From Beginner to Machine Learning Instructor In A Year

Posted by Salim Abid, MENA Regional Lead, Developer Relations

Banner that reads Google Developer Student Clubs, Misr University for Science and Technology (MUST). Includes overhead image of person coding on a laptop

Yara Elkady, Google Developer Student Club (GDSC) Lead, can trace her passion for tech all the way back to a single moment. She was sitting in computer class when her middle school teacher posed a question to the class:

“Did you know that you can create apps and games like the ones that you spend so much time on?”

It was a simple question, but it was enough to plant the seed that would define the trajectory of Yara’s career. Following in the footsteps of so many beginners before her, Yara did a Google search to find out more about creating apps. She didn’t realize it at the time, but Yara had just taken her first steps down the path to becoming a developer.

Knowing that she wanted to pursue tech further, Yara went to college at Misr University for Science and Technology (MUST) in Giza, Egypt to study computer science. In her second year, she had begun reading more about artificial intelligence. Yara was blown away by the potential of training a machine to make decisions on its own. With machine learning, she could pursue more creative ideas that went beyond what was possible with traditional programming. As Yara explains, “It felt like magic”. Still, she felt lost like any beginner interested in AI.

Enter Google Developer Student Clubs

Yara first discovered the GDSC chapter at MUST through her school’s social media page. For the entirety of her second year, Yara attended workshops and saw firsthand how GDSC events could leave an impact on students aspiring to become developers. With help from Google Developer Student Clubs, Yara was able to grow her skills as a developer and connect with peers who shared her interests. At the end of the year, Yara applied to be a Lead so that she could help more students engage with the community. Not too long after, Yara was accepted as a GDSC Lead for the 2020-2021 season!

A classroom of people attend a GDSC MUST speaker session

A GDSC MUST speaker session

As part of becoming a GDSC Lead, Yara enrolled in the MENA DSC Leads Academy to receive hands-on training in various Google technologies. Despite being only the first time the Academy had ever been hosted (both in person and virtually), 100+ Leads from 150 GDSC chapters attended over the course of six weeks. Yara applied to the Machine Learning track and was chosen for the program. During the course, Yara mastered advanced machine learning concepts, including classical ML models, deep learning, data manipulation, and TensorFlow training. She also got to work with other Leads on advanced machine learning projects, helping her gain even more confidence in her ML knowledge.

Soon after passing the program, Yara collaborated with the GDSC Leads she met during the course to host a one-month ML track to pass on the knowledge they had learned to the GDSC community. Through the sessions she hosted, Yara was contacted by BambooGeeks, a startup that creates training opportunities for local tech aspirants to help them become industry-ready. Yara was offered a job as a machine learning instructor, and could now create sessions for the largest audience of trainees she’d ever worked with.

The road to certification

Yara didn’t realize it yet, but even more opportunities were headed her way. She learned from the GDSC MENA program manager that GDSC Leads would have the opportunity to take the TensorFlow Certification exam, if they wished to take it. It wouldn’t be easy, but Yara knew she had all the resources she needed to succeed. She wasted no time and created a study group with other GDSC Leads working to get certified. Together, Yara and her fellow Leads pulled endless all-nighters over the next few months so that they could skill up for the exam and support each other through the arduous study process. They also worked with Elyes Manai, a ML Google Developer Expert, who gave them an overview of the exam and recommended resources that would help them pass.

Thanks to those resources, support from her peers, and tons of hard work, Yara passed the exam and received her TensorFlow certification! And she wasn’t the only one. 11 other MENA GDSC Leads also passed the exam to receive their certifications. Yara and her study partners were the first women in Egypt to be featured in the TensorFlow Certificate Network, and Yara became one of 27 people in Africa to receive the TensorFlow Developer Certificate!

Image of Yara Elkady's TensorFlow Developer Certificate

Yara’s TensorFlow Developer Certificate

When Yara looks back at how she was able to fast track from beginner to certified machine learning developer in just a year, she credits Google Developer Student Clubs with:

  • Offering advanced Machine Learning training
  • Fostering connections with other Leads to host study jams
  • Providing guidance from machine learning GDEs
  • TensorFlow certification exam prep
  • Exposure to opportunities that enabled her to inspire others
  • Endless community support

The truth is, students like Yara make Google Developer Student Clubs special by sharing their knowledge with the community and building a support system with their peers that extends far beyond the classroom.

On the importance of community, Yara says it best:

“Reaching your goals is a much more enjoyable process when you have someone with you on the same journey, to share your ups and downs, and push you to do more when you feel like quitting. Your success becomes their success and that gives more meaning to your accomplishments.”

