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Posted April 21, 2023

Figuring it Out: Esther's Strategy for Learning on the Fly

The Sauce Labs Open Source fellowship is a six month program introducing beginners to the full open source life cycle of a project from user research to deployment. Since December, five fellows have been working on transforming Elemental Selenium to an open source project. 


This interview highlights Esther Cotton’s experiences in the fellowship program, including the challenges and rewards of learning new skills, collaborating with others, and balancing work and health. Esther also emphasizes the importance of having a proactive approach to learning and being open to continuous growth and improvement. 

Janackeh: Hello Esther, it's great to chat with you about your experience in the program. Could you start by telling us more about what you’ve been learning?   

Esther: Absolutely! I've been delving into a lot of new things since I joined the program, including learning new programming languages and tools like Java, Python, C#, Selenium, and Git commands. I've also been collaborating with the team and mentors, and working on open source projects. One of the biggest takeaways for me has been learning how to balance my work life and my health.

Janackeh: It sounds like you've been quite busy! What do you find most challenging about the program so far?

Esther: Honestly, it's the feeling of not knowing enough. There's always so much to learn, and it can be intimidating when faced with a task that I don't have prior experience in. However, I've learned to push through this self-doubt and rely on my tenacity and the help of my team and mentors.

Janackeh: That's a great mindset to have. How do you go about learning new things?

Esther: I use a variety of resources like Google, YouTube, and different documentation. I find it helpful to use multiple sources, as people explain things in different ways. If I'm stuck on something, I'll keep trying until it clicks. Sometimes, I'll even take a break and come back to the problem with a fresh perspective the next day.

Janackeh: It's great that you have a proactive approach to learning. What has been the most enjoyable part of the program for you so far?

Esther: I get so excited every time I solve a problem or figure something out. The feeling of accomplishment is so rewarding. Also, collaborating with the other fellows and mentors has been great, as I'm constantly learning new things about tech and life in general.

Janackeh: That's wonderful. What would you say is the greatest lesson you've learned during the program?

Esther: The biggest lesson I've learned is to always be open to learning and to never give up, even when I feel like I don't know enough. Additionally, I've realized the importance of putting my health first. 

Janackeh: That's a great lesson to learn. Do you have any final thoughts?

Esther: I'm proud of how far I've come in the program. For a long time, I let my health hold me back, but now I'm learning to prioritize it while also pursuing my goals. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this program and to learn and grow alongside the other fellows and mentors.

Apr 21, 2023
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