The story traces back to February 2019 when I joined the GitHub Campus Experts program, and ever since I did, I've been coming across a lot of queries about the program and my experience. This blog will help you get an insight into everything you need to know. One thing I'll say to keep you hooked: this program helped me learn a lot (read: A LOT) to grow in a lot (again? 👀) of aspects. ✨
By that, you might've guessed that this ain't another over-hyped program out there that uses students as marketing bots, but one that is actually providing some value and opportunities to them.
Let's plug-in some good music before we dive right in! 🎶
*thrill intensifies* 🚀
GitHub Campus Experts is a student leadership program by GitHub Education through which one can learn the skills to enrich technology communities at their campus and improve the student developer experience. Campus Experts receive training and mentorship by the GitHub Education team, along with opportunities to join events by GitHub and those by Campus Experts; helping to connect and learn from impactful students and professionals in the tech industry.
GitHub Education actively organizes webinars and and training sessions to improve our technical and leadership skills being a GCE. Apart from all the learning and networking opportunities, GitHub also supports us with swag and budget for our events, along with travel support for its premier global conferences - GitHub Universe and GitHub Satellite.
To become a GitHub Campus Expert, you'll have to make sure that you meet these three necessary requirements:
- Being at least 18 years of age and a student at a post-secondary university/institute.
- Being passionate for technology and community-building.
- Being at least one full year away from your graduation.
This is where I'll be sharing how I went through the process of becoming a GitHub Campus Expert. I've divided the process into 5 phases.
Before you can apply for the GCE program, you'll have to apply for the GitHub Student Developer Pack and get verified as a student.
The GitHub Student Developer Pack benefits page is from where I came to know about the Campus Experts Program. The pack offers tools and services worth over $200k (yes, you read that right!) per student - for free, so that they could learn seamlessly through hands-on experience, without worrying about payments or subscription costs associated to them. Some of the popular premium tools and services include Microsoft Azure, Unity, JetBrains, GitKraken, DigitalOcean, MongoDB, and many more!
When I first applied for the SDP, my application got rejected due to the fact that the document I submitted as proof of being a student (my college ID-card) didn't have a valid-through date mentioned on it. Basically any recently-issued document with a date of issue/validity mentioned on it, works. After a few days, I applied for the SDP again (around October 2018) - this time with my college fee receipt as a proof, as it had issue-date mentioned on it. I got access to SDP after another week of applying for the second time.
You can learn more about how you can get verified as a student and get the developer pack without a college-issued email address, here.
Once you have the access to the student pack, you can apply to become a Campus Expert by logging in with your GitHub account. The application only consists of one question - 'Why do you want to become a GitHub Campus Expert?', where you'll have to share your passion for technology and communities, and how the program could benefit students at your campus.
I don't exactly remember what all I wrote in my application, but I've seen a lot of people reach out telling me that their application got rejected due to unknown reasons, asking if they can apply again, and how they can improve their application. I'll provide some tips here that would (hopefully) be helpful during your application, and probably for your training phase too:
- There's no fixed, right or wrong answer to any question in the world, and this program is no exception; it's all about your experience and your passion for building and scaling tech communities.
- Your open source contributions won't be considered for this program; it's totally okay if you feel like you haven't contributed much to open source projects.
- If your application got rejected but you know that you did put in a lot of effort, there are good chances of YOU not being the reason behind the rejection. GitHub Education receives a lot of applications that makes it really tough to select many of them.
- There are chances that some folks from your campus might already be in the training (possibly without you knowing), thus reducing the odds of more people from the same campus to get shortlisted. Even though GitHub Education tries to select as many applications as possible, the bandwidth isn't unlimited.
- You can apply for the program again after a few months (once per semester); try to put in more efforts while filling in the application, in a more comprehensive way.
- In case you're unsure about how much to write, I'd say - better make it too lengthy than too short. Write your heart out, but be honest with everything you write.
Note: A lot of people get confused upon receiving the confirmation and assume that they've become a Campus Expert already, which is not true. You'll have to complete further phases, including the training before you get entitled as a Campus Expert.
And finally, this is where the fun begins! This is where you'd need a consistent enthusiasm. The training consists of 7 modules having questions focusing on soft-skills, technology, content and community. The training happens on GitHub, you can use any text editor to complete the modules, and then open a single pull request and submit all the modules in it by committing as you complete them. A few days upon opening the PR, someone from the GitHub Education team would join the conversation and provide an extensive review on your work with insightful suggestions on how you can improve. You'll have to keep updating your modules getting 2-3 iterations of reviews, and once your work is satisfactory, the PR will be merged by the reviewer. I started with my training in November 2018, and my work was reviewed and merged by Kevin Lewis in January 2019. (woohoo! 🎉)
I got 3 reviews in total; the first one in about a week, the second one took over a month, and the third one about three weeks. Those delays would be different in your case depending on the number of people being in the training at that time. It works in a queue system, so you'll have to wait for your turn to get a review each time. All that could take as little as a few weeks, to a few months (~3 months in my case), and as long as 6-8 months too! While being in the training phase, remember:
Patience combined with a little hard-work is the key to success.
Note: Please do not reach out to any Campus Expert asking to share their submissions. No Expert would ever share their work with you, as the modules are oriented towards your own community. They are designed in a way to help you become a better leader and understand your community better. We, the Campus Experts won't ever want to take away that learning opportunity from you, and you shouldn't too. You won't feel satisfied either if you do it in such unethical way - even if you become a Campus Expert by any fractional chance.
We're not done yet? 😮 Fret not - we're almost there!
After completing the training, you'll have to go through a screening call with the Program Manager. At the time of writing this blog, the program is being managed by Juan Pablo Flores. My screening call was with Lieke Boon, who was the PM at that time. The call was purely based on questions around me and the developer community at my campus.
There are no fixed questions for this, and the PM may ask you anything to just know you and your community better. It's not an interview, so relax, just like this Corgi...
You've captured the flag. Now is the time to mount it!
I've been mentoring a developer community at my campus - the ACM Student Chapter at BVP, while having served as the youngest Vice President there, and being a GitHub Campus Expert I've organized and contributed to 50+ sessions in just under a year including workshops, seminars, hackathons and conferences, and have given talks on Android Development, Open Source, Design and Community Building, creating an impact among few thousand people.
The best thing about being a GitHub Campus Expert is the fact that you get to meet so many amazing and inspiring people, and the wider impact that you get to create. If I go in-depth talking about the events I've been a part of, the blog would take a long time to read. So I'll let the pictures speak for themselves here...
Those were some of the memories that would be cherished forever! 🎉
As we're heading towards the end, I would like to express my gratitude to Juan Pablo Flores, Lieke Boon, Joe Nash and Kevin Lewis for their admirable work in building this amazing student program being its backbone, and all the Campus Experts for their extensive work in supporting student developers to achieve more. A huge shoutout to all the wonderful Hubbers out there contributing to make GitHub a better place for millions of developers across the world! 🌎✨
And that's all, folks! In case you have any further questions regarding the program or my experience with developer communities, you can reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Oh, and wait a minute! If this blog ever helps or motivates you to become a GitHub Campus Expert OR to get associated with developer communities, always remember...
"With great power, comes great responsibility."
✍🏻 with ❤️ by Manbir.