Collaborator Onboarding

Collaborator Onboarding - Omdena

Guidelines for Omdena Collaborators

AI solutions company

Introduction

A couple words from the Founder

Omdena was set up because we felt that both the current education system and tech for good sector needs to change. We think that education (especially technology education) should be based on skill development focussed at solving real-world problems and tech for good sector needs more actions than talk. 

Our approach is to build solutions solving social and environmental issues through global collaboration where people with the right skills and motivation come to collaborate, learn, share and build those solutions together. 

Q

Introduction

A couple words from the Founder

Rudradeb Mitra

Rudradeb Mitra ( CEO. Founder  Omdena )

Omdena was set up because we felt that both the current education system and tech for good sector needs to change. We think that education (especially technology education) should be based on skill development focussed at solving real-world problems and tech for good sector needs more actions than talk. 

Our approach is to build solutions solving social and environmental issues through global collaboration where people with the right skills and motivation come to collaborate, learn, share and build those solutions together. 

Omdena is building a new model of community driven innovation. We are here to learn, share, and solve problems together while helping each other develop. Thus I want people in Omdena to feel like a family. 

 

Omdena’s approach is about spurring free ideas and driving true innovation bottom-up. ​​I believe the world should become more collaborative. Such an approach creates empowerment, builds trust, gives access to data, generates diverse opinions, and spurs innovation. This also makes the solutions more ethical. 

Omdena is, and will always be, a community-first organization where our first focus is you. I hope you will find the journey in Omdena very rewarding and meaningful!

Rudradeb Mitra

Your Benefits

On successful completion of a project, you’ll get access to the Omdena Community, which includes:

Professional Development

Professional Development

  • First-come access to all other Omdena projects without applying
  • Career services to boost your skills and grow from various roles in projects, regardless of the stage you are in your career
  • Certificates & other perks like access to free courses & training opportunities
Community Network

Community Network

  • Network with like-minded people and receive mentorship at the same time
  • Work with leading organisations & social enterprises
Personal Branding

Personal Branding

  • Recognition and exposure through speaking opportunities, webinars and (your own) articles
  • Access to industry specific event
Paid Projects

Paid Projects

  • Work on paid Omdena client projects in teams of 1-5 engineers

Our Mission and Vision

Perseverance

Don’t give up easily!

Trust 

You don’t have to ask permission to take responsibility. Trust in you and do it.

Diversity

You are unique and we harness different perspectives to solve problems.

Logo

Agency

You are an equal source of inspiration for others. Be active and share your ideas to shape the project

Empowerment

We aim at supporting your career path

Self-motivation

Engage courageously, creatively and actively in ongoing challenges

Collaborative Learning 

 If you are stuck, ask others for help, there are no wrong questions.

Five Key Principles in Every Omdena Project

Active Participation is Required

Your level of participation will be assessed each week primarily by the number of substantive messages you post into task channels (see technical infrastructure), in addition to your collaboration via coding, and taking a Task Leader role. We take these assessments very seriously, and those who do not actively participate will be asked to leave the project after warnings. Discord activity will not be counted into assessment.

Collaborative spirit

We aim at a fair distribution of work in a challenge. Please remember to engage actively with your collaborators, and make sure you dedicate an indicated amount of hours per week. We grow together when we collaborate equally.

Bottom-up Collaboration

Everyone is free to pursue their own ideas about addressing the problem. There is no hierarchy on the team and no one will assign you a role. It’s up to you to jump in and collaborate. The first couple of weeks can seem chaotic and that’s by design.

Engage

Reach out to a Task Leader or Product Owner and offer to pitch in. If you need further guidance, reach out to the collaborators who have worked on previous Omdena projects in the #support channel (see technical infrastructure).

Transparent Communication

For the good of the entire community, discussions must be held openly in the slack channels. Private direct messages (DMs) are discouraged and will not be considered as participation. All interactions with the partner and domain experts should be in the slack channels and not via direct message or email. Please do not create channels for sub-groups other than the working task groups. Discussions should happen openly in the discussion channel.

So how does the Omdena challenge work?

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” 

— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French writer and pioneering aviator

The above quote very well describes Omdena environment. It is often difficult for newcomers to Omdena to grasp the idea that we do not have a top-down structure, no one is going to give you orders, and you have to self-drive and self-manage, but when you get it, you love it. 

“What happens in such projects is pure magic.”

