Front-End Web & Mobile

Major League Hacking Fellows: Recap of Winter 2020 Program

Last September we welcomed our second cohort of students from MLH Fellowship powered by Major League Hacking. AWS Amplify was part of the inaugural MLH cohort last Summer and it was a great experience — you can read about it here.

In this cohort, we welcomed five students to our JavaScript team and CLI team as open source contributors to help reproduce issues, solve bugs and build new features based on developer feedback. We tracked their work on a public GitHub project board to stay in the true spirit of Open Source Software (OSS). The Fellows closed over 40+ GitHub issues, which directly impacted our customers and the open source community.

Meet the Amplify MLH Fellows

Wei He

United States

MBA Graduate @ University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and M.S. CS Graduate @ Georgia Institute of Technology

“Learn. Work. Excel. Repeat!”


Rahul Tarak


2nd year Computer Science student @ University of Toronto

“Interesting in building startups and shipping products”


Obikaonu Chibuike Samuel


Software Engineer @ Sastrix

“Enjoy seeing ideas turn into software that solve human problems”


Viktor Velev


2nd year Computer Science Student @ TU Delft and Upcoming SDE Intern @ Amazon

“Mathematics is the language of the universe, but not of the people”


Ahmed Elehwany


Senior Software Engineering Student @ McGill University

“Always learning!”


MLH Fellows describe their projects

Wei He

During the program, I have worked on 36+ issues and pull requests under AWS Amplify. Most of which are within Amplify JS with a few in Amplify CLI and Amplify Docs repositories.

With the help and direction from Ivan Artemiev on Amplify JS team, I quickly oriented myself with Amplify, a project I had never interacted with before. I began my Amplify journey by responding to customer issues and making pull requests in fixing minor development workflows while getting myself comfortable with the codebase. By the end, I had become familiar with multiple Amplify components including Datastore, Storage, UI Components, and proudly contributed to closing over two dozen issues and pull requests across the AWS Amplify organization making material improvements to the project.

Rahul Tarak

Since October, I’ve had the chance to work with the AWS Amplify team directly, contributing to their open source codebase.

I contributed to the main amplify repo, but also their documentation and their cli repos. It started with smaller tasks, replicating users’ bugs, finding new bugs, solving bugs, and improving documentation.Towards the end of the program, I was able to work on feature requests related to S3 and UI components.

Obikaonu Chibuike

Joining the MLH fellowship last October gave me the opportunity to work with the Amplify team and other fellows on the AWS Amplify project.

Together with other fellows, the Amplify team gave us a good overview of the project and the problems it was meant to solve. I started off reproducing some sample applications on the Amplify docs. Thereafter, I worked mainly on the Storage and UI package of the amplify project. After working with the team, I gained valuable knowledge on amplify and serverless technologies in general.

Viktor Velev

I was very excited, when I got to know that I will be working on Amplify. Мy work on Amplify consisted of reproducing and fixing bugs in the Auth package, more specifically the 2FA module. Auth is responsible for user registration, authentication, account recovery and numerous other operations.

As someone very interested in Machine Learning, towards the end of the MLH Fellowship I decided to take a look at the Predictions package – a set of AI/ML Cloud solutions. However time went by really fast and I didn’t explore it as much as I wanted to. This would be something I’d love to continue contributing to after the Fellowship.

Ahmed Elehwany

Working as part of the Amplify team was a great pleasure for me and an exciting experience to acquire. I enjoyed working with each and every member of the team and greatly appreciated the opportunity of contributing to such a fast growing open source project as AWS Amplify.

As someone who’s very interested in web technologies, it was very exciting for me to work on a serverless platform such as AWS Amplify with a great support for various languages and frameworks, which aims at streamlining the web development experience for many developers worldwide and saves a lot of time and effort as well as many lines of boilerplate code.

MLH Fellows Discuss their Learnings 


Wei He

Like most developers, I have been a beneficiary of open-source projects for years. Thanks to the invaluable opportunity provided by the AWS Amplify team and MLH, I had the privilege and honor to contribute to such a high-impact product with expert maintainers and talented peers. In addition to the technical skills and knowledge gained during the fellowship, I learned how to work efficiently and effectively when communicating with customers, solving problems, and working as a team.

As I said at the fellowship graduation, “we all went from open-source consumers to open-source contributors, both words start with a ‘C’ but what a giant leap forward for all our fellows!” This is such an amazing experience I will treasure for the rest of my career!

Rahul Tarak

Before MLH, while I loved open source code and made open source projects. I was too scared to contribute to larger open source projects. Through this program, with the guidance of MLH and the Amplify team, I was able to overcome this fear.

Apart from overcoming this fear, the programme enabled me to learn at an exponential pace. I grew as a developer in technical skills and other soft skills like communication, collaboration. The program provided an extremely positive experience both technically and socially in an otherwise trying time.

Obikaonu Chibuike

Open source is a loving friend with a open arms to welcome new contributors regardless of their skill level. I got to know this working with the Amplify team, my mentors and other fellows. There is always something you can work on and learn in the open source world.

Some of the important skills I learnt during the 3-months program are effective communication, collaboration and how to ask for help when I am stuck. I learnt how to work on a distributed team with team members from different parts of the world. Also, I improved my knowledge on technologies like JavaScript, Typescript, Amplify, React etc. Overall, working on the Amplify project was an unforgettable and enriching experience that I will always be grateful for.

Viktor Velev

When we joined the MLH Fellowship at first we had to choose the top 4 open-source projects we were most interested in. As soon as I saw AWS Amplify, I knew it would be one of my top choices. The main reason being that it is a project that touches a lot of computer science fields: Cloud, UI/UX, Backend, Big Data, CLI and there is even some Machine Learning. I was open to broadening my knowledge in any of these, and I learnt a lot, however there was a lot more to take from the whole experience:

Working in a team, getting to know a lot of people with enormous amounts of experience, observing their decision making process, and seeing a ‘demo’ of what the dynamics are like at a team in one of the biggest companies in the world – Amazon. All of this is extremely valuable to me and would always be at the foundation of my career in computer science, which I’m really thankful to MLH and Amazon for making this happen.

Ahmed Elehwany

Throughout the fellowship, I got the opportunity to learn a great deal about open source development and how it is applied in the development of large scale projects as AWS Amplify. I was able to use and interact with different modules of Amplify including react native and flutter as well as develop various sample apps and debug several issues.

Looking to get involved? 

The Amplify team is always looking to work with more contributors. You can take a look at our repos and keep an eye out for the “first time contributor” label. We try to keep our Issues well groomed. Also, you can respond to issues or PRs with your interest for contribution. This will allow our engineering team to communicate with you directly. Additionally, our Discord community has a section dedicated to contributor discussion.

Lastly, you can learn more about the MLH fellowship here.


About the Author: Matt Auerbach, Sr. Solutions Architect

Matt Auerbach is a NYC-based Solution Architect on the AWS Amplify Team. The Solution Architecture team educates developers regarding products and offerings, and acts as the primary point of contact for assistance and feedback. Matt is a mild-mannered programmer who enjoys using technology to solve problems and making people’s lives easier. by night, however…well he does pretty much the same thing. you can find Matt streaming on Twitch at /aws or on Twitter @mauerbac. He previously worked in Developer Relations at Twitch, Optimizely, Twilio.