If you’re a student who is ready to join your own Google Developer Student Club community, find one near you here.

Meet the students coding their way to a better world

Posted by Erica Hanson, Global Program Manager, Google Developer Student Clubs

Student headshots from the top 10 finalist teams of the Google Developer Student Clubs Solution Challenge

What have we learned from the challenges that we’ve faced over the past year and continue to face today? How absolutely vital it is to protect our planet and the people living on it.

Enter the Solution Challenge, our annual contest inviting the global Google Developer Student Clubs (GDSC) community to develop solutions to real world problems utilizing Google technologies. This year’s Solution Challenge asks participants to solve for one or more of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, intended to promote employment for all, economic growth, and climate action.

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

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, & Infrastructure, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, Goal 16: Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions

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

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 11: Sustainable Cities, Goal 13: Climate Action

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.

Solution Challenge Winner Update: Samuel’s mission to get children vaccinated in Uganda

Posted by Aniedi Udo-Obong, Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Lead, Google Developer Communities

Samuel Mugisha has been very busy since we first shared his story in 2019. Back then, Samuel was a university student from Uganda who was inspired to create a mobile Immunization Calculator app to help keep track of children’s vaccinations after he saw his community using handwritten paper cards that were difficult to read and keep intact. Samuel kicked his idea into gear by forming a team with friends from GDSC Muni University, and they ended up winning the 2019 Google Developer Student Clubs Solution Challenge. The Solution Challenge is an annual event hosted by Google developers, inviting students from all over the world to develop solutions for local community problems using Google technology. Thanks to their win, Samuel and his team secured office space in Uganda and got up to speed with crucial tools like Android, Firebase, and Presto, with mentorship from some of Africa’s best at Google and other companies, as well as Google Developer Group community organizers.

Still, their project was in its earliest stages of development, and Samuel had a long way to go on the path to fixing a flawed healthcare system.

The immunization tracker’s progress

Fast forward to today, and Samuel and his team have made huge strides in building out the functionalities of their Immunization Calculator app. Lately, they’ve been working to increase the number of vaccinations the app can track and expanding to include other vaccines as well. These important updates will bring Samuel one step closer to his goal of increasing tracking and vaccinations of infants and children under a year old. Samuel and his team are also putting extra focus on improving functionality and user experience, making it easier than ever for parents to use the app to track their children’s vaccination status.

Vaccine tracking in-app

Thanks to the mentorship they received from Google Developer Experts as Solution Challenge winners, Samuel’s team was able to embed SMS messaging capabilities directly into the app. With this new functionality, the app now has the ability to remind parents to schedule their child’s next vaccine, and can provide accurate dosing information.

Vaccine reminder text alerts

In the app’s initial phase, the team relied on a simple user interface using NativeScript integrated to run on Gradle in Android Studio. Through mentorship, they found that implementing Kotlin instead was a more stable option that ran on most mobile devices. Since 2019, Felix Egaru, the core developer behind the project, has done a lot of work to add more features using Firebase. The app uses Firebase Authentication to authorize system users, Firebase Cloud Messaging to send push notifications, and Cloud Firestore to securely store user data. It also includes coverage and dropout rates, dosing instructions, and other important information thanks to Firebase. All of these new features let users access the data they need to make informed decisions about getting vaccinated. In a country with remote areas that have little to no internet access, Firebase’s offline capabilities have also proved vital for allowing healthcare workers to use the app in the field regardless of internet connectivity.

An app user joins the team

Despite all their progress, Samuel and his team still lacked the help they needed to get the app out into the world for real-time testing. Enter Kabagweri Fionah, a busy parent and small business owner who had started using Samuel’s app to keep track of her son’s vaccinations. She first discovered the Immunization Calculator app after seeing the Solution Challenge online and learning about the finalists.

Fionah immediately saw the app’s potential and knew that it could go a long way towards making a real difference in people’s lives, so she reached out to Samuel directly to see if she could join the team and help get the app out into the world. Not long after, Fionah was hired as a public relations officer, tasked with handling marketing, advocacy, and communications efforts to grow the app even further.

Kabagweri Fionah and Samuel Mugisha

Fionah joined the team at just the right time. Through her outreach efforts, Samuel and his team gained access to a local hospital in Kampala where they could actually put the Immunization Calculator to the test. Beyond just spreading the word, testing at the hospital helped them identify and fix bugs in the system and prepare their app for future, larger-scale testing. Recently, Samuel and his team reached an even bigger milestone. Thanks to Fionah’s persistence, the team was given an opportunity to deploy their project at the biggest health center in Kyegegwa District. Samuel and his team are currently working to raise funds so that they can complete a full year of system testing at the center.

