Congratulations to Unknown User (bholagabbar) as he has been nominated by his peers as this month’s Volunteer of The Month! We want to acknowledge his work and commitment to the OpenMRS community, so we asked him a few questions to learn more about his involvement with OpenMRS.
About Shreyans Sheth
Name: Shreyans Sheth
Online Handle: bholagabbar
I'm a Computer Science and Engineering Major at VIT University Chennai entering my Senior year. I've known how to code some easy stuff since grade 6 since we were taught BASIC, C++ and Java all throughout school but I began programming seriously during my freshman year, primarily solving algorithmic and programming challenges on platforms like Codechef in Java.
How I got started with OpenMRS
During the fall of 2015 when I was in my Sophomore year, my friends and I had been selected for a Hackathon where we ended up building an Android app to aid rural healthcare in India and the project was fairly successful.
Around the same time, I was looking to dip my feet in Open Source software. I headed over to the GSoC website and entered the tags healthcare and java and voila, there was OpenMRS.
Fast forward to the December holidays. I had no internships, was getting nowhere but was extremely motivated and wished to make an impact. I knew I code well and would do well, if only given the chance! With whatever courage I had left, I cold-emailed @michael (who's unfortunately no longer with the community) and @maanyaround Christmas time, telling them I had built this app, knew Java fairly well due to my background in competitive programming, found the idea and mission of OpenMRS exciting and wished to contribute to development.
He got me in touch with @harsha89 for a bunch of pair programming and help sessions. Harsha helped me a ton in getting started, setting up the environment and everything else.
Soon, I began working on my first issue where the Pull Request was (brutally) reviewed by @dkayiwa and the other core developers. One issue after an other, I began reading up on Spring, Hibernate and all the other tools used at OpenMRS with my partners in crime @pralay and @ivange94 who were also students contributing during that time. We'd chat, share tips and help each other out on the #openmrs channel becoming our hangout place after and before college hours!
By the time GSoC application opened, I was well versed with OpenMRS development practices, a part of the community by then and couldn't wait to submit a great proposal. I was learning so much about Software Development in general that my entire focus was on fixing the OpenMRS codebase and nothing more.
I researched a lot, chalked out a decent proposal, things worked out and after a long wait, I got selected for the Cohort Module Enhancement project at OpenMRS! I still remember the moment when I refreshed the screen, saw the colour change and saw a congrats! somewhere on the screen and jumped with joy. It was definitely THE defining moment for me, personally and otherwise.
Being mentored by amazing developers in our community was an amazing experience which I relish till date. I've worked the hardest during some of these days, struggled the most, learnt numerous things and it all paid off (and still is!).
Being one for the first GSoCers from my college was a big and I'm proud to say that somewhere, I had a hand in improving the programming culture at my university and giving students from lesser known universities hope that they too could make an impact somewhere! This year, we have 6 GSoCers from my university and one of them, @reubenv is right here!
My role at OpenMRS:
So as I mentioned, I began as a student developer, contributing the the OpenMRS codebase. Most of my work was on the Core, Legacy UI, Core Modules and Rest Webservices module. After GSoC, I was a mentor for Google Code-in 2016.
Due to my involvement in GCI, I was nominated to attend the Google Code-in summit, a fully funded Open Source conference in San Francisco and Mountain View California at the Google HQ from 26th -29th June this month! I feel extremely fortunate to be nominated for the trip and am thankful to @cshah, @burke and @surangak for the opportunity.
I'm also a GSoC mentor this year, mentoring @gayanw for the REST API Swagger Spec project and he's doing a great job!
I'm not as active as I used to be back when I was contributing but I do intend to take up more organisational roles here at OpenMRS in the future. I don't think I could ever really leave
What I do now
OpenMRS and GSoC pratically kickstarted my career and credibility as a student and software developer. I was fortunate to land internships at 2 of the best startups in my country with perks and pays I still find hard to believe I deserve. You can read more about my work and projects at my website http://shreyanssheth.com or on My GitHub.
I also lead Backend development and Operations at WolfBeacon, a fully open source platform for hackathon organisation being built by student developers and hackers from all around the planet. A lot of our development practices and principles are inspired by OpenMRS!
What my interests are
Besides's code? That's a tough one! I've been playing the guitar since I was a kid so I like jamming out to some good riffs. I like reading, listening to rock, researching new trends, contemplating of life in general and having a good laugh
What makes OpenMRS special to me
Everything! I would especially like to (again) thank @dkayiwa (mah man!), @wyclif , @darius, @r0bby, @pascal and all the other developers for all that they've done. They've done an amazing job at making OpenMRS what it is. All those code reviews, conversation and forums a hand in making me whatever I am today
Special shoutout to @maany for the mentor I've found in him and conversations on life and everything else.
That's about it. Thanks to the community for recognising as me as OpenMRS Volunteer of the month!