Posted by Salim Abid, Regional Lead. Middle East & North Africa, Google Developers
Training young Tunisian developers in remote areas
On weekends, the volunteers would travel for hours to new regions, sometimes on bumpy roads and on crowded, rickety buses. Their purpose? To inspire others around the country and teach them about new technologies. When the members of two Google Developer Groups (GDG) in the Beja and Sousse regions of Tunisia came together to address the challenge that many of their fellow Tunisian citizens had limited access to technology. They decided to make a difference by launching Randotek, a program in Tunisia to help train young developers that gets its name from the French word randonne, which means to hike.
Many community members from these chapters, including Alaedeen Eloueryemmi of GDG Sousse and Yasmina Rebai of GDG Beja, support the initiative. Alaedeen, a software engineer, joined GDG Sousse in 2021, after graduating from university, where he co-founded the ESSTHS Google Developer Student Club. Yasmina joined GDG Beja at the suggestions of a software engineer friend.
Sharing technology knowledge and building community
The origin story for GDG RandoTek goes back to January 2022, when Alaedeen gave a talk at DevFest Beja. During his talk, he and the other members of the GDG Beja and GDG Sousse teams noticed many students couldn’t follow his talk because of their lack of familiarity with Google technologies. Acknowledging that many of their fellow Tunisian citizens need more access to technology, the GDG RandoTek volunteers began teaching workshops in February 2022.
“We wanted to give others an overview of the community and the new technologies out there,” says Alaedeen. “We want to build a strong community of developers and allow people to achieve their dreams. In Tunisia, people don’t always have access to courses or materials, so we bring that to them.”
Positive impacts for the community
To date, the program generated positive impacts, in Tunisia including:
The organizers hosted nine sessions for over 412 developers in eight regions of Tunisia and five cities.
Attendees expressed interest in learning more about specific technologies, like Flutter and Cloud, and in joining a GDG group.
GDG RandoTek members continue to be asked to give additional workshops, online and in-person, making it a powerful learning experience for them as well.
Building a tech community in Tunisia
The GDG RandoTek organizers note that as more young developers receive training on various technologies, they will feel inspired to form new developer communities in their own local area. The more of those types of groups there are, the easier it will be to reach even more people in Tunisia. “That’s what we want to spread in Tunisia–to have more than one GDSC in every region, and more than one chapter in every place,” says Yasmina. The RandoTek team remains motivated to share knowledge and expand the community with new members.
“What we wanted to do during this program is to share the knowledge,” says Alaedeen. “Share the spirit of community work and get together and learn stuff.” The organizers all seem to share a mutual admiration for helping others. “Seeing how the world evolves each day and the need for technologies in our daily life, I would advise anyone, especially students, to learn as much technology as possible because they’re going to use them someday, somehow,” Yasmina says.
What’s next for GDG RandoTek in Tunisia
For organizers like Aladeen, Yasmina, and their collaborators, the GDG community unlocks potential, creates leaders, and helps people relate to each other through technology. It creates a way to motivate others to become teachers and share technical knowledge and build skills.
“For me, if it wasn’t for GDG, I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” says Alaedeen. “It improved my career, my management skills, and my technical skills, and I want everyone to have that opportunity.”
Posted by Kübra Zengin, North America Regional Lead, Google Developers
A Path to Programming
“I was hooked from the start,” says Jennifer Bailey about programming. Always interested in the way systems work, Jennifer, now an educator in Colorado, found her path to programming in an unconventional way. She first earned a General Educational Development degree, otherwise known as a “GED” in the United States, from Aims Community College, when she was only 15 years old.
Ever a quick learner with the ambition to excel, she then secured an associate’s degree, bachelor’s, and master’s degree in Applied Science. With degrees in hand, she taught herself C Sharp while working at a local firm as a software developer building desktop applications.
When one of her mentors from Aims Community College was retiring, the school recognized Jennifer’s programming expertise and hired her to teach computer science in 2011. The administration then asked her to create the college’s certificate in mobile application development from scratch. To build out a curriculum for her new assignment, she needed to find some inspiration. As Jennifer sought out resources to curate the content for the college’s new program in mobile development, she found a local Google Developer Group (GDG), an organization where local developers came together to discuss cutting-edge programming topics.
Finding a Google Developer Group in Northern Colorado
She attended her first event with the group that same week. At the event, the group’s leader was teaching attendees to build Android apps, and other developers taught Jennifer how to use GitHub.
“I went to that in-person event, and it was everything I was hoping it would be,” Jennifer says. “I was just blown away that I was able to find that resource at exactly the time when I needed it for my professional development, and I was really happy because I had so much fun.”
The community of welcoming developers that Jennifer found in GDG drew her in, and for the first time at a technical networking event like this one, she felt comfortable meeting new people. “That initial event was the first time I felt like I had met actual friends, and I’ve been involved with GDG ever since,” she says.
A Life-Changing Community
As time progressed, Jennifer started attending GDG events more often, and eventually offered the meeting space at Aims Community College where the group could gather. After she made the offer, the group’s organizers invited her to become a co-leader of the group. Fast-forward to the present, and her leadership role has led to numerous exciting opportunities, like attending Google I/O and meeting Google developers from all over the world.
“By participating in GDG, I ended up being able to attend Google I/O,” says Jennifer. “This community has had a massive impact in my life.”
Jennifer’s local GDG provides support for Android that helps other learners while also remaining helpful to her teaching of computer science subjects and the Android IOS mobile developer certificate.
“What keeps me engaged with Google technology, especially with Android, is all of the updates, changes, new ideas and new technology,” she says.
Jennifer notes that she appreciates the Android ecosystem’s constantly evolving technology and open source tools.
