LinuxFestNW 2013: How We Mentor “Rock Star” Students
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LinuxFestNW 2013: How We Mentor “Rock Star” Students

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  • 1. How we Mentor"Rock Star" StudentsLance AlbertsonDirectorlance@osuosl.org@ramereth
  • 2. About me● Director OSU Open Source Lab● Systems Admin Background● Virtualization (Ganeti+KVM),CFengine, Puppet, GlusterFS● Gentoo Developer● Trumpet Jazz performerHow we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 3. About the OSU Open Source Lab● FOSS hosting for high-impact projects○ 160 projects○ Drupal, Apache Software Foundation, LinuxFoundation, Python Software Foundation● Co-location, private cloud, managedhosting● 4 FTEs / 18 undergrad students● Systems Engineering, Development, andMedia teamsHow we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 4. Students10 Years of FOSS Hosting at the OSU Open Source LabLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 5. Powered by Students● Systems Team○ Server installation, machine deployment,configuration management, servicedeployment, ticket troubleshooting, etc● Development Team○ Python/Django, Some PHP & Ruby, IU, backend,middleware, infrastructure dev tools, design● Media Team○ Public relations, blog posts, interviews, socialmedia, event planningHow we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 6. Students10 Years of FOSS Hosting at the OSU Open Source LabLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 7. Students10 Years of FOSS Hosting at the OSU Open Source LabLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 8. Post-graduation Careers● 60 OSL alumni student and staff● Types of careers:○ Systems Engineering○ Software Development○ Management● Startups - CloudKick (Alex Polvi)● Companies they work at○ Mozilla, Rackspace, Google, Facebook, Intel,other small startupsHow we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 9. Recruitment● Mailing lists● OSU Beaver JobNet● Website / Social Media● Class lists● Word of mouth● Beaver BarCampHow we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 10. Traits we look for● Problem solving skills○ More than just "Googling it"● Basic understanding of Linux○ Can they install packages, setup services?● Self Starter● Do they have passion about the position?● Can they adapt and learn quickly?● Whats their personality like?How we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 11. Skills we dont require initially● Configuration management● Production environment skills● Open source community experience● Web frameworks● Extensive version control experience● Already being a "rock star"How we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 12. Interview Process● Understand their Linux experience○ How long have they used it?○ What have they done with Linux?○ Do they like to tinker with Linux?● Open book screening quiz○ Basic questions through advanced○ Gauge their experience level better● In-person interviewHow we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 13. In-Person Interview● Non-technical questions (personality)● Problem solving○ Read through a bash script or code○ Walk through a typical serverproblem● Basic programming concepts● Hands-on codingHow we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 14. New Hires: Learning about Linux● Read the Linux Training Guide○ Linux Fundamentals○ Linux System Administration○ Excellent crash course on Linux○ GNU Free Documentation Licensehttp://linux-training.be/downloads/https://github.com/linuxtraining/ltHow we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 15. Linux Training GuideHow we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 16. First six months as a new hire● Learn about configuration management● Understand how services interact witheach other● Walk through common tasks○ Machine deployment, setting up new services,tickets, user creation, client/project interaction● Learn about how our infrastructure works● Full-root from the start, but mentoredHow we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 17. Creating a learning environment● Full-timers and senior students help withmentoring● Find a task, and walk them through it○ Try to teach a group of students when you can○ Let them do the task themselves○ Its OK to make mistakes, just dont do itrepeatedly or delete data● Show more advanced tasks later on● Giving them root is importantHow we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 18. Beyond the first six months● Give a student a major project to work onand own○ Let them do the research, design, testing andinitial deployment○ Full-timers assist when needed● Gives them something to be excited about● Something other than just doing tickets● Learn new cool things for the rest of theteam!How we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 19. Expect high standards● Create an environment where we pusheach other harder● Competitive yet still collaborative● Senior students set standards and newhires tend to follow them○ New hires want to become like the seniors● Always be professional but always havefun tooHow we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 20. Working over Summer term● Can work full-time 40 hour week○ No class/schedule interruptions○ More productive, less context switching● Students learn 3-4 times more over asummer than they do in a typical term● Encourage younger students to work overthe summers● Senior students eventually get internshipsHow we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 21. How the OSL is unique● Give them root (early on)○ Not many Universities allow this● Very hands on mentoring from staff○ We dont expect students to know everythinginitially● High-profile production sites● Students interact with clients worldwideon a daily basis● Access to high quality internshipsHow we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 22. Future Plans with the program● Moving to an academic unit (EECS)● Building a program that impacts morestudents○ Impact 50-100 students○ Start out with bi-weekly workshops● Developing more FOSS curriculum at OSU○ Offering classes on python, ruby, drupal,sysadmin, foss development, etc● Collaboration with other UniversitiesHow we Mentor "Rock Star" StudentsLance Albertson | lance@osuosl.org | @ramereth
  • 23. Questions?Lance Albertsonlance@osuosl.org@ramerethhttp://osuosl.orghttp://lancealbertson.comFollow OSUOSL@osuosl | fb.com/OSUOSLG+ "Open Source Lab"This work is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.Copyright 2013