First Team CodeChix competition submission for open source software !!!


Published Sept. 16, 2013 by Rupa Dachere

Over the last 3.5 months, there has been a CodeChix team of 5 women engineers working towards a submission for an international competition on networking (ONF Driver Competition). This is the first competition submission by CodeChix and it’s a team of all women professionals – not students or independent contractors. I believe this is the first all-female team with these credentials to submit to an international competition!

These 5 women have full-time jobs as software engineers in Fortune 100 companies and two of them have little kids. They have spent almost all their weeknights/weekends and have also taken precious vacation days to work on this project on a volunteer basis! It all started when Deepa contacted me about this competition in May and said she wanted to build a CodeChix team and go for it! I was over the moon!

I am SO happy and tremendously proud to say that the CodeChix ONF Driver competition team has made their final submission @9:05pm PST yesterday (Sept. 15, 2013) !!!

Some Statistics:

Total time: 3.5 months
Lines of Code: 10,000+
Docs: Functional Spec, Block diagrams etc.
Size: 7MB+
Hours Spent (weeknights, weekends): 800 hours – probably more though

The team comprises of Deepa Dhurka (Technical Lead & Project Mgr), Ramya Bolla, Kajal Bhargava, Swapna Iyer and Rupa Dachere. We had Ben Pfaff as our advisor at the beginning of the project and that really helped us out and Dipjyoti Saikia, who was our MUL controller contact – we could not have done this without his help (he’s in S. Korea)! Shout out to Natasha Gude for her help in contacting Ben.

Deepa was the drive and technical lead on this project and she and the team pulled together through some truly difficult times:

  • Family emergencies (a team member’s husband got massively sick in India and she had to stay longer to cope with that)

  • Kids and home front – Two of the team members have little kids and everyone was juggling family/work life – not easy for a volunteer project that takes as much time and dedication as this one did

  • Getting legal blessing from 3 different companies

  • A big hurdle from one of the Fortune 500 companies that refused to give two core team members the legal OK to work on this particular open source project. We were stalled for 4 weeks because of this and had to go through a lot of hard work to get this company to pass the legal OK. And then we had to ask the ONF committee for an extension because of this delay. They gave it to us and extended the deadline for the competition by 4 weeks!

  • The “normal” team hours on weekdays were – 7p – 3am, I saw checkins at 4am/5am too. Weekends usually went till the wee hours of the morning.

  • Multi-user coordination and syncing using git and GitHub – it takes a LOT of time…

And it just goes to show – no matter what phase of life you’re in, if you have passion, drive and a CodeChix circle, you can reach for any star you want and get it! It is hard and will take a toll on you and everyone around you who depends on you – as long as you’re prepared to handle that toll, you’re golden.

I am truly inspired and humbled by this amazing team – just blown away.

We’ll be putting all the source etc. on the CodeChix github repo so everyone can take a look. And if you are interested in contributing to the source, please contact organizers at codechix dot org.

You can also support us by donating to our cause, spreading the word about the awesome and difficult work that we do and joining our membership in the Bay Area and Seattle. If you want to start a chapter and are a Sr. Engineer or Engineering Manager, ping us at organizers at codechix dot org.