After becoming fascinated with Android, Jennifer discovered that the more time she spent learning and delving into Android, the more she learned and gained expertise that she could apply to other platforms.
She served as editor on an article about “Lazy Composables” on lists.
Positive Career Impact
In Jennifer’s view, involvement with Google Developer Groups positively impacted her career by exposing her to a local group of developers with whom she is deeply connected, providing resources and instruction on Android, and providing her with a leadership opportunity.
“I have met such a diverse sampling of people in Google Developer Groups, from all different industries, with all different levels of experience–from students, self-taught, to someone who’s been in technology longer than I have,” Jennifer says. “You never know who you will meet out there because GDG is filled with interesting people, and you never know what opportunities you will find by mixing with those people and comparing notes.”
Posted by Aniedi Udo-Obong, Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Lead, Google Developer Groups
Lesego Ndlovu and Simon Mokgotlhoa have stayed friends since they were eight years old, trading GameBoy cartridges and playing soccer. They live three houses away from each other in Soweto, the biggest township in South Africa, with over one million residents. The two friends have always been fascinated by technology, and by the time the duo attended university, they wanted to start a business together that would also help their community.
After teaching themselves to code and attending Google Developer Groups(GDG) events in Johannesburg, they built a prototype and launched a chapter of their own (GDG Soweto) to teach other new developers how to code and build technology careers.
Building an app to help their community
Lesego and Simon wanted to build an application that would help the talented soccer players in their community get discovered and recruited by professional soccer teams. To do that, they had to learn to code.
“We tested our prototype with people, and it seemed like they really loved it, which pushed us to keep coding and improving on the project,” says Simon. “The application is currently focused on soccer, but it’s built it in a way that it can focus on other sports.”
In 2019, when BallTalent launched, the project placed in the top 5 of one of South Africa’s most prestigious competitions, Diageo Social Tech Startup Challenge. BallTalent has helped local soccer players match with professional teams, benefiting the community. Simon and Lesego plan to release version two soon, with a goal of expanding to other sports.
Learning to code with web technologies and resources
Lesego and Simon chose to watch the Chrome Developers YouTube channel to learn to code, because it was free, accessible, and taught programming in ways that were easy to understand. Preferring to continue to use free Google tools because of their availability and ease of use, Lesego and Simon used Google developer tools on Chrome to build and test the BallTalent app, which is hosted on Google Cloud Platform.
BallTalent shares sample footage of a previous match: Mangaung United Vs Bizana Pondo Chiefs, during the ABC Motsepe Play Offs
“Google has been with us the whole way,” says Simon.
Contributing to the Google Developer community
Because of their enthusiasm for web technologies and positive experience learning to code using Google tools, Lesego and Simon were enthusiastic about joining a Google Developer Community. They became regular members at GDG Johannesburg and went to DevFest South Africa in 2018, where they got inspired to start their own GDG chapter in Soweto. The chapter focuses on frontend development to meet the needs of a largely beginner developer membership and has grown to 500+ members.
Looking forward to continued growth
The duo is now preparing to launch the second version of their BallTalent app, which gives back to their community by pairing local soccer talent with professional teams seeking players. In addition, they’re teaching new developers in their township how to build their own apps, building community and creating opportunities for new developers. Google Developer Groups are local community groups for developers interested in learning new skills, teaching others, and connecting with other developers. We encourage you to join us, and if you’re interested in becoming a GDG organizer like Simon and Lesego, we encourage you to apply.
Posted by Rodrigo Akira Hirooka, Regional Lead, Latin America
Getting acquainted with Android career options
Cecilia Castillo loves mobile development. She’s confident that she’d be happy focusing on it for the rest of her career. Cecilia’s career in mobile development began when her friend Adrian Catalan (Director of the Innovation Lab at Galileo University), launched a Google Developer Groups (GDG) chapter in Guatemala and began to teach Android courses.
Up until that point, Cecilia had used technologies like ASPX and Ruby on Rails – and was no stranger to technical concepts, having studied computer science at Galileo University in Guatemala and earned a Master’s degree in information technology, but she was also itching to learn something new in a supportive environment. That’s when she attended a locally organized GDG event. “ I got more involved in GDG meetups and helped organize them, and I learned how to code in Android.”
“Mobile experiences are often the first interaction people have with a product or service. An experience on mobile can determine whether someone will love it or hate it, and I think that is a big responsibility and a privilege.”
2013: a pivotal year of community leadership
In time, she found the GDG community helped her feel a sense of camaraderie in the LATAM tech community and in 2013, Cecilia decided to attend Google I/O. She found it “life-changing,” she says, and loved being able to share her enthusiasm for mobile development with more people from all over the world.
That very year, Cecilia began helping plan International Women’s Day back home in Guatemala and helped run the first International Women’s Day (IWD) event there. “It was the start of something exciting. I was always passionate about creating spaces where other women could share their experiences, their talents, and everything technical they were learning,” she says.
She says IWD events make it possible for her to meet women from all over the world who are doing interesting work in technology. In addition, Cecilia says International Women’s Day events and GDG groups create momentum around the idea that women are tech experts and leaders.
Inspiring other female leaders and improving the local programs
Cecilia says she and her planning team try to make their IWD event bigger and better every year, making sure to invite a combination of new speakers and women with more experience who have been giving talks and working in tech for a while.
The Innovation Lab at Galileo University now supports the two-day virtual event, which occurred on March 11-12 this year. This year’s event included student-focused programming to encourage prospective developers to pursue tech careers or apply tech to their interests. Around 70 speakers participated, some from different countries in Latin America and others from Guatemala.
Cecilia says the university has played an important role to help the GDG chapter achieve its goal of more visibility and reaching a broader audience. Furthermore, Celicila recognized that Evelyn Cruz, lead of the Engineering Education Group at Galileo University, has been instrumental during the planning process.
