How I won $2k hackathon (Rust)

How I won $2k hackathon (Rust)

Who am I?

I am Sandipsinh Rathod, a 2nd year student at Nirma University pursuing Bachelor's degree in Computer Science.

What is Rust?

Rust is a fairly new programming language, first stable version was released in May 2015. It is rapidly gaining popularity and it's been most admired language for 8 years in a row.

How I feel about Rust

I have been practicing Rust since 2021, the learning curve for Rust is indeed quite steep but I can say that it's all worth it. Rust forces to "unlearn" terrible practices that you might have learn from other languages and it forces you to write some better code! Yes, Rust requires a lot of practice, which may lead you to lose friends; but hey you will definitely have Rust's compiler as your new friend!

The contribution and hackathon phase

I never focused on money and I just like exploring stuff.. Past year, in Oct. 2023, I was looking for some repository to contribute for hacktoberfest and I stumbled upon this awesome repository called Tailcall. It not only had a lot of issues open but also bounties on it! Which means that I can actually earn while contributing to the repo. Win-win situation right?

My first contribution to Tailcall was to bring HTTP support for reading configuration files (#609) where I made my first ~$150 in open-source contributions.

Then a few months passed by and I had been contributing to Tailcall all that time, and I got a big opportunity, where Tailcall hosted a mini hackathon to bring WASM compatibility to the project with MASSIVE $2000 bounty on it (#750). Bringing WASM compatibility to a CLI application was huge challenge, it took me 3 days to make my first working PR (Pull Request) which make Tailcall compatible with Cloudflare Workers (i.e. WASM compatible).

Of course, 3 days of work wasn't enough, the code worked but it was huge mess. Luckily, at that period of time, my university announced that my batch had to do mandatory internship in upcoming weeks, and of course, I applied to Tailcall and they happily accepted me as their intern for upcoming month. I started my internship at Tailcall under Tushar Mathur (Ex VPE @Dream11) and Amit Singh. In the internship, basically my task was to cleanup the code and grab the bounty :p

After a month of hard work and 20+ PRs, I was finally awarded the bounty on 3rd Feb, 2024.

What did I learn during internship?

Well, this is more important section in my opinion. Before any contributions, I was just a "programmer" who can just get the job done, but the code quality might not be great etc etc...

After the completion of internship, I can proudly say that I became a software engineer. The team at tailcall is quite supportive, especially Tushar, being a great leader, supported me throughout the duration of internship. I can say that Tushar played an important role in upgrading my skills.

I always like exploring stuff and I really wanted to explore GraphQL and GRPC for a long period of time, but I always procrastinated. I can say that bounties were huge motivation for me to explore them and now I can say that I have fairly good knowledge about both of them.

The story still continues is a platform which allows people to put bounties on the github issues and allows contributors to claim 100% of the amount upon completion of the issue.

Tailcall uses the same platform. After taking some break I started contributing to the same repository again. Sticking to same repository helps in gaining deep understanding of the code-base. Now I am able to solve majority of the issues which are published at Tailcall. I never tried to contribute to any other repo, provided that financial gain isn't my first goal.

However by contributing to just to single repository, I am currently ranked #7 on leader board by making over $5000 in bounties, in 2 months.


I am not paid by any of the platforms which I mentioned in this blog, this blog is purely based on my personal experience in past few months.

I hope you learnt something new and interesting from this blog. Happy contributing!

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