Lockdown — How Communities changed everything!

Soumi Bardhan
5 min readAug 30, 2021

Few events since March 2020 that I was a part of :

  • Hack NITR 1.0
  • International Women’s hackathon
  • Ami-Hacks May 8–10, 2020
  • Hack On
  • Hack Jaipur
  • Auth0 Hackathon : Aug 7–9, 2020
  • NetApp WIN Hackathon
  • ODSC West scholarship
  • Udacity Microsoft ML Scholarship
  • GSoD’20 — Sympy
  • GDSC Lead acceptance
  • EY GDS Hackathon
  • Hack Violet — January’21
  • POSTMAN API HACK: JAN 5–25, 2021
  • Black Wings Hacks
  • Mental Health Hacks
  • GDSC Solution Challenge
  • Schneider Go Green Challenge
  • Uber coding challenge on d2c
  • Flipkart GRID
  • Expert NLP Sentiment Analysis Hackathon
  • OpenCV AI Competition 21
  • Grace Hopper Conference Scholarship Acceptance
  • GSoD’21 — Wechaty
  • Accenture Innovation Challenge

Projects and Communities :

  • Sofia(OpenCV AI Competition 2021)
  • Speak Up( Black Wings Hacks)
  • Weather based stock prediction (P&G Global Innovation Challenge)
  • Intent based file classification system (EY GDS Hackpions)
  • Codery (Hack Jaipur)
  • Google Developer Student Clubs
  • Rewriting The Code Org
  • WomenTech
  • MLH

Start

I remember not being a part of communities till second year, i.e. my fourth semester. In that semester itself, in March, I went to Kolkata Kreate, organized by GDG Kolkata. It was the first community event I attended, thanks to

for telling me about it. It was an amazing experience, hearing people talk about technology and projects that they had been a part of and were still working on. It was inspiring. In the end, we were asked to brainstorm and come up with ideas with a few other people. It was fun! I remember our team’s idea was in the top ten ideas to be a part of Kolkata Kreate Kohort 1.0, where we would receive mentorship to implement our ideas.

Covid 19

That is when things started taking a turn for the worse and COVID -19 broke out. Our colleges were shut, in person events suspended and a lockdown was imposed. Few days before the lockdown was imposed, I was doing my first hackathon.

The first Hackathon Project

I remember how excited I was when my first REST API was running and felt grateful that I had asked

sir to help me out instead of hesitating. After it worked, I felt I could do it! I remember writing articles on the same topic, this time including solutions of the errors I had faced when I was trying out some other tutorial. I was so excited when a few publications left a note on my article saying they would like to include it in their publication. :) That was the start.

Open Source

I started doing hackathons with

who basically introduced me to open source and different technologies. We worked on several projects together. One of them is Sofia, which is an AI powered personal yoga instructor. It is a flutter app which uses Mediapipe to recognize yoga poses and also provide feedback. He was the one who had told me about the Google Season of Docs Program which I later got selected for. During my GSoD’20 development phase, the Sympy community was very helpful, from setting up the dev environment, mentoring and reviewing my Pull Requests.

Introducing Sofia for OpenCV AI Competition 2021 OAK2021 — YouTube

Summer 2020

I got accepted for a Computer Vision research internship at IIIT Allahabad in May. I learnt a lot in the two months of my internship. Video processing was a topic which was new to me, so I had to go through a lot of papers. My mentors were guiding me at every step. During this time, I was also doing my Udacity Microsoft Azure ML course, where I even gave a tech talk(!!) on Image and Video Processing with Keras and Tensorflow. I had to record the video and make it available online for the Udacity Study Jam, so I posted it on Youtube here. Now I post on Youtube occasionally, without worrying about judgements :). Coming back to summer, I got a task for my internship from Hiranya Growth Partners and found it hard, so I researched, reached out to people with expertise in NLP on Linkedin for some help. People in the tech community are so helpful. I learnt a ton of new stuff for my NLP project, which used Named Entity Recognition. I interacted with

whose transformers open source library I was using at the moment and that helped a lot in getting the project done successfully and on time.

I did several hackathons. A few of them I did alone too. I wanted to work on individual projects and also interact with new people from different communities.

helped me with my ML projects. was there to help me out when I wanted to create a frontend of an application and was stuck. Sandeep had literally forced me into creating a Gpay account to start online UPI payments, due to which I was able to receive payments from anywhere in the first place! XD. also helped me during my research internship, when I hit a blocker. Apart from the research, I got a chance for two month mentorship by engineering experts at NetApp and EY during their hackathons, for which my team’s idea were selected. Interacting with these mentors inspired me, how much they loved working and how passionate they were in their fields. They helped me every time I was stuck at a major problem, suggesting alternative methods and kept the momentum going.

Tech Communities

I became a part of several communities during this time, Rewriting the code.org, WomenTech Network and google developer student clubs. I absolutely loved the first Career expo that RTC organized. I networked and collaborated with so many people. I came to know about a lot of opportunities. In my time as a lead at DSC IIIT Kalyani, I was a part of several programs, including organizing the first iteration of DSC winter of Code, a two month long event focused on introducing students to new technologies like ML, web dev, mobile dev, AR/VR and blockchain.

DSC IIIT Kalyani Winter of Code Opening Ceremony Youtube Stream

Leetcode

My brother

had told me to start Leetcode from first year. I sat for several off campus assessments for summer internships in August to November where leetcode was extremely helpful. I also got to experiment with OpenCV OAK-D device. We integrated it with Sofia, which improved the pose recognition with 3D keypoint detection!

My tenure as a GDSC Lead came to an end in July 2021 and I am so grateful to everyone in the team, especially

for all the support in management. It’s August 2021. I have completed my internship at Goldman now and am participating in Google Season of Docs again this year under the Wechaty Organization. Got a chance to work with , who is an amazing team-mate. I am also working as a freelance technical writer. Looking forward to the virtual Grace Hopper conference this September!

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