Looking ahead to new opportunities
“I think it is important to create moments and spaces where we can celebrate and spotlight all the amazing things women are doing,” says Cecilia. “By being part of a bigger network like GDG, we also get to know and learn from talented women from all over Latin America and the world.
“The GDG community offers a very diverse group of people, and I think this diversity of countries, companies, and expertise adds value for anyone who is involved in these communities.”
Developing those initial Android skills has paid off, as Castillo now serves as a co-organizer for Google Developer Group (GDG) in Guatemala, holds a position as a Women Techmakers ambassador, and works as a Senior Mobile Engineer at PayPal. In this role she works on both Android and iOS platforms and she’s now giving back to the community in so many ways.
Posted by Komal Sandhu – Global Program Manager, Google Developer Groups
A mosaic of DevFest attendees from around the world
DevFest: bringing community, connection, and technical content into focus
What might a flower pressing workshop, a keynote speech from a sitting Minister of Science & Technology, and a dinner at a 144-year-old restaurant in Madrid all have in common? These distinctive hyper-local experiences reveal just a few of the ways developers from all walks came together to master technical topics this year at community-led DevFest events around the world.
DevFest represents the largest distributed tech conference in the world, and the global community-led initiative made a point to include all developers. In its tenth year, DevFest 2021 celebrated using technology for good, and pioneered programs to nurture local economic growth.
Communities gathered both in-person and in virtual settings to make technical content accessible for developers. As more developers joined in on the fun, some contributed to Dev Library, a showcase of open-source projects built by community members that feature Google technologies.Some events provide mentorship and career support to early-career developers. Many organizers made diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and youth skills development a central focus of their gatherings.
DevFests around the world: a patchwork of both spoken and programming languages
DevFests bridge multiple languages, developer skill levels, and regions, and each individual event can address local challenges and opportunities.
A DevFest session covering Natural Language Processing in the remote area of Norilsk
The Russian city of Norilsk, for example, located above the Polar Circle, usually takes at least five hours to fly to from most places in the area. Developers in this remote region hosted DevFest as part of a weekend long IT summit. Here, Google Developer Experts from Russia, Belarus, and Norway gave talks attended from IT specialists, teachers, high school students, and representatives from city organizations. “The event is significant for Norilsk,” said GDG Norilsk member Maxim. “Finally, we are holding specialized conferences for IT specialists who are cut off from the mainland.”
Attendees of DevFest 2021 Islamabad
Takethe largest DevFest in Pakistan to date, organized by GDG Islamabad, where organizers and guest speakers shared plans to teach young people skills like Android development, machine learning, and web technologies to infuse technical skills into Pakistan’s economy. Shibli Faraz, celebrated Minister of Science & Technology of Pakistan, remarked that young people contribute technical knowledge to the country. The event also featured women’s online safety training sessions, organized in partnership with Women Techmakers.
Creating inclusive spaces around the globe:
GDG Algeciras in Spain collaborated with the Besana Down Syndrome Association and brought kids together to learn about Google Classroom, Meet, and Maps. GDG Lille introduced live captioning to make their event as accessible as possible for people with hearing impairments. GDG Lleida hosted a morning of tech talks and an afternoon of in-person talks centered around Lleida’s identity as the second-largest fruit growing region in Spain, including a flower-pressing workshop. “The afternoon track was a blast, with all the attendees expressing their thanks for the event and the workshops. Everyone said they felt appreciated and included,” writes GDG Spain organizer Andreu Ibáñez. [Watch: DevFest Lleida Afternoon Events]
From DevFest events in India, China, Uzbekistan, Nigeria, North America, and beyond, developers came together at DevFests across locales and chapters for inspirational talks and technical content and career sessions. In some regions where gatherings were permitted, many attendees noted DevFest remained the first in-person event they’d attended in years, bringing excitement packed with learning, networking, experimenting, and swag (and a reinvigorated sense of community).
Learning together through cross-cultural conversations & coding events
Marking the tenth year of the program, DevFest 2021 culminated as a unifying global initiative, which saw 450+ events in 90+ countries and helped 500k+ developers.
“This year, I thought it was especially important to feature not only technology, but also participants’ feelings and emotions,” writes Andreu Ibáñez, an organizer in Spain that planned three distinct DevFests “After all, community is so much more than just a bunch of tech aficionados.”
The spirit of DevFest has always come from the people involved – developers from all different backgrounds and skill levels. Countries bring their own flavor and spin to their programs, and many organizers offered innovative ways for participants to connect. The event series continues to inspire local developer communities to plug in and share learning resources.
Posted by Manoranjan Padhy – Developer Relations Lead, India
Six years ago, Aditi Soni was new to computers and programming when she learned about Google Developer Groups (GDG) and Women Techmakers (WTM) from a senior at her university, the Shri Vaishnav Institute of Technology and Science, Indore. Then, everything changed when she joined a Google Developer Group in Indore, the largest city in Central India, which began as a 16th century trading hub.
“Initially, it was extremely overwhelming for me to be in that space, where so many accomplished professionals were present,” Aditi says of her first experiences attending GDG Indore. “I was very hesitant to go and have a conversation with them.”
But Aditi felt determined. Her friend Aditya Sharma taught her C and C++, and she practiced her programming skills on her smartphone, using tools like the C4droid Android app, because she didn’t have a laptop. By the time she got a laptop, she was off and running. Aditi began teaching herself Android development and landed an internship after her second year of college.
“I consider myself as an opportunity grabber,” Aditi writes in a post on her Medium blog. “ I never miss a single chance to become a better version of myself. I used to attend all community meetups and did not miss a single one.”