Samuel at the health center in Kyegegwa District

As Samuel explains, Google Developer Student Clubs has helped his team get their foot in the door all along the way:

“Mentioning that the project was globally awarded by the GDSC program prompts someone’s attention to listen to the innovation, and this has helped us during the pitching.”

Setting himself up for success

Samuel credits the Solution Challenge and Google Developer Student Clubs for helping him transform his brilliant idea into a life-changing application. He puts it best when explaining why winning the Solution Challenge was such a huge motivation for him and his team.

“It gave us a tremendous understanding of what we had on our laptops and how much it can save children’s lives out there.”

Thanks to Google Developer Student Clubs, Samuel found a team of bold thinkers with the same passion to help others, and the drive to turn an idea into reality. Google Developer Experts were crucial in helping them bring the app’s functionalities to the next level. Samuel and his peers were given access to the tools they needed to grow: Coursera, Qwiklabs, Pluralsight, and Google Cloud credits to polish their development skills.

This year’s Solution Challenge Demo Day is right around the corner on August 26th, where the top 10 finalists will showcase their projects to Google and developers around the world live on YouTube for a chance to be named one of the final 3 winning teams. Samuel knows what the pressure feels like, and he’s got some great advice for the current finalists:

“Be the mastermind of your project and dwell most on the change or impact it can bring to the world. Not how big it is, or how expensive it is, or how technical it is. Success is not final and failure is not fatal. Identify what went wrong, correct and implement it, then prepare for another shot.”

Thanks to Samuel’s focus on the goal and drive to make a difference, he and his team are well on their way to making healthcare more accessible for Ugandans in his community and beyond. Google Developer Student Clubs are perfect for building solutions to help your community with other students who share your passion. Equip yourself with the knowledge you need to bring your best idea to life. Click here to find a Google Developer Community Student Club community near you.

Incarcerated people learn to code: How one community organizer is changing lives

Posted by Kubra Zengin, North America Regional Lead, Google Developer Groups

When asked to speak to a room full of incarcerated individuals about becoming developers, Danny Thompson didn’t bat an eye. Danny is an experienced software engineer and community organizer for Google Developer Groups Memphis.

But for the first ten years of his professional career, he worked in a gas station frying chicken. If anyone knows how to beat the odds and choose a different path in life, it’s him.

(Left) Danny Thompson working in a gas station (Right) At work in the tech industry

Danny Thompson is a big believer in the power of community. Over the years, he’s grown a vast network of thousands of aspiring developers, tech industry professionals, and career development experts through the Google Developer Group community and across social media. So it was no surprise when Danny was contacted to speak at an event hosted by Persevere, a non-profit that teaches justice-involved individuals how to code and helps them find careers as developers. By teaching skills like programming, Persevere has seen a decrease in recidivism rates. Through their job placement efforts, they are helping those that get out, stay out.

For Danny, signing up to help out was an easy decision. His biggest motivator in life is helping others succeed, no matter their hardships or where they come from.

“If someone wants to learn, that’s someone I want to help. Simple as that.”

In March of last year, Danny spoke to a room full of incarcerated people at the non-profit’s secure facility in Memphis, Tennessee. Incarcerated individuals from Tennessee prisons are brought to this offsite location for hands-on training with coding instructors. For hours, Danny taught Javascript concepts, gave career guidance, and shared his best tips for growing in the tech industry with program participants.

Thanks to Danny’s role as community organizer for GDG Memphis, he was able to share many learning materials that came directly from Google Developer Group events. Those enrolled in the program were also given access to Google Developer Group events online to help them learn new concepts and network with other developers.

Danny recognizes how difficult it can be for incarcerated individuals to reenter society without a helping hand and the skills they need to attain a well-paying job. As a result, many previously incarcerated people return to prison because they are unable to find employment and have higher chances of falling back into bad habits. But when they learn to code, recidivism rates drop dramatically.

Program participants continue learning at a transition center in Memphis, Tennessee

Anyone can be a developer

Danny knows what it’s like to not fit the mold of a typical developer. After working ten years as a fry cook at a gas station, he never considered that transitioning to a career in technology was even possible. However, everything changed for Danny when he began attending Google Developer Group meetups.

