[Super Student] Sayak Sarkar, a master of everything open source


What really intrigues programmers to contribute to open source communities is a sort of mystery to many. We have earlier tried to decode the lure of open source development in our articles and one key point that has been consistent among all those articles, was the concept of learning. Open source offers lot of opportunities to learn new things everyday. The road to open source gets more interesting at every turn, more so if you happen to be a student contributor.

Sayak Sarkar

Our Super Student this week is one such open source enthusiast Sayak Sarkar, who probably loves Mozilla (an open source community) more than anything. He has been contributing to the same since 2011. And in between he also got into GSOC (Google Summer Of Code) twice, interned at Red Hat and Mozilla Foundation, he is also an active contributor as an Mozilla Representative. He has appeared for his M.Sc in Computer applications from Symbiosis International University and is awaiting results: “hopefully I will pass,” says the young man.Early life and love for computers

Like any other geek, Sayak's love for computers started at an early age when he used to watch his cousin play computer games. Later when a personal computer was brought home, Sayak quickly got used to it and Java was the first language he mastered. His enthusiasm for computers however never rubbed off on his normal studies and he considers himself as an average student: “I never really excelled at studies but I did enough so that I could move ahead in life,” admits Sayak candidly. In 2008 he enrolled for B.Sc in Computer Science at University of Calcutta, where he learnt more of computer architecture, as the course was heavily structured around it. Things got more interesting when he got into Symbiosis, as he learnt about the open source community. “Before Symbiosis my only interaction with open source was a copy of GNU operating system that I had, but never really used it much,” says Sayak.

Mozilla, GSOC(s) and events

At Symbiosis he was introduced to SDRC (Software Development and Research Centre), a student driven community where they work and develop software for different purposes. Sayak recalls “At SDRC I was primarily responsible for all the web development work that was done, such as developing website for fest, college etc.” Later same year (2011) he also started working as Mozilla Rep, which happened to be his first project at Mozilla. Also at the same time he was working on Mozilla translations in Bengali. Later in 2012, he was selected for GSOC and he contributed on the creation of visual keyboard for Bengali known as Disha.

Later in the same year, he also got an internship at Red Hat, where he worked on the localization projects for Bengali such as LibreOffice. It was as if the year was planned according Sayak wishes, India became a prime focus for Mozilla webmaster for the various successful events conducted on the platform. “In 2012 we were organizing so many events of Mozilla like Mozilla Carnival, MozParty in and around Pune that India got highlighted. And also the fact that these events were very successful,” says Sayak with an enthusiasm that comes clearly in his voice.

But that was not the end of things last year. He also got introduced to Drupal Pune community and started contributing to the R&D cell of his college, and was invited to be part of the Mozilla festival in London, by Mozilla foundation.

In a society where every parent advises his/her child to study well and get a job, Sayak would find many rebels like him, who do not think much of bookish knowledge, but would rather focus their attention on learning things practically. Sayak has got into GSOC again this year, he is working on Wordpress app on Firefox OS and has been invited to Athens earlier for Mozilla Rep training (he is still a Mozilla Representative). He plans to continue his GSOC internship till September, and with so many achievements under his belt, we are sure he will be much wanted by companies who are recruiting. We wish all the very best for the journey ahead.

Say hi to Sayak on Twitter or Visit his website

If you think you deserve to feature in this column or know anyone who does, you can drop a mail at anurag3rdsep@gmail.com


Updates from around the world