Grant Proposal: Code Along with Alex

Grant ID: 2wvx2b3

Summary:

“Code Along with Alex” is an education initiative to build DevOps and Rust capacity in the Graph Advocates community. Coincidental with the recently announced MIPs program, I host multiple educational streams each week to demystify getting started with Kubernetes and related container orchestration/monitoring tooling. As I learn in public, others are able to follow along in real-time and ask each other questions/answer mine. Later this month I will begin incorporating Rust content into Code Along sessions to help lay the foundation for future Substreams-focused content.

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If available, please enter a link to your project below:
https://alex-pakalniskis.github.io/CodeAlongSchedule/

Are you applying as a team or individual?:
Individual

What type of grant are you pursuing?:
Long-term (continuous)

Please select the category your project best fits into:
Education

Please select who you think will benefit from your project?:
Indexers, Subgraph Developers

How much funding are you looking for? (USD):
10000

Have you received funding from somewhere else?:
No

What’s your vision for how your project will impact The Graph and/or web3?:
My project gives structure, encouragement, and technical support to community members looking to get started with DevOps and/or Rust, but aren’t really sure where to begin or don’t want to go at it alone. Furthermore, my project aligns with MIPs timeline and goals, so I believe my sessions can contribute towards improving overall network quality of service by empowering community members to run performant and reliable indexers. Additionally, dedicated sessions to Substreams will help community members learn the requisite skills to benefit from the dramatic speed increases provided by the technology. Most core developer teams are hiring for Rust and DevOps, so I hope this project can be the beginning of an internal talent incubator to help fill open roles in the community.

What can you share about any past work that is relevant to this grant?:
I’ve been a member of The Carpentries community (https://carpentries.org/) since around 2019. As a certified instructor I’ve gained experience leading coding workshops and developing lesson curriculum for geospatial analysis with Python.

Likewise, I have experience teaching undergraduate lectures, running applied computer labs, and hosting office hours while attending graduate school.

Can you share any information about current/past web3 experience?:
Current member of Graph AdvocatesDAO (Operations and Advocate committees) and a technical teacher in the Graph Advocates program. Likewise, I attend a weekly reinforcement learning reading group with members of Edge & Node, Semiotic Labs, and GraphOps.

Why are you interested in contributing to The Graph and/or web3?:
I’m passionate about open source software, technical communities, and decentralization of power. As a member of the Advocates program I’m honored to collaborate with smart, funny, and kind people from all over the world. We all mat have different backgrounds and interests, but we’re all working towards building a more decentralized world.




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3 Likes

Hi Alex! I wanna say a couple things about your grant proposal:

I am glad you are doing these sessions and in general I think you are doing great work, you’re always pushing meetups and other such things. I think making an impact by getting more people the knowledge to code and work with these techniques could be great.
That said: 10.000 dollars seems like a fairly large amount of money and I’m curious how you see that money being spent. Could you write a little more about what the money is going to and what your future plans are?

4 Likes

Hi Alex,

I would like to mention I am very happy seeing these “code along” sessions popping up in my calendar! I believe these session could provide great long-time value to the Graph ecosystem, and provide a excellent learning opportunity to those engaging in the sessions!

That being said, I would like to ask you a few questions!

  1. What is the target audience? And how do you envision this target audience find out about these sessions?

  2. How many sessions would you teach with this funding? How many attendees do you expect?

  3. How could I see the result of these sessions?

  4. Could you give a breakdown of the $10k funding? How would this be used?

2 Likes

Hey @259tim and @Colson.

Thanks for taking a look at my proposal and for your questions. I figured I’d incorporate my response into a single post to consolidate the info for you and any other reviewer(s).

My budget is more of a range (I don’t think I could input that in the application) so I’m glad you brought it up. I’d appreciate your feedback and definitely open to changing the numbers. I tried to break down costs by item below, but some of the items are tentatively priced since I don’t have a specific model in mind quite yet. To keep things organized I broke up the response into sections. Hope that helps.

Target Audience

Currently I’m targeting existing members of the Graph Advocates program and people already thinking about joining. I initially held sessions within Advocate-ony Discord channels but switched to a public channel so as to encourage non-Advocate participation. I’ve had Advocates and non-Advocates in attendance ever since so I hope to continue attracting more prospective Advocates and the tech community generally.

Through Twitter (and occasionally Linkedin and Instagram) posts I am trying to reach attendees from outside the active Advocate roster and crypto Twitter sphere. Once the Livepeer integration is built into the Graph AdvocatesDAO website, session streams will also be displayed there so that people without interest in joining our server may also watch Code Along content (and get exposure to our community). I anticipate this additional platform will increase viewership although I’m not sure how we’d be able to track that without first looking more closely at Livepeer or VideoJS docs.