“There are zero chances I would have made it in this industry if it wasn’t for meetups.“

By networking with other developers, Danny gained the skills he needed to grow his early interest in coding into actual opportunity. Fast forward to today, and Danny is using his connection to Google Developer Groups to break barriers for anyone and everyone interested in pursuing a career in the tech industry. As an organizer for GDG Memphis, Danny designs mentorship opportunities with experts in the tech industry and hosts meetups that connect aspiring developers to hiring managers. Through opportunities just like these, Danny has helped over 600 people land jobs in tech, and he’s not stopping anytime soon.

GDG Memphis meetup event

“Your beginning doesn’t have to be your end. You do not have to be defined by the set of circumstances you’ve walked into.”

It’s never too late to join your local Google Developer Group. Learn new skills, advance your career, and meet other developers who share your interests. Anyone interested in tech is welcome, and joining is completely free.

To find your local chapter, click here.

How students built a web app with the potential to help frontline workers

Posted by Erica Hanson, Global Program Manager, Google Developer Student Clubs

Image of Olly and Daniel from GDSC at Wash U.

Image of Olly and Daniel from Google Developer Student Clubs at Wash U.

When Olly Cohen first arrived on campus at Washington University in St. Louis (Wash U), he knew the school was home to many talented and eager developers, just like him. Computer science is one of the most popular majors at Wash U, and graduates often find jobs in the tech industry. With that in mind, Olly was eager to build a community of peers who wanted to take theories learned in the classroom and put them to the test with tangible, real-life projects. So he decided to start his own Google Developer Student Club, a university-based community group for students interested in learning about Google developer technology.

Olly applied to become Google Developer Student Club Lead so he could start his own club with a faculty advisor, host workshops on developer products and platforms, and build projects that would give back to their community.

He didn’t know it at the time, but starting the club would eventually lead him to the most impactful development project of his early career — building a web application with the potential to help front-line healthcare workers in St. Louis, Missouri, during the pandemic.

Growing a community with a mission

The Google Developer Student Club grew quickly. Within the first few months, Olly and the core team signed up 150 members, hosted events with 40 to 60 attendees on average and began working on five different projects. One of the club’s first successful projects, led by Tom Janoski, was building a tool for the visually impaired. The app provides audio translations of visual media like newspapers and sports games.

This success inspired them to focus their projects on social good missions, and in particular helping small businesses in St. Louis. With a clear goal established, the club began to take off, growing to over 250 members managed by 9 core team members. They were soon building 10 different community-focused projects, and attracting the attention of many local leaders, including university officials, professors and organizers.

Building a web app for front-line healthcare workers

As the St. Louis community began to respond to the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, some of the leaders at Wash U wondered if there was a way to digitally track PPE needs from front-line health care staff at Wash U’s medical center. The Dean of McKelvey School of Engineering reached out to Olly Cohen and his friend Daniel Sosebee to see if the Google Developer Student Club could lend a hand.

The request was sweeping: Build a web application that could potentially work for the clinical staff of Wash U’s academic hospital, Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

So the students got right to work, consulting with Google employees, Wash U computer science professors, an industry software engineer, and an M.D./Ph.D. candidate at the university’s School of Medicine.

With the team assembled, the student developers first created a platform where they could base their solution. Next, they built a simple prototype with a Google Form that linked to Google Sheets, so they could launch a pilot. Lastly, in conjunction with the Google Form, they developed a serverless web application with a form and data portal that could let all staff members easily request new PPE supplies.

In other words, their solution was showing the potential to help medical personnel track PPE shortages in real time digitally, making it easier and faster to identify and gather the resources doctors need right away. A web app built by students poised to make a true difference, now that is what the Google Developer Student Club experience is all about.

Ready to make a difference?

Are you a student who also wants to use technology to make a difference in your community? Click here to learn more about joining or starting a Google Developer Student Club near you.

With 1,600 students by his side, Jack Lee grew the largest Google Developer Student Club in the world

Posted by Noa Havazelet, Program Manager, Google Developer Student Clubs, UK & Ireland

With 1,600 students by his side, Jack Lee grew the largest Google Developer Student Club in the world in just 6 months at the London School of Economics (LSE). A life-long athlete, who loves leading teams, Jack saw that reigniting his university’s GDSC would be a great opportunity to have a large impact on the local tech scene. With a heavy focus on partnerships, Jack connected members of his club with leaders at top companies and other student groups across Scotland, France, Norway, Canada, and Nigeria. These collaborations enabled students to practice networking, while gaining access to key internships.

Learn more about Jack and his club below.

Image of Jack Lee

Image of Jack Lee speaking at a GDSC event

Student-to-student mentorship with impact

Leaders like Jack Lee make Google Developer Student Clubs around the world special by providing a trusted and fun space for student-to-student mentorship. When students step up to help their peers, a strong camaraderie and support system forms beyond the classroom.

