Interview - Akshay Patel


(Open Data Kit) #1

Name: Akshay Patel (@Akshay_Patel)
Motto: Use technology to solve problems

A little bit about me
I am currently pursuing my Bachelors in Computer Engineering from Pune Institute of Computer Technology in Pune, India.

Since my childhood, I was fascinated by “Computers”. I got my first computer in 2007 and it made me curious about how the black box (CPU) worked, that hummed whenever I used my PC. Soon I was introduced to a thing that fetched information about whatever I asked, something that we call the “Internet”. So, from a very young age, I had made up my mind about making my career in the field of technology, solely out of curiosity to learn. I felt really proud when I had run my first “Hello World” program. Later I learned (and I am still learning) about Linux and Open Source software.

I strongly believe that computers can be used to solve any kind of problem. I started programming from 2014. I started with C then C++. Few MOOCs helped me improve my coding skills. I like Android development. Also, I have recently started to explore the field of Machine Learning and learned the basics of Tensorflow. I have also played around with NodeJS, Python and bit of Assembly Language Programming.

Apart from being tech savvy, I love reading. I am a “Potterhead”. You can say “Accio Akshay” to summon me.

How did you first find out about ODK?
I was going through the list of Organisations that participated in Google Summer of Code, 2017. This is how ODK caught my eye. I joined the Slack channel and started finding ways to contribute to the organisation from November 2017. Through ODK I learned that even simplest ideas if implemented correctly can make a huge impact in the society.

What are you using ODK for?
I started contributing in November 2017. I have fixed a few bugs for Collect. I am currently looking forward to understanding complete ODK system (a huge task to do). I find working with Collect challenging and fun due to the huge code base. Through the encouragement of Hélène Martin (@ln), I visited Shelter Associates (http://shelter-associates.org) to understand the data collection process and will post a case study on the forum soon. I wish to keep improving Collect in my free time.

How as your experience with ODK been?
ODK being the first organization where I have contributed to, it has been a really exciting to learn new things and interact with contributors all over the world. ODK has helped me improve my coding skills. Hélène and Yaw Anokwa (@yanokwa) have been great supporters. I am always eager to attend developer calls as I give a chance to interact with everyone in real time and discuss new ideas or help solve existing ones.

What would like to do for ODK
The major contribution I would like to do for ODK in future is writing developer docs which are currently missing from Collect app. These docs will help new contributors can get a helping hand to get started.

I see many areas of improvement for Collect and thus would be involved for its betterment. Apart from this, I would love to contribute to the community in my free time in whatever way possible.

What is your goal for ODK in 2018

  1. A major challenge for contributors to work with ODK tools is its huge code base. So, by end of 2018, I aim to complete developer docs for Collect.
  2. Understand working with ODK tools other than Collect
  3. Learn form designing
  4. Encourage new contributors

Recent field visit
A small report: Visit to Shelter Associates Office

Find me at