Omdena Fellow

Our Development Methodology

Our development model is inspired by Self-Organized and Initiated Learning-Environments (SOLE), which brings tremendous benefits to accelerate your growth. You can watch a video on a SOLE use case here.

Roles

Every collaborator gets an email with his or her recommended role, but anyone is free to take up another role. In addition, you are able to grow within one or more projects and take on more challenging roles (see below):

Junior ML engineer
Junior ML Engineer

Writing codes and building models. On the graph Data Tagger and Data Wrangler.

ML Engineer
ML Engineer

You are recommended to write code & build the models

Lead ML Engineer
Lead ML Engineer

One or two technology leaders per task group who take the initiative to pick libraries and tools

Technical Mentor
Technical Mentor

You will help other collaborators move forward. A mentor role comes with a flexible time schedule and depends on the project context.

Observer
Observer

Someone who is not actively participating in the project but shadows the project. As an observer you do not get the community benefits when completing projects. You will have to reapply for future projects and participate.

Omdena Community

How Are The Tasks Organised?

Collaborative AI

The group breaks down the problem into tasks. A task is something that generates data or code. Each task forms a group, called a task group, which has one task leader, who represents the task and coordinates activities between the members within the task group. Each task will be in a separate channel in Slack. Since it is a self-organised environment, anyone is allowed to make their own task or join another task group. Each task group has to present their work weekly. On average 5-10 people actively participate per task group. 

Collaborators should contribute in tasks such as labelling, modelling, deployment, dataset collection. Collaborators have to share their regular updates in the slack workspace and commit in the Dagshub repository.

Anyone can create a new task channel, naming it in chronological order, and start working on it. You must announce it in the #task channel for the rest of the group to see and join. For example, we will start with labeling and name the channel task1_labeling. Read more about the task rules below:

Each technical task has 1 task leader and 1-2 Lead ML engineers. For the labeling task, there can be multiple subgroups (3 max ). At max 15 people are actively working. 
  • Preferably, each person is actively participating in one technical task, but if you can take multiple tasks, go ahead.
  • Try to take up the role/responsibility most appropriate for your given initial role. But of course, over time, we would encourage you to take up other roles, especially more complicated roles.
  • Feel free to self-appoint yourself as long as it is an initially given role from Omdena (see above roles).
  • Each week every task group presents their work, and those who are not performing in a group will be asked to leave or put on the watch list.

When you want to actively participate in a task, please add yourself to the task channel. Each task channel details can be found in the topic of the channel.

If you are a task leader, announce yourself and if others agree, feel free to represent the task group. You can maintain the task document and progress of the task. Every week each task group presents the work done by them, the task leader conducts the presentation via slides.

 

Benefits of being a Task Leader

 

As written by one of the previous task leader:

If you really enjoy working with others and learning from other people, you may want to be a task leader. As mentioned by one of the past task leaders, “Being in charge of this task pushed me to stay motivated and not to be afraid to test various different methods to the same problem”. Another collaborator said that her experience as a task leader in an Omdena project was highly appreciated by her job interviewer and helped her land the job.

 

• The role of the Mentors: One or two mentors with senior experience (or previous Omdena experience) help to advance the project if necessary. Our mentors encourage you and other participants to learn from each other and start working on solving different problems. Do not expect being told exactly what to do and how to do it, as this is not how you’ll learn and get the most out of a project. Think about the mentor as the person to whom to reach out if the project is stuck. You can always ask your question in the #support channel once you confirm that you have used all the resources to find the answer to the question and could not find the answer.

The role of the Product Lead: There will be a Product Lead appointed to the project who will make sure the project is executed successfully in the 2 month timeline. He/She will be responsible for scheduling the weekly team meeting, providing project status reports and communicating with the Omdena core team on progress. It is not the Product Lead’s responsibility to assign tasks or contribute to the technical solution building.

The Technical Infrastructure

TOOLS
CODE
COMMUNICATION

The standard tools we provide access to in every project include Azure  but you are free to use Google Collab, notebooks or other solutions if you prefer. We also provide access to other tools specific to the project. Please remember that in the assessment process we will take into account Slack and Dagshub activity. 

Community members are encouraged to constantly push their code to the subgroup’s Dagshub repository. We will give you access to the repo

For communication purposes, we use Discord, Dagshub and Slack. 

