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Contribution is a fundamental aspect of the model for open source software. Whereas it is obvious that Singularity has a vibrant community of contributors, it is likely less obvious that numerous contributions are being routinely made by Sylabs interns. In wrapping up the inaugural meeting of the Singularity User Group (SUG) at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) yesterday, a moment was taken to celebrate the first cohort of interns.

In anticipation of this occasion, we asked each intern the following question:

What was the most important thing you learned as a Sylabs intern?

Eduardo Arango lives in Colombia and works full-time these days as a software engineer for Sylabs. In his current role he focuses on ensuring the quality of Singularity, but makes the time to commit code and engage with the community through the workshops and tutorials he delivers at events across the globe. In responding to our question, Eduardo states:

For me, the most important thing I learned as a Sylabs intern was to take complete ownership of myactions. I have also learned that you must break groupthink in order to boost innovation.

The next three interns we celebrate here work part time for Sylabs as each of them is completing their undergraduate degrees in computer science. Possibly most impressive about these interns is their ongoing ability to balance their academics with their internship; it is truly remarkable what they have achieved while being full-time students.

A native of Peru, Joana Chavez is a student at the University of Pisa in Italy. Joana has made significant contributions to use case examples and documentation, and most recently she is contributing code. Joana’s response to our question is as follows:  

My internship was a very positive experience at Sylabs, it was a great opportunity to expand my skills and to keep learning on new topics I would only see theoretically at school. More than that, Sylabs is a family and I feel this is the place where I belong. You can notice that from the way that you can always reach from junior to senior staff at anytime. With no doubt, it helped me grow professionally.

Ian Kaneshiro was responsible for implementing the image-build system in Go during the migration of Singularity from C to Go last year. His recent work has included enhancing interoperability between Singularity and Docker in recent releases of the the software. These are extremely valuable contributions requiring measures of standards compliance and interoperability. As a Sylabs part-timer while he completes his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, Ian’s response to our question was:

Being given the opportunity and responsibility of implementing an important component of Singularity taught me a lot about software engineering and project management in general. More specifically, it taught me to be creative in my problem solving, own and fix mistakes, and to ask others for insight in areas I don’t have much knowledge in. There are a lot of great engineers on this team to learn from and that has been critical to my development as an engineer.

Finally, we reintroduce Sushma Yellapragada – an undergraduate in her final year of study at The NorthCap University in Gurugram, India. Sushma has presented workshops on Singularity, contributed to documentation and use case examples, as well as the Sylabs website. Soon to add quality assurance to her experience as an intern, Sushma shares that her:  

Internship at Sylabs has taught me more Computer Science than my college courses ever could. An awesome place to get introduced to Open source, HPC, EPC, corp-events and so much more. This is a company that never sleeps!  You can always find somebody to talk to, be it about a PR, an RC, an issue or occasionally about shoveling snow, coffee addiction and pets!

It’ll come as no surprise that these four exceptional interns have the technical chops to be successful at Sylabs – knowledge and skills that have been broadened and deepened through their internship experience. However, we encourage you to reread their quotes, and notice the allusions to soft skills. Each of these self-sufficient interns has prospered as much for their drive, enthusiasm, initiative, ownership, and more as integral members of our distributed team – typically while balancing a standard academic workload!

Sylabs is extremely proud of these four exemplary interns and what they have achieved – for the company and for Singularity, but more importantly for themselves. Sylabs is always interested in hearing from prospective interns. If the hard and soft skills alluded to in this post resonate with you and if these are the kinds of experiences you’d like to have, we’d love to hear from you.


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