It’s not only software engineers that develop open-source libraries at ITMO – the university’s mathematicians, physicists, biologists, chemists, and researchers from other fields also rely on these technologies in their work. However, they often need assistance from professional software developers in these endeavors. At the same time, the university trains IT students who would definitely benefit from practical training during their time at ITMO; for instance, they can accomplish that by joining projects developed by the university’s labs. 

In their new open-source mentorship program, ITMO’s School of Translational Information Technologies and Research Center “Strong AI in Industry” decided to meet the needs of both students and researchers.

“On the one hand, we have researchers developing open-source products for their grants and projects who often need professional assistance; on the other, we have ITMO students who want to contribute to such open-source projects. In this program, we bring the two together: participating students will become mentors for developers of open-source AI libraries,” says head of the program Nikolay Nikitin, the head of research and technological development at the Research Center “Strong AI in Industry.”

Benefits of the program

The initiative, according to Nikolay Nikitin, will be a chance to boost both hard and soft skills by working on real-world projects as part of diverse research teams. Moreover, mentors will be officially employed at the university, receiving a salary (20,000-30,000 rubles/month).

ITMO students at a coworking space. Photo by ITMO.NEWS

ITMO students at a coworking space. Photo by ITMO.NEWS

How to join

Third- and fourth-year Bachelor’s students, as well as Master’s and PhD students, can avail of the opportunity, given that they have the relevant skills and experience of software development in Python. Additionally, candidate mentors need to be proficient in software engineering: for instance, be capable of compiling documentation and autotests, and be familiar with Gitflow methodology. 

The program has already launched and will continue until June 2023, allowing for fruitful collaboration between developers and researchers within various open-source projects. Among the successful solutions developed by one of the teams is FEDOT, a framework that helps users to create and optimize machine learning pipelines for different tasks, such as flood prediction. Participating students can join this and other teams developing applied open-source solutions.

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Apart from performing code review, mentors will consult researchers on architectural and structural patterns, as well as code refactoring; as well as assist teams with automatic code validation and provide methodological recommendations on projects and their open-source delivery.

Those wishing to take part in the program can join in until January 2023 by sending their CV to Anastasia Yashchenko, an engineer at the Research Center “Strong AI in Industry” (; write “TINT – open-source mentorship – *your name*” as the subject) and taking an interview. Stay up to date on the mentorship program via its Telegram channel.