AWS Mobile Blog

Meet our MLH Fellows

Building Amplify as Open Source Software has given us many advantages — for one, it’s enabled us to accelerate development and work alongside our developers. We are always on the lookout for initiatives to grow our open source community.

As COVID started to affect student internships Worldwide, the folks at Major League Hacking (MLH) started to crank away on a clever alternative — pair eager and passionate student technologists with open source libraries who are interested in mentoring and investing in first time contributors. The MLH Fellowship was born. They narrowed the inaugural class to 144 from receiving over 20,000 applicants.

This summer we had the pleasure of mentoring and working with four MLH fellows. We split the students by assigning half to our JavaScript Repo and the other half to our CLI Repo.

The students worked diligently throughout the summer alongside three Amplify Software Development Engineers to make open source contributions that benefit Amplify customers and the wider community. In the spirit of open source, their work can be viewed on this GitHub Project. In total, the fellows closed out over 40+ GitHub issues!

Meet the Amplify Fellows

Sebastian Crossa, Mexico

3rd year Computer Science student @ Tec de Monterrey

“I’m invested in creating and contributing to products of high impact.”

Nicholas Chaloult, USA

3rd year Computer Science student @ Georgia Institute of Technology

“I’m passionate about learning new technologies, and I love discovering better ways to do things.”

Cedric Grothues, Germany

2nd year Computer Science student @ Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences

“I’m excited about open-source and learning new and improving existing skills.

Kenneth Aladi, Nigeria

3rd year Computer Science Student @ University of The People

“I love Technology because it makes life easy and it connects the world together”

What did they work on

Sebastian Crossa

During the past three months, I’ve been actively contributing to the AWS Amplify CLI repo.

At the beginning of the program, I started working on small bug fixes and open issues, and after a couple of weeks I got assigned, in my surprise, to work on a feature which involved adding support for tagging resources through the CLI.

Nicholas Chaloult

As a fellow, I contributed to AWS Amplify’s CLI. I spent most of my time helping other engineers build a new feature that allows users to write serverless functions in the Swift language and deploy them to AWS Lambda.

Before anyone broke ground on a production-ready implementation of that feature, I was lucky enough to participate in a research effort where we assessed the feasibility of multiple approaches to creating a cross-compilation toolchain for Swift and Amazon Linux. This was necessary because the Swift runtime was not supported out-of-the-box by AWS services like Lambda at the time. After a roadmap was finalized, I worked on functionality that allowed the CLI to interface with that toolchain.

Cedric Grothues

I spent my summer contributing to amplify-js, and like the other MLH fellows, at the start of the program, I worked on smaller issues to get familiar with the codebase.

Not soon after, though, I got to write proposals for and work on more significant features, including updating the Visual Studio Code extension and adding custom UI components to the react-native library.

Kenneth Aladi

I spent the summer contributing to AWS Amplify-js through MLH Fellowship, I started by creating a documentation and sample project of AWS Amplify React-Native Predictions, I and @cedric then wrote a proposal to update AWS Amplify VSCode Extension, after that was approved i created new vscode snippets for Amplify Predictions, then made update to six other Amplify Vscode snippets. We later made a proposal for adding custom UI components to the react-native library.

Learnings

Sebastian Crossa

My biggest takeaway from these past few months has definitely been the importance of learning how to effectively work in a distributed team, where a lot of the people you are working with have very different time zones, and given the current situation around the world, this is a skill that can be applied in a lot of different aspects of my life.

All in all, I’m grateful for being given the opportunity to work with such amazing people and on a project I personally feel passionate about.

Nicholas Chaloult

I learned lots about the software development lifecycle in the context of an open source project. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to watch decisions be made, and compare that process to my previous experience watching similar decisions be made by shops who were building more niche products for a handful of clients. I was exposed to elements of community outreach and requests for comments, design reviews, user-facing and developer-facing documentation, and code reviews, all of which was extremely valuable and relevant work experience that I’m grateful to have received.

Cedric Grothues

This summer has taught me lots about working on open-source software, and I am incredibly thankful for the amazing insight the Amplify team has provided into AWS’s code-reviews, documentation, RFCs, and open-source mentality.

Additionally, the fact that everyone was spread out worldwide, across multiple different time zones, made me realize how important working in a distributed team is, especially during a pandemic.

Kenneth Aladi

I have learnt a lot about working in a distributed team, the importance of proposals before a feature is being implemented, i have also learnt how to work on an open source project and the importance of code reviews, decision making, giving and taking feedback. I must say that this few months has availed me the opportunity to learn about all that I have been imagining how it’s being done, and doing that with AWS Amplified Team means i got that knowledge from one of the best teams in open source project.

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.