All her hard work paid off. In 2017, she became a Women Techmakers lead in Indore and took her first flight on an airplane to the WTM Leads Summit in Bangalore. The same year, she became a Microsoft Student Partner and attended Google Developer Days India. In 2018, Aditi earned the Google India Udacity Android Developers Nanodegree Scholarship, as one of the top 150 students from India, and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Engineering degree in computer science. In 2019, Women Techmakers awarded Aditi a travel grant to Madrid, Spain to attend the Firebase Summit.
Using the experience of being a woman in tech to encourage others to pursue STEM careers
Now, Aditi is a full-time software developer at Consultadd Incorporation, India, and a Women Techmakers Ambassador, and a GDG organizer for her local chapter in Pune. She contributes to the community as an organizer, speaker, and mentor.
“We organize monthly technical meetups to empower women and provide them with a platform to achieve their goals,” Aditi explains. “Being able to help others feels like I am giving it back to the community.”
Aditi says GDG and WTM have helped her develop technical skills and have also positively impacted her personal life.
“I had significant life experiences because of the Google Developer Group and Women Techmakers communities, including my first flight, my first hands-on experience with Google’s trending technologies, and one-on-one interaction with Googlers and many great personalities while attending global summits,” she says. “All these things have helped me to be a person who can guide and help others and share my knowledge and experiences with hundreds of professionals today.”
Aditi describes herself as a community enthusiast, using her platform to encourage other women and students to pursue careers in technology, even if they’re brand-new to the field. She also enjoys mentoring new programmers.
“I am passionate about making an impact on others’ lives by sharing my journey and experiences and helping people face hurdles like mine with courage and confidence,” she says. “I enjoy helping people who are struggling to learn to code or who want to switch their careers to tech.”
Supporting budding developers
Aditi acknowledges the adage, “Change is not easy,’’ especially when preparing for a career in technology.
“You may try very hard, give up so many times, and go through all that frustration, but remember not to quit,” she advises. “The moment you feel like quitting is the moment you need to keep pushing and get your reward.”
She has specific suggestions for making it easier to build new tech skills, too.
“Before learning a specific technology, understand yourself,” she suggests. “What works for you? What’s your learning process? Then look for the appropriate resources. It can be a simple one-page tutorial or a full-fledged course. Everything is easy when the basics are clear and the foundation is strong.”
Aditi plans to continue contributing to the tech community in India and around the world, by sharing her insight, connecting with new people, and developing new technical skills. She recently welcomed a new member into her family–a baby girl–and she is growing her own regional tech community and providing so much to others in her area and the STEM field.
Posted by Brian Shen, Regional Lead for Mainland China Developer Communities
Every developer’s path to pursuing a career in tech can be traced back to a single moment. Such is the case for Ning Zhang, a developer from China, who found his early interest in web development as a high schooler at the age of fifteen. Ning built his first website for his English class to help his classmates succeed with their studies. He didn’t realize it at the time, but he was only just getting started. Throughout high school, he played with Google Webmaster Tools (now Google Search Console) and Google Adsense to create and manage numerous other websites for fun. Like so many aspiring developers before him, Ning knew he’d found his passion, but the path ahead remained unclear.
Enter Google Developer Groups
To grow his skills further and turn his hobby into a viable career path, Ning majored in data science at university in Qingdao. Here, he participated in data-modeling competitions like Kaggle Days, and other events that gave him more exposure to the tech community and allowed him to learn from his peers. It’s also where he first heard about Google Developer Groups (GDGs) and their many opportunities for learning, networking and collaboration.
It was perfect timing too. After graduation Ning got a job with a financial services firm in Shanghai, home to a very active GDG. He jumped at the chance to engage in activities and workshops to further his abilities and knowledge, especially in data science, which constitutes a significant part of his work responsibilities.
While Ning enjoys the formal learning opportunities the GDG offers, he finds the sense of community and support—the opportunity to learn from others and share his expertise as well – even more valuable.
“This kind of atmosphere is actually more inspiring than learning a new technology, new programming ideas, and new algorithms.”
“Everyone has different hands-on experience and expertise in different companies,” Ning explains. “GDG provides an environment where people can share their experience and listen to each other.”
The combination of community, developer success, and social impact has made a huge impression on him both personally and professionally. The international nature of GDGs also provides an expanded perspective and different ways of thinking about problems and solutions. “GDG really gave me a lot of new and fresh information and opened our eyes to more global approaches,” says Ning.
Group photo of GDG Shanghai Activity Center
Tapping into a global community
As the importance of technology continues to grow, the GDG community can play an even greater role by helping people learn valuable tech skills, supporting the dissemination of knowledge, and spurring innovation. Offerings that focus on sharing knowledge and other events can assist members in achieving their career goals as they have done for Ning. “I hope every member of GDG will experience the good atmosphere of the group in the future so that their value can be magnified,” says Zhang.
Posted by Alessandro Palmieri, Regional Lead for Spain Developer Communities
Google Developer Groups (GDGs) around the world are in a unique position to organize events on technology topics that community members are passionate about. That’s what happened in Spain in July 2021, where two GDG chapters decided to put on an event called AI Fest after noticing a lack of conferences dedicated exclusively to artificial intelligence. “Artificial intelligence is everywhere, although many people do not know it,” says Irene Ruiz Pozo, the organizer of GDG Murcia and GDG Cartagena. While AI has the potential to transform industries from retail to real estate with products like Dialogflow and Lending DocAI, “there are still companies falling behind,” she notes.
