From Kubernetes for work to Kubernetes for play

By Peeyush Gupta

My first encounter with Kubernetes was at my first job when a large banking customer wanted to evaluate Kubernetes on ppc64le architecture for application deployment. I was intrigued as it wasn’t every day when a bank seeks to consider something new! That was also my first interaction with Golang and I loved it instantly. I mean, who doesn’t love a cross compiled statically linked binary?! Before that, I was mostly working with Python and OpenStack, which are great as well. But Kubernetes opened a whole new world for me. Being familiar with Docker, which still was pretty new at that time, and the awesome cross-compilation capabilities of Go, I was quickly able to build a proof of concept, and my team loved it.

Getting involved upstream

The next step was to engage with the community to learn the right way to integrate some changes upstream. By upstream, I mean the vendor-neutral community building Kubernetes. That’s when I started looking into the upstream Kubernetes community and found a SIG (Special Interest Groups) I wanted to get involved in. I started talking to SIG Testing and the folks were really helpful.

Even after being completely new to the community, I never felt like an outsider. Everyone was super polite and ready to answer whatever silly doubts I had. To be honest, onboarding Kubernetes as a regular contributor is not a simple task to tackle, but amazing folks in the community make up for it.

I loved the experience of working with the community and it made me want to contribute more. I also wanted to help other contributors who are looking to get started with Kubernetes. I came across SIG ContribEx (Contributor Experience), whose purpose was to help contributors make the most of the Kubernetes community. It felt like the right place to be. But since I was in the IST time zone and most of the meetings were in the US time zone, it was a little difficult for me to attend those meetings. Luckily, at the same time, ContribEx was planning on an APAC-specific time meeting and I started attending those meetings. Today, I actively participate in two sub-projects; APAC coordinators, to help contributors in the APAC region; and contributor-comms, to improve communication for contributors.

Finding my place to contribute

The CNCF is home for Kubernetes and a lot of other cloud native projects. Once I got involved with Kubernetes and attended a couple of KubeCons, it made me aware of those projects as well. One of those projects is OpenEBS, a leading cloud native storage solution. I liked the project and started contributing and became a maintainer.

Most of my community journey has been about just showing up and talking to people. I started with code contributions, but today most of my contribution is non-code. And I believe it has never been a barrier to my journey as long as I want to contribute in one way or another. I have always received positive responses to any query and it’s amazing how ready folks are to help even if they have a very busy schedule.

My advice to anyone who wants to be a part of the community is to find an area of interest where they want to contribute, show up to the meetings and let folks know that you are ready to help. No matter what you want to do, there is something for everyone! Community is made up of people and we always need people. Good luck!