Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) was mostly a volunteer activity till a decade back. However, in the last decade, it has seen high professionalization and more contributors now work full or part-time on FOSS projects. While tremendous progress has been made in this area, as per a study, only 11% of open source participants are women. Another study of GitHub developers from 2015 found that only around 6% were women. While we do not have data specific to India, we do know that Indians are making a great impact in the world of FOSS. Jigyasa Grover, an engineering student of Delhi Technological University, has made it to the top 5 finalists across the globe for the Red Hat 2017 Women in Open Source award in the Academic category for her contribution to the world of FOSS. The winner will be announced at the Red Hat Summit in May’17. We celebrate her success story.
True to the meaning of my name Jigyasa which means ‘curiosity’ in Sanskrit and Hindi, inquisitiveness has always been my forte.
During pre-university days, introduction to computer fundamentals and rudimentary programming was enough to infect Jigyasa with love for computers. Early in her university days, she began working in competitive algorithmic C/C++ programming, Java, Android app development, HTML/CSS, PHP, Python, and more, which led her to explore open source. She began working on Pharo, an open source Smalltalk IDE, and eventually became one of the top contributors to Pharo 4.0 released in 2015. She was a participant in Google Summer of Code in 2015 and 2016, and has been awarded research opportunities by the National Research Council of Canada and the ESUG at Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) France.
Her passion for helping women get involved in technology grew from her personal experience going from an all-girls high school to a university technology program with few women. She is working to inspire others by sharing her work and experiences through blogs, code sharing on GitHub, organizing code labs and tech talks, leading teams of women in major hackathons, speaking at conferences, and participating in mentorship programs. She is the director of Women Who Code Delhi, and she participates in GDG, Google WTM, WiSE, and Systers IWiC. She is a platform developer, organizer, and mentor for Learn IT, Girl!, and has conducted Android app development workshops for teenagers in Singapore. She has received major accolades for her work on numerous open source projects from organizations like the Linux Foundation, Anita Borg Institute, and more.
All this has required facing many challenges, balancing academics, extra-curricular activities (I am a social work aficionado working with Enactus, a semi-classical dancer and an ex-NCC Cadet) and I can humbly say that I have been fairly able to juggle them all.
Jigyasa is planning to explore the topics of machine learning and digital image processing and continue her work with groups like Women Who Code. She is also excited to take on more mentoring opportunities through Code-Heat, Google Code-In, Learn IT, Girl!, and Outreachy, while organizing more code labs, programming bootcamps, and tech sessions. Selection as finalist for 2017 Red Hat Women in Open Source award is a true recognition for her contribution to the world of open source.
My goal is to make significant and valuable contributions to the computing world through quality research work that will be used for social good.