Irene and her GDG team members recognized that creating a space for a diverse mix of people—students, academics, professional developers, and more—would not only enable them to share valuable knowledge about AI and its applications across sectors and industries, but it could also serve as a potential path for skill development and post-pandemic economic recovery in Spain. In addition, AI Fest would showcase GDGs in Spain as communities offering developer expertise, education, networking, and support.
Using the GDG network to find sponsors, partners, and speakers
The GDGs immediately got to work calling friends and contacts with experience in AI. “We started calling friends who were great developers and worked at various companies, we told them who we are, what we wanted to do, and what we wanted to achieve,” Irene says.
The GDG team found plenty of organizations eager to help: universities, nonprofit organizations, government entities, and private companies. The final roster included the Instituto de Fomento, the economic development agency of Spain’s Murcia region; the city council of Cartagena; Biyectiva Technology, which develops AI tools used in medicine, retail, and interactive marketing; and the Polytechnic University of Cartagena, where Irene founded and led the Google Developer Student Club in 2019 and 2020. Some partners also helped with swag and merchandising and even provided speakers. “The CEOs and different executives and developers of the companies who were speakers trusted this event from the beginning,” Irene says.
A celebration of AI and its potential
The event organizers lined up a total of 55 local and international speakers over the two-day event. Due to the ongoing COVID-10 pandemic, in-person attendance was limited to 50 people in a room at El Batel Auditorium and Conference Center in Cartagena, but sessions—speakers, roundtables, and workshops—were also live-streamed on YouTube on three channels to a thousand viewers.
The event made a huge impact on the developer community in Spain, setting an example of what tech-focused gatherings can look like in the COVID-19 era and how they can support more education, collaboration, and innovation across a wide range of organizations, ultimately accelerating the adoption of AI. Irene also notes that it has helped generate more interest in GDGs and GDSCs in Spain and their value as a place to learn, teach, and grow. “We’re really happy that new developers have joined the communities and entrepreneurs have decided to learn how to use Google technologies,” she says.
The effect on the GDG team was profound as well. “I have remembered why I started creating events–for people: to discover the magic of technology,” Irene says.
Taking AI Fest into the future—and more
Irene and her fellow GDG members are already planning for a second installment of AI Fest in early 2022, where they hope to be able to expect more in-person attendance. The team would also like to organize events focused on topics such as Android, Cloud, AR /VR, startups, the needs of local communities, and inclusion. Irene, who serves as a Women Techmakers Ambassador, is particularly interested in using her newly expanded network to host events that encourage women to choose technology and other STEM areas as a career.
Finally, Irene hopes that AI Fest will become an inspiration for GDGs around the world to showcase the potential of AI and other technologies. It’s a lot of work, she admits, but the result is well worth it. “My advice is to choose the area of technology that interests you the most, get organized, relax, and have a good team,” she advises.
Posted by Erica Hanson, Global Program Manager for Google Developer Communities
DevFest season has officially started! From now through the end of the year, developers from all around the world are coming together for DevFest 2021, the biggest global event for developers, focusing on community-led learning on Google technologies. Hosted by Google Developer Groups (GDG) all across the globe, DevFest events are uniquely curated by their local GDG organizers to fit the needs and interests of the local community.
This year, DevFest 2021 inspires local developers to learn and connect as a community by exploring how to use Google technology to accelerate economic impact. In light of COVID-19, the global economy has shrunk and millions of jobs have been lost. Developers are the backbone of technology, and they play a pivotal role in the recovery of the global economy. In fact, expanding the impact of developers has never been more important!
Luckily, DevFest is the perfect opportunity for Google Developer Groups to show up for developers and their communities during such a challenging time. At DevFest 2021, GDGs and attendees will have the opportunity to explore how to use technology for good where it’s needed most.
Accelerating local economic recovery looks different across the globe, and GDGs hosting DevFest events are encouraged to consider the challenges their specific regions may be facing. For example, GDGs may choose to focus their DevFest events on building solutions that help local businesses grow, or they may prioritize upskilling their community by sharing technical content to help developers become industry ready. Whether it be through technical talks delivered in local languages or by simply meeting fellow local developers, DevFest 2021 will leave attendees feeling empowered to drive positive change in their communities.
What to expect
One of DevFest’s greatest strengths remains the passionate speakers who participate in DevFest events all across the globe. These speakers, often developers themselves, come from various backgrounds, perspectives, and skill levels to create a rich and rewarding experience for attendees. DevFest sessions are hosted in local languages in many different parts of the world.
This DevFest season, attendees will receive career support and mentorship opportunities from senior developers, including speakers from Google, Google Developer Group leaders, Google Developer Experts, and Women Techmakers.
Google Developers is proud to support the community-led efforts of Google Developer Groups during this flagship annual event. DevFest is powered by a global network of passionate GDG community organizers who volunteer their time and efforts to help developers grow together, and this event wouldn’t be possible without them.
During DevFest 2020, 125,000+ developers participated across 700+ DevFests in 100+ countries. DevFest 2021 is already in full swing, with thousands of attendees across the globe collaborating with like-minded developers, learning new technologies, and building solutions to uplift their communities. Whether you’re looking to explore the latest Google technologies, level up your career, or innovate for impact, there is a DevFest event for you.
Find a DevFest near you here, and use #DevFest to join the conversation on social media.
Posted by Kübra Zengin, Program Manager, Developer Relations
Google Developer Group (GDG) chapters are in a unique position to help make an impact during a time where many companies and businesses are trying to shift to a digital first world. Perhaps no one knows this better than GDG NYC Lead, Anna Nerezova. Over the past year, she’s seen firsthand just how powerful the GDG NYC community can be when the right opportunity presents itself.
