Hi I’m Michelle 👋, and I’m a student in the final year of my undergraduate program in Computer Science at Georgia Tech as part of a joint Bachelors’s and Masters’s program. After changing my major in college from Chemical Engineering to Computer Science in college, the MLH Fellowship provided me with the opportunities and community to grow as a developer.
After graduation, I hope to be working on technically interesting and meaningful software projects, and my experiences with the fellowship have greatly boosted my confidence in making that dream a reality, so I wanted to share my experiences in this wonderful program with more people!
How I Learned About the MLH Fellowship
I became an MLH Production Engineering Fellow in the Summer of 2021. The opportunity had come up in a newsletter I had subscribed to after participating in an MLH hackathon. At the time, I was considering the switch from studying Chemical Engineering to Computer Science and was looking for practical, hands-on opportunities to learn more about coding and technology.
About the MLH Production Engineering Track
With the Production Engineering fellowship, I worked with two other fellows in creating an end-to-end web app. Over the process, I not only learned modern full-stack web development but also how to set up CI/CD pipelines and monitoring. These are incredibly vital parts of software that are often overlooked in academic settings and even software engineering. They are often overlooked in academic settings and even in internships, where the focus is usually on one component or feature rather than the whole development process.
As a cohort of three, we were all in different countries and time zones. This helped me learn so much about the communication, organization, and teamwork needed to complete a multi-faceted project with a distributed group of varied interests and skills.
About the MLH Software Engineering Track
During my Production Engineering Fellowship, I learned about and used some really amazing open-source technologies (Kubernetes, Docker, etc). With the encouragement of my amazing pod and pod leader (shout out to the Reliable Rhinos and Kunal Kushwaha!), I decided to apply for the Software Engineering track of the MLH Fellowship in the Spring of 2022.
During this fellowship, I focused on Meta’s HHVM project: a virtual machine for executing programs written in Hack (an open source programming language). I worked with another fellow and divide-and-conquered issues in the realm of introducing new quick fix suggestions to the Hack developer ecosystem.
With this project, I had to learn a completely new language and learn how to familiarize myself with a large, existing repository and community in a short amount of time to start making meaningful contributions. Both experiences had helped me learn and train skills that have been vital to my development as a software engineer and provided me with great examples of my skills in these realms for behavioral interviews.
By the end of the fellowship, the quick fix features we had developed had been used a couple of thousand times by Hack developers in just a few weeks.
Launching My Career with the MLH Fellowship
The MLH Fellowship allowed me the opportunity to develop both soft and hard skills that I’ve continued to use in academic classes, personal projects, industry internships, and interviews.
Both the Production and Software Engineering Fellowship Track helped me learn and train skills that have been vital to my development as a software engineer. They provided me with great examples of my capacities that I can speak to confidently in behavioral interviews and boosted my abilities and confidence as a developer.
Using both of my fellowship experiences, I have been able to land software engineering internship roles with amazing tech companies across multiple sectors, from Stripe and Jane Street to LinkedIn and Duolingo. These experiences also allowed me to be well-prepared for my internship at Stripe this past summer, which led to a full-time offer!
Advice for Applying to the MLH Fellowship
For those applying for the MLH Fellowship, give some real thought to those essay questions. I think what helped me stand out when I first applied with very little technical experience was the enthusiasm I showed both in my essay responses and during my interview round for the small personal project I had turned in. Though the project I had turned in was nothing remarkable technically (vanilla JS and HTML canvas connect-3), I had learned a lot through the process and let my enthusiasm for the development and learning process show through.
Interested in the MLH Fellowship?
For more information about the MLH Fellowship and to apply for the program, visit our website here. Stay connected with Michelle on LinkedIn here!