Session Frequency

I plan to teach 2-3 120 minute sessions weekly over the next six months, however I’m open to adjusting session frequency and duration of grant term to match demand. That works out to 48-72 two hour sessions or 96-144 hours. Happy to settle on a specific number but this is the current range that I have planned (and cadence I’ve been following so far).

Past sessions have had 3-8 people in attendance. After I moved sessions to an earlier time to accommodate non-US timezone participants I noticed an immediate uptick in attendance (Twitter promotion helps too). I expect sessions attendance to rise to 10-15 participants each as event awareness grows and I begin covering more advanced container orchestration topics, Rust programming, and applied Graph stuff (Substreams ftw). I’m also open to moving the sessions earlier in the day to accomodate more attendees, but it really just depends on if the community wants it.

My long-term vision for this project is to create a safe and approachable space for learning about the nitty-gritty technical concepts and software tools that power The Graph ecosystem and it’s many diverse dApplications (see what I did there?). One-off talks and workshops are great but I think learners appreciate a sense of community with a more regular meeting cadence, especially when diving into deep technical content. Ideally I’d love for this project to continue after the six months is up (as I only expect more cool tech in the future, with new and existing community members eager to learn about it), but this timeframe seems like a more attainable goal than “for the foreseeable future”.

Session Deliverables

Currently I am not recording sessions due to audio-visual limitations of my computer setup. Likewise I cannot “stream” audio and am relying on Discord microphone functionality. Once I am able, I’d like to record the streamed sessions and post them online so that community members may watch even if they cannot attend live. Likewise, this would enable others (or some algorithm) to translate the content into different languages so non-English speakers can also benefit from the content.

At the moment I am not recording participant feedback (but asking for in-the-moment feedback). As this project becomes more formalized I’d like to collect attendee feedback so I can track how I’m doing as perceived by participants. I’ll generate a Google Form (or similar) per session to track these sorts of metrics through time and across content.

I’ve toyed with the idea of generating POAPs for attendees but am still waiting to hear back from POAP team to review my submission from weeks ago. Students are not currently submitting completed lab/tutorial exercises but I could see them submitting some code in a repo or a screenshot of their work in return for a POAP (or something comparable).

Cost Breakdown

Tentative

Item Cost
6 months of 4-6 hours of streaming per week ~96-144 hours x $50/hour
6 months of 1-2 hour(s) of prepping and marketing for streams per week ~24-48 hours x $50/hour
Prebuilt computer with more than one HDMI input (currently can’t see Code Along stream, active window where I’m working, and Discord simultaneously). Also will use machine for demoing Kubernetes and Helm locally (to complement cloud-based lessons). Open to suggestions on machines since I’m more of a software guy ~$1500-2000
A monitor and cables to display Code Along stream content or Discord while I am presenting $150-200
Cloud compute fees from preparing and demoing concepts for attendees (some sessions will use local hardware, others will leverage cloud compute) ~$100-500

Total: $7750 - $12300

Concluding Remarks

Thanks for your time. Look forward to hearing from you.

4 Likes

Thank you @pakaliscious for the submission of this grant proposal and providing detailed insights into how you have arrived at your numbers, much appreciated.

Alex has taken initiative and already started the Code Along sessions a few weeks back. That provides us all with the chance to observe this proposal first hand and in real time. I have taken that opportunity last weekend and joined one session where he covered the topic of Kubernetes setup. I have felt a very unique experience during this session. It was neither “teaching” nor “experimenting”, but rather both of it at the same time. I don’t have an IT background myself, but have gained deep experience working with IT developers in my career. Alex has very solid web2 software development experience and is now getting deeper into the web3 space. The session felt like a perfect fit for web2 developers to literally code along (name of this grant proposal is spot on) with Alex while learning from his existing knowledge set and experience along the way.

It is not easy to actually do IT work in front of an audience and then also share your thoughts while you are doing it. Alex’s teaching experience definitely shows as he is able to keep up with the communication throughout the entire session. I fully support this proposal and hope that the Code Along sessions become a popular event that the technical community in The Graph ecosystem views as one of the pillars facilitating web2 developer onboarding.

2 Likes

I’ve been a part of several of these sessions and I must say they are very informative and helpful. I had no experience using some of the SDKs but with Paka’s help, I was able to install and try out these tools. They are also in line with The Graph’s roadmap as some of these sessions can onboard people who are interested in becoming Indexers by providing them with an environment to try out tooling and ‘test the waters’.

The code-along schedule also shows more interesting topics that I look foward to learning from.

I’m very much in support of this.

3 Likes

Thank you so much for the extensive reply Alex. I really don’t have any questions for you and I think this is a great proposal.

I do think that if you are going to do this regularly and the DAO grants this grant that the DAO should also promote the sessions on Twitter and the like so that we can continue to have good engagement.

Fully in support!

3 Likes

This is a fantastic initiative and also a great way to learn. Totally in support of this and also thanks @pakaliscious for the feedback provided.

3 Likes