GDG NYC levels up their Google Cloud skills
In the past few years, Anna and other GDG NYC organizers have hosted a number of events focused on learning and sharing Cloud technologies with community members, including Cloud Study Jams and in-person workshops on Machine Learning Cloud-Speech-to-Text, Natural Language Processing, and more. Last year, GDG NYC took Google Cloud learning to the next level with a series of virtual Google Cloud tech talks on understanding BigQuery, Serverless best practices, and Anthos, with speakers from the Google Cloud team.
A GDG NYC speaker session
Thanks to these hands-on workshops, speaker sessions, and technical resources provided by Google, GDG NYC community members are able to upskill in a wide variety of technologies at an accelerated pace, all the while gaining the confidence to put those skills into practice. Beyond gaining new skills, Google Developer Group members are often able to unlock opportunities to make positive impacts in ways they never thought possible. As a GDG Lead, Anna is always on the lookout for opportunities that give community members the chance to apply their skills for a higher purpose.
Building a Positive Planet
Anna identified one such opportunity for her community via Positive Planet US, a local nonprofit dedicated to alleviating global and local poverty through positive entrepreneurship. Positive Planet International, originally formed in France, has helped 11 million people escape poverty across 42 countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa since its inception in 1998. Just last year, Positive Planet US was launched in New York City, with a mission to create local and global economic growth in underprivileged communities in the wake of the pandemic.
Anna recognized how the past few years’ emphasis on learning and leveraging Google Cloud technology in her GDG chapter could help make a transformative impact on the nonprofit. A partnership wouldn’t just benefit Positive Planet US, it would give community members a chance to apply what they’ve learned, build experience, and give back. Anna and fellow GDG NYC Lead, Ralph Yozzo, worked with Positive Planet US to identify areas of opportunity where GDG NYC members could best apply their skills. With Positive Planet US still needing to build the infrastructure necessary to get up and running, it seemed that there were limitless opportunities for GDG NYC community members to step in and help out.
Volunteers from GDG NYC quickly got to work, building Positive Planet US’ website from the ground up. Google Cloud Platform was used to build out the site’s infrastructure, set up secure payments for donations, launch email campaigns, and more. Applying learnings from a series of AMP Study Jams held by GDG NYC, volunteers implemented the AMP plugin for WordPress to improve user experience and keep the website optimized, all according to Google’s Core Web Vitals and page experience guidelines. Volunteers from GDG NYC have also helped with program management, video creation, social media, and more. No matter the job, the work that volunteers put in makes a real impact and helps drive Positive Planet US’ efforts to make a difference in marginalized communities.
Positive Planet drives community impact
Positive Planet US volunteers are currently working hard to support the nonprofit’s flagship project, the Accelerator Hub for Minority Women Entrepreneurs, launched last year. As part of the program, participants receive personalized coaching from senior executives at Genpact and Capgemini, helping them turn their amazing ideas into thriving businesses. From learning how to grow a business to applying for a business loan, participating women from disadvantaged communities get the tools they need to flourish as entrepreneurs. The 10-week program is running its second cohort now, and aims to support 1,000 women by next year.
Some participants of Positive Planet US’ second Accelerator Hub Program
With Positive Planet US’ next cohort for 50 women entrepreneurs starting soon, Anna is working to find coaches of all different skill levels directly from the GDG community. If you’re interested in volunteering with Positive Planet US, click here.
Anna is excited about the ongoing collaboration between Positive Planet US and GDG NYC, and is continuing to identify opportunities for GDG members to give back. And with a new series of Android and Cloud Study Jams on the horizon and DevFest 2021 right around the corner, GDG NYC organizers hope to welcome even more developers into the Google Developer Group community. For more info about GDG NYC’s upcoming events, click here.
Join a Google Developer Group chapter near you here.
Posted by Aniedi Udo-Obong, Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Lead, Google Developer Groups
The Google Developer Groups Spotlight series interviews inspiring leaders of community meetup groups around the world. Our goal is to learn more about what developers are working on, how they’ve grown their skills with the Google Developer Group community, and what tips they might have for us all.
We recently spoke with Kose, community lead for Google Developer Groups Juba in South Sudan. Check out our conversation with Kose about building a GDG chapter, the future of GDG Juba, and the importance of growing the tech community in South Sudan.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am currently helping grow the GDG Juba community in South Sudan, and previously volunteered as a mentor in the Google Africa Developer Scholarship 2020.
Why did you want to get involved in tech?
I hail from a remote South Sudan’s village with little to zero access to technology. My interest in tech has largely been driven due to an enthusiasm to build things and solve farming, agricultural economics, and social issues using technology.
I am currently researching and working on a farmers connection network to help transform our agricultural economics.
What is unique about pursuing a career as a developer in South Sudan?
When you talk about technology in South Sudan, we are relatively behind compared to our neighbors and beyond. Some challenges include the lack of support, resources, and mentorship among the few technology aspirants. The electricity and internet bills are so costly that an undetermined hustler won’t sacrifice their days’ hustle for exploring and learning the tech spectrum.
At the same time, there are a lot of areas technology developers can dive into. Finance, hospitality, agriculture, transportation, and content creation are all viable fields. As a determined techie, I tasked myself with allocating 10% of everything I do and earn to learning and exploring technology. This helped me to have some time, money, and resources for my tech journey. As for mentorship, I’m building a global network of resourceful folks to help me venture into new areas of the tech sector.
How did you become a GDG lead?
I’ve always been that person who joined tech events as often as I could find registration links. In my college days, I would skip classes to attend events located hours away. I would hardly miss Python Hyderabad, pycons, and many other Android meetups. It was during the International Women’s Day (IWD) 2018 event organized by WTM Hyderabad and GDG Hyderabad that I was lucky enough to give a short challenge pitch talk. I saw how the conference folks were excited and amazed given the fact that I was the only African in the huge Tech Mahindra conference hall. I met a lot of people, organizers, business personalities and students.
