is cool. In this fellowship experience in particular, I enjoyed learning about pre-commit hooks. Since there are many contributors to open source in general, it makes sense to provide automatic code formatting review and ensure some best practices.

Before the scholarship, I thought I knew enough Git, but it actually was an obstacle for me to familiarize myself with the ins and outs of VISSL. There were many new commands that I could experiment with and use while working on this open source project. I also learned some best practices from feedback from the project supervisor, such as how to separate concerns in multiple PRs.

What advice would you give future contributors to the open source project?

I want future contributors to know that no two projects are alike. When you’re reassigned to a new project things can look very daunting, but with the support of other open source contributors and community members, you’ll find that aha moment when it all makes sense to you. It is also important to ask the right questions. Also, try to get in touch with the community and find the supervisors, a potential teammate, or a mentor to get started quickly.

We’d like to thank Grace for her continued contributions to the Facebook open source ecosystem. You can follow Grace’s work on LinkedIn.

If you’d like to learn more about Facebook Open Source, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for relevant updates, and visit the VISSL website and GitHub to get started.

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