Written communication happens in Slack. We have different channels for different purposes. Please remember to be active in Slack throughout all weeks!

  • Channel #community_stories – A place where community members introduce themselves. You can see examples below. Feel free to share whatever is on your mind, we are not too serious ;P.
  • Channel #discussions – A place to discuss the project.
  • Channel #meetings – A place to announce upcoming meetings, including the Kickoff call.
  • Channel #problem_statement – A place to discuss and refine the problem statement for the project. Look at the pinned information to find the initial Problem Statement document.
  • Channel #questions – A place to post your questions to the partner. It is a good idea to tag the partner.
  • Channel #support – If you are new to Omdena, this is a place to reach out to experienced Omdena collaborators for guidance on how things work.
    Channel #task_summaries – A place where the task leader will post weekly progress summaries.
  • Channel #tasks – A place where task management happens. Later in the project, most of the communication happens within task groups while results sharing happens for the entire community. For each task, you can read the details in the document linked from the topic of each channel.
  • Channel #tools – A place to learn about the tools available for the given project.
  • Channel #task-0-knowledge – A place to share useful resources to solve the project (links, tutorials, meeting notes, task outlines, objectives). A document will be linked from the topic of the channel to store all the resources used.
  • Channel #project_results – A place where the task leaders will collectively craft a document or presentation that captures the work done and the findings of that work (this channel will be created halfway through the project). 

 

Closing Remarks

Our projects encourage creative thinking. Only if you can think independently & problem-solving oriented, you can make an impact.

Improves communication skills

You will present your work to your peers and the community. One of the most important skills is to be able to communicate your results and ideas clearly, at Omdena you will learn it. 

Develops self-driven planning and management skills

You will need to be courageous and self-motivated to find the best tasks mirroring your interests. We strongly encourage independent and creative thinking. You will diagnose the loopholes and propose your own tasks. 

Navigating across the tech domain

You will learn how the teams in the tech domain work and how to navigate the unexplored territories of AI and ML.

You will improve intercultural skills and make friends beyond borders

Our community represents people from over 85 countries. Connect and learn from each other.

“What seems a bit chaotic at first, one starts to appreciate the experience and realise the relevance of working in a self-organising environment, where crucial conclusions and optimal solutions eventually emerge as winners. It is very well welcomed and a valuable experience. It makes me proud to be a part of it.” 

— Vjeko Hofman – Omdena Collaborator

Now, Let’s Build a Meaningful Career!

Our 4 Impact Career Paths for You!

Our 4 Impact Career Paths for You!
Depending on your interest and skill, you can follow one or more of the 4 paths

The Four Impact Career Paths explained

Omdena created four Impact Career Paths in order to support the individual skill growth of Community Members. The four main paths are:

  • #1 Product Lead
  • #2 Community Lead
  • #3 Engineering Lead 
  • #4 Research Scholar

Getting Started: Your First Steps

We recommend starting your career with participation in two of three main Omdena pillars: Omdena School or Local Chapters. These two platforms make up a perfect place for gaining experiences and professional knowledge in AI, Machine Learning, NLP, Remote Sensing, Computer Vision, Data Analysis and other Data Science related fields. You acquire social and management capabilities on top of  real-world proven technical and engineering skills.

The Real World: Your First Omdena Challenge 

After successful completion we recommend you to join our 8-week core challenges, which are professional projects with organizations aiming at solving real-world problems. The challenges require more than 15 hours a week, regular contribution with a weekly assessment as well as vanguard engagement, creativity and motivation. Please remember that joining all Omdena projects requires diligence, hard work and regularity. Equal intensive contribution and sharing knowledge are the keys to collaborative success. It is advised that you complete at least 2-3 challenges and develop yourself from the position of Junior ML Engineer to ML Engineer.

The best and most promising graduates of Omdena core challenges are becoming Lead ML Engineers and are strongly encouraged to develop their skills further by participating in upcoming projects. Starting from here we propose you three further paths:

  • Product Manager (Path #1 and #2)
    As a Product manager you can further develop into Product Lead and Local Chapter Lead.
  • Technical Mentor (Path #1 and Path #3)
    As a Technical Mentor you are encouraged to become Engineering Lead.
  • Omdena School Instructor (Path #4)
    As Omdena School Instructor you are encouraged to become an Omdena Researcher.
  • We love to see you join us on this exciting journey!

EAT – COLLABORATE – SLEEP – REPEAT