Kose takes the stage for International Women’s Day (IWD) 2018
At the end of the conference and subsequent events, I convinced myself to start a similar community. Since starting out with a WhatsApp group chat, we’ve grown to about 200 members on our GDG event platform, and have event partners like Koneta Hub and others. Since then, GDG Juba is helping grow the tech community around Juba, South Sudan.
How has the GDG community helped you grow in the tech industry?
From design thinking to public speaking and structuring technical meetups, the GDG community has become a resourceful part of organizing GDG Juba meetups and enhancing my organizational skills.
As a community lead, I continuously plan the organization of more impactful events and conferences, and network with potential event partners, speakers, mentors, and organizers. Being part of the GDG community has helped me get opportunities to share knowledge with others. In one instance, I became a mobile web mentor and judge for the Google Africa Developer Scholarship 2020 program.
What has been the most inspiring part of being a part of your local Google Developer Group?
As a tech aspirant, I had always wanted to be part of a tech community to learn, network, and grow in the community. Unfortunately, back then there wasn’t a single tech user group in my locality. The most inspiring thing about being part of this chapter is the network buildup and learning from the community. I notably network with people I could have never networked with on a typical day.
Kose at a GDG Juba meetup
A lot of our meetup attendees now share their knowledge and experiences with others to inspire many. We are seeing a community getting more engagement in technology. Students tell us they are learning things they hardly get in their college curriculum.
As a learner myself, I am very excited to see folks learn new tech skills and am also happy to see women participating in the tech events. I’m especially proud of the fact that we organized International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021, making it possible for us to be featured in a famous local newspaper outlet.
What are some technical resources you have found the most helpful for your professional development?
The official documentation from Google Developers for Android, Firebase, and others have been and are still helpful for my understanding and diving into details of the new things I learn.
In addition to the cool resources from the awesome tech bloggers on the internet, these links are helping me a lot in my adventure:
What is coming up for GDG Juba that you are most excited about?
As part of our Android Study Jam conducted earlier this year, we are planning to host a mentorship program for Android application development. The program will run from scratch to building a fully-fledged, deployable Android app that the community can use for daily activities. I am particularly excited about the fact that we will be having a mentor who has been in the industry for quite a long time. I hope to see people who read this article participating in the mentorship program, too!
What would be one piece of advice you have for someone looking to learn more about a specific technology?
Be a learner. Join groups that can mentor your learning journey.
Ready to learn new skills with developers like Kose? Find a Google Developer Group near you, here.
The top 50 semi-finalists and the top 10 finalists were announced earlier this year. It all comes down to Demo Day on August 26th, where the finalists will present their solutions to Google and developers all around the world, live on YouTube. Here, judges will review their projects, ask questions, and choose the top 3 grand prize winners!
You can RSVP here to be a part of Demo Day, vote for the People’s Choice Award, and watch all the action as it unfolds live. Ahead of the event, get to know the top 10 finalists and their incredible solutions below.
Cameroon – Flow, University of Bamenda
UN Sustainable Goal Addressed: Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation
Flow is a mobile app that helps users easily find clean water sources nearby using Google Maps. Selecting a water source location on the map will tell users the name of the location, the status of the water source, and the approximate distance to the water source from the user’s current location. Flow was built with Firebase, Flutter, Google Cloud Platform, and Google Maps Platform. The app was developed by Alouzeh Brandone Mahbuh, Chi Karl Junior, Meh Mbeh Ida Delphine, and Nuikweh Lewis.
“The lack of water and quest for clean water in my community inspired us to select this goal. Our solution is a mobile application which makes use of a ‘live location’ feature to help members in my community easily find clean water sources.”
Canada – Helppier, University of Toronto
UN Sustainable Goals Addressed:Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, Goal 11: Sustainable Cities
Helppier is an Android app that creates volunteering opportunities in local neighborhoods. With Helppier, you can volunteer to help out others, request a volunteer, and earn rewards. Unlike traditional volunteering positions with organizations, Helppier fosters a sense of community by allowing people to make a direct impact in their neighborhood. Helppier’s ultimate goal is to make volunteering a regular part of peoples’ daily routines. The Android app was developed using Google Cloud Platform, Firebase, and Cloud Run by James Lee, Janice Cheung, Mohamed Amine Belabbes, and Oluwateleayo Oyekunle.
“With loneliness rates skyrocketing due to COVID, many people are feeling more isolated and in need of help, but may not have anyone in their neighborhood to turn to. Helppier facilitates the opportunity for people to connect with one another through acts of kindness, regardless of who they are or where they came from.”
Egypt – E-Owl, Future Academy
UN Sustainable Goals Addressed:Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing, Goal 4: Quality Education
E-Owl is a virtual education platform that helps professors create virtual meetings, exams, and posts. With E-Owl, students can also check their grades and assignments online. The web application features focus detection and monitors real-time emotion of students to help instructors improve their students’ learning experience. E-Owl was created using Firebase, Google Cloud Platform, and TensorFlow by Ahmed Mostafa Ibrahiem, Kerolos Kamal Botros, Khaled Abdel-Fattah Ahmed, and Mahmoud Said Ramadan Gad.
“Our main target is education and well-being. We are working on how to maintain learners’ attention and motivation in the virtual classrooms and also effectively managing the progress of each student online.”
Germany – SimplAR, Technical University of Munich
UN Sustainable Goals Addressed:Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities
SimplAR is an app that utilizes the power of Natural Language Processing to translate any text (newspapers, books, manuals, etc.) into simplified language just by taking a picture of it. The app is catered towards people with functional illiteracy who sometimes have difficulty comprehending text. SimplAR delivers text following plain language principles that is easy to understand, making reading experiences more accessible for everyone. Almo Sutedjo, Maria Pospelova, Sami Wirtensohn, and Viviana Sutedjo used Flutter and Firebase to develop their app.
