How GitHub Is Revolutionising India’s Open Source Community In Data Science And AI Space

GitHub recently announced a slew of new products to significantly improve the developer experience for the whole GitHub community. An open source community, with more than 50 million developers at its platform, GitHub has been the go-to resource for data science and AI enthusiasts over the years. With the launch of new initiatives, it further aims to focus on solving the problems that matter to developers and removing barriers that stand in their way. By introducing GitHub Codespaces, GitHub Discussions and more, it aims to connect the developer community like never before.

Analytics India Magazine interacted with Maneesh Sharma, General Manager, GitHub India to further know the growth plans in India, hiring plans, challenges they face in being an open source community, and more. Here is the detailed interview. 

Analytics India Magazine: How does GitHub aim to benefit the developer community with its new initiatives?

Maneesh Sharma: GitHub has more than 50 million developers on its platform and we are committed to making it easier for them to share, build and collaborate to create software. We support developers in their choice of any language, tool, platform, and implementation, whether on premise or in the cloud.

Earlier this year, we made GitHub free for teams, by making private repositories with unlimited collaborators accessible to all GitHub accounts. Organizations can now use GitHub for private development without price being a barrier. We also rolled out our mobile app for iOS and Android so that developers can manage their projects on the go.

Thousands of communities live and breathe on GitHub and the recent announcements made at Satellite, our first ever virtual conference, reaffirm our commitment to foster them, help remove barriers, and connect new communities. By introducing Codespaces, GitHub Discussions and GitHub Advanced Security features, we are making the entire software development supply chain more collaborative and secure, and we are bringing the development environment to wherever developers want to work.

The pace of digital transformation in India demands for modern, reliable and secure cloud-based development toolchains. Enterprises rely on communities on GitHub to build and use software. With GitHub Private Instances, enterprises who are looking to modernize their software development environment with a secure cloud platform, can rely on the same platform that supports more than 50 million developers globally. I’m excited about continuing to support developers and organizations though their innovation journey.

AIM: How will establishing an office in India benefit the company? What are your plans with setting up the India office?

MS: The developer community in India is thriving and is the third largest for GitHub after US and China, growing 22% in the last one year alone. Collaboration on the platform is increasing and we saw public repositories grow by 75% in India over the past year. India is an important market for GitHub and by establishing our presence in India, we want to strengthen our relationship with the developer community and support open source development across developers, students, maintainers, and enterprises.

Our focus for India can be summarized around community and commerce. Our community initiatives are aimed at accelerating learning and innovation and strengthening relationships with open source maintainers and developers, startup communities and students. We want to simplify the lives of developers by providing a great platform to drive innovation.

India is also home to one of the largest communities of student developers in the world. Investing in them is a key part of our efforts to support the amazing developer ecosystem in India. GitHub Education now also offers the GitHub Hackathon Grant program to students in India, supporting student hackathons with up to $1,000 in grants.

For commerce, we will be ramping up our sales and channel focus to service customers as they embrace digital. Indian enterprises are going through a fundamental shift which will reshape the business landscape. Digital native companies are disrupting industries and dominating customer demands. These have created a sense of urgency in traditional industries and organizations to embrace digital as well. Organisations of all sizes, across all industries are looking at tech to differentiate themselves, stay relevant and keep pace with customer demand. Open source is an enabler of innovation, providing organisations with access to a global pool of talent and the tools to develop secure, reliable and scalable software – fast. The organisations that are most effectively speeding up business transformation are those who have turned to open source software development to succeed in a fast changing, digital world.

Companies like Swiggy and ArisGlobal are leveraging GitHub to enhance their software development operations, and provide the ultimate developer experience, resulting in increased productivity and faster innovation.

AIM: What are the hiring plans in India?

MS: Over the next couple of months, we will be building teams across various functions such as sales, marketing, services and engineering to help accelerate the innovation efforts of our customers and collaborate with over 50 million developers, across more than 100 million projects globally. Hyderabad and Bangalore will be our hubs in India. We plan to hire 200 employees across the country by the end of the calendar year 2020.

AIM: How has GitHub’s acquisition by Microsoft benefited the company in terms of developers’ outreach?

MS: GitHub operates as a developer first company, and we run independently from Microsoft. Microsoft has a wealth of experience in India. working with customers and partners over the last 30 years. As we scale our operations in India, we will be expanding our partner program in the market and leverage Microsoft relationships where it makes sense, to help accelerate our growth.

AIM: What is the importance of open source in the developer community? What are the biggest technical challenges that GitHub teams face in providing their services to large open source communities?

MS: The world is powered by software, and it touches every aspect of our lives, from our phones to our cars. Today, 99% of software projects are developed using open source. Open source has revolutionized software development, and created an interconnected community of developers that is deeply collaborative and extends across the world. It is also a great way for the next generation of developers to learn and upskill themselves. By collaborating and contributing to these projects, they get to learn from developers from across the world.

We have open source projects of all sizes running on GitHub, from Kubernetes, VSCode, Dockers to open frameworks written by student developers. We continue to develop features and functionalities that makes the work developers easy. For example, Codespaces, announced at Satellite, is a step towards this.

AIM: What is the secret to success in building an open source community?

MS: The open source community is dynamic and interconnected, driving innovative technology through collaboration as well as contributing back to the community. These are essential features of open source and pace of innovation depends on the level of engagement among the users. Open source originated remote work over 25 years ago during the early days of the internet. Since then, it has operated entirely online, with anyone, anywhere in the world collaborating together. As the open source community works on a distributed workforce model, keeping the community engaged is essential.

AIM: What tools does GitHub use behind the scenes to ensure seamless collaborations within the developers’ community?

MS: GitHub runs on GitHub. We use the world’s largest developer platform to engage with the community. We are regularly updating the platform with different features to support collaboration among the developer community. To increase productivity and responsiveness, we recently made the web notifications experience the default for everyone, to ensure that developers don’t miss out new developments in the repositories, projects or teams that they’re contributing to and can decide their own workflow.

AIM: What domains have seen a rise in the number of projects on GitHub recently?

MS: We are witnessing a fundamental shift in the technology landscape across the globe as well as in India. Businesses, no matter the size or sector, are becoming software companies and feeling the pressure of developing secure, reliable and scalable software – fast.

Projects like TensorFlow, VScode, Flutter, React, Kubernetes, Jupyter Notebooks and Ansible have been gaining a lot of traction across the developer community. We also saw Python overtaking Java as a preferred language by developers, second only to JavaScript. 

Also, In the midst of the uncertainty and seriousness of COVID-19, we’ve seen a global community of scientists, government officials, journalists, programmers, and concerned citizens come together to collaborate on a variety of projects with the shared goal of understanding COVID-19 and coordinating on the best response. 

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Srishti Deoras
Srishti currently works as Associate Editor at Analytics India Magazine. When not covering the analytics news, editing and writing articles, she could be found reading or capturing thoughts into pictures.

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