“Around 1 in 7 people worldwide have difficulties understanding complicated texts due to functional illiteracy. We want to enable people with functional illiteracy to gain understanding about any text in any form, and therefore giving them the chance to lead a more independent life.”
India – Eye Of God, K. J. Somaiya College of Engineering
Eye of God is an app featuring an easy-to-use navigation system that helps people with visual impairment navigate to their destination by themselves without needing the assistance of others. The Eye of God navigation system uses voice feedback through the user’s smartphone which is mounted on a VR Headset, and vibrational feedback through a custom-made waist belt, to guide users in both indoor and outdoor settings. The app is built with Firebase, Flutter, Google Cloud Platform, TensorFlow, and more, by Anish Pawar, Gayatri Vijay Patil, Jatin Nainani, and Priyanka Hotchandani.
“Being blind or visually impaired doesn’t need to mean the loss of independence of getting to and from places. The advancement of technology can make it possible to help people move freely within their environments and get around safely regardless of their amount of vision.”
India – Swaasthy, Chitkara University
UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing, Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth
Swaasthy is a medical app made to uplift user health and increase access to healthcare. It contains medicine reminder functionality and the ability to make an SOS call to nearby ambulances, get an appointment with a virtual doc, and more. The team behind the app believes that their all-in-one approach will go a long way towards bringing down the death rate faced by patients in India due to delays in health services. Additionally, Swaasthy promotes education and economic growth by providing first responders with valuable training opportunities when they sign up via the app. Bhavesh Goyal, Himanshu Sharma, Ishan Sharma, and Kushal Bhanot used Flutter and Firebase to bring their idea to life.
“When it comes to saving a life, every millisecond counts! One in 10 patients in India dies on the way to the hospital. And we’re here to change that. We’re Swaasthy! The only health app you’ll ever need. Solving real-life problems isn’t easy, but at the same time, it’s not impossible.”
Indonesia – Game Your Fit, Binus University International
UN Sustainable Goal Addressed:Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing
Game Your Fit is an app that keeps track of your movements in real time using your smartphone’s movement sensors. It promotes exercise and staying active by turning the experience into a game! The app features a variety of aerobic, anaerobic, and calisthenics exercises to target different areas of the user’s body. One of the app’s game modes, CardioCamera, uses Google’s MLKit AI library to detect movements that the user makes. The app is written in Kotlin and connected to a Firebase project, and was developed by Aric Hernando, Jason Christian Hailianto, Jason Jeremy Wijadi, and Monique Senjaya.
“We are interested in creating a solution for target 3.4, which is to reduce mortality from non-communicable diseases and promote mental health. We aim to improve the health of many, specifically teens and young adults, by designing a gamified exercising application experience.”
Philippines – i-RISE, University of the Philippines in the Visayas
Project Island Response and Intervention for Systematic Evacuation, or i-RISE, is a disaster risk management system that aims to bridge the information gap between local government units, disaster risk management offices, and the island communities of Tubigon, Bohol. The app includes tidal and weather information, evacuation warnings, rescue request functionality, climate change education, and more. i-Rise consists of a web app and mobile app, built with Flutter, Cloud Functions, Cloud Firestore, and Firebase. The project was built by Jian Hurl A. Asiado, Joerian E. Gauten, Patricia Marie C. Garcia, and Rex Ronter G. Ruiz.
“The Philippines is one of the world’s most affected countries by climate change as it experiences the most frequent and strongest typhoons and sea level rise. The vision of Project i-RISE is disaster resilience as a national imperative where all Filipinos anywhere in the archipelago are inclusive of growth and are able to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.”
Singapore – DementiCare, Nanyang Technological University
UN Sustainable Goal Addressed:Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing
DementiCare is an app equipped with a wide range of features to compliment caregiving for people living with dementia. With the app, caregivers can send notices to patients, access discussion forums, create a patient dashboard, and more. A user with dementia can send an SOS, access memories, view family data, and read notes from caregivers. DementiCare includes a simple interface for users living with dementia, and a feature-rich dashboard to help caregivers carry out their responsibilities without relying on any additional software. Aishik Nagar and Ritik Bhatia used Flutter and Firebase to build their app.
“Having personal relations suffering from Dementia and having cared for them several times, we knew firsthand how tough it was for patients and their caregivers to cope with Dementia. Our solution is DementiCare, a mobile application made to reduce, digitize, and revolutionize the barrier to skills, knowledge, and experience required for providing care to patients suffering from Dementia.”
Turkey – QRegister, Middle East Technical University
UN Sustainable Goals Addressed:Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing, Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production, Goal 15: Life on Land
QRegister is an app that removes the need for physical paper receipts upon transactions and instead encourages the use of QR codes for users to virtually keep track of all their receipts. The app reduces waste generation by eliminating paper receipts that usually end up as litter. BPA, a chemical often used in thermal receipts, can be absorbed through the skin and has been linked to a number of health concerns. By digitizing receipts, QRegister reduces the chemicals that we’re exposed to daily. QRegister was created with Firebase and Flutter by Alkım Dömeke, Deniz Karakay, Humeyra Bodur, and Murat Kaş.
“QRegister wants to raise awareness regarding the wastefulness of paper receipt production. Our team developed an environmentally friendly smart register that eliminates paper receipts and effortlessly stores purchase data.”
Feeling inspired and ready to learn more about Google Developer Student Clubs? Find a club near you here, and be sure to RSVP here to watch our upcoming Solution Challenge Demo Day on August 26th.