One of the secrets to Jack’s success was to appeal to both computer science students as well as those with a non-technical background, like business majors. To inspire more students with different backgrounds to join the club, Jack put together a team of additional student leaders. Under his leadership, this team had the freedom to independently build tech-focused events that would interest students across the university.

Image of GDSC LSE team

After the first semester, Jack’s approach was working. They hosted over 80 events, covering a wide range of topics including front end web development and career talks with financial firms.

The intersection of students with different backgrounds inspired club members to work together on community projects, utilizing their different skills. In fact, a few club members formed teams to solve for one of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. As part of the Google Developer Student Clubs 2021 Solution Challenge, students from the London School of Economics developed prototype solutions for NGOs on 1) wildfire analysis using TensorFlow, 2) raising donations and grant access, and 3) increasing voter registrations.

As more students continued to join their GDSC, Jack decided to up the tempo to keep the momentum going.

Connecting students to companies

Since the London School of Economics is not only a tech-focused university, Jack requested support from a team at Google for Startups. Together they reached out to some of the world’s largest firms and startups to collaborate on events and specialized programs for the student club. Jack’s GDSC established relationships with 6 partners, and 3 local sponsors from startups, NGOs, and financial firms. All these partners contributed to nearly 30 events throughout the academic year, which included:

  • Introductory Python courses
  • Mentorship sessions
  • Networking events
  • Talks with CEOs
  • Panel talks across industries

These events started catching the attention of students across Europe and Asia, with some students who could not afford to attend university reaching out for technical learning resources and opportunities.

Connecting 150 students to mentors from different startups is one of the achievements that makes Jack and the club leaders most proud.

This is yet another example of how Jack’s determination to grow a stronger community led him to build a global Google Developer Student Club that left a profound impact on his fellow students.

If you’re also a student and want to join a Google Developer Student Club community like this, find one near you here.

Tech Camp introduces Georgia high schoolers to technology careers

Posted by Posted by Erica Hanson, Senior Program Manager, Google Developer Student Clubs

Tamta Kapanadze wishes that she had learned sooner about careers in technology. By the time that the Georgian citizen learned about them, she was already a university student.

As Kapanadze continued her studies and her interest in technology grew, she wanted to spread the word about the growing field to high-school students in Georgia, a country where the industry is still small.

To do this, Kapanadze called in the support of Google Developer Student Clubs (GDSCs), community groups for college and university students interested in Google’s developer technology. After Kapanadze graduated from university, she continued her work by organizing a chapter of Google Developer Groups (GDGs) for Kutaisi.

Google Developer Groups are the largest community network of professional developers in the world. The program consists of local chapters that provide inclusive environments open to everybody interested in tech. The chapters let members learn new skills, and meet other developers with similar interests through online and in-person events.

However, even after all that, Kapanadze still wanted to do more. She partnered with Mariam, GDSC Georgia American University Lead; Iliko, GDSC Georgia American University core team member; Giorgi, GDSC Tbilisi State University Lead; and Bakar, GDSC San Diego State University Lead. Together, they planned Tech Camp, a virtual technological learning experience that teaches high schoolers about tech fields and how to start careers in web development, game development, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and more.

While it’s difficult enough to plan and execute a new event, Kapanadze and her partners didn’t let the additional challenges of the last year stop their plans to launch Tech Camp. They wanted to publicize the event by mid-January, so they made a to-do list and set deadlines for themselves. After a few weeks of intense planning, they:

  • Chose the session topics
  • Started looking for speakers
  • Chose dates and created a timetable for the camp
  • Created an application form
  • And created logos and other designs

Kapanadze and her partners accepted applications for Tech Camp from Jan. 20 to Feb. 10 and announced their speakers to the public to keep the buzz about the event going. They originally hoped to receive 30 applications, but instead received 500. They decided to let a maximum of 300 students attend the speaker sessions and 500 students attend the coding sessions, where they would teach them about algorithms and the basics of C++.

Finally, the first day of Tech Camp arrived on Feb. 15. They began each session with fun icebreakers to help everybody feel comfortable, including themselves. Here’s a timeline of what each day covered:

  • Day 1:

    • Digital professions
    • Hardware and software
  • Day 2:

    • Mobile development
    • Web development
  • Day 3:

    • Cybersecurity
    • Game development
    • Data engineering
  • Day 4:

    • UI/UX design
    • Embedded systems
  • Day 5:

    • Cloud
    • Test automation
  • Day 6:

    • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
    • Career development
  • Day 7:

    • Importance of technology
    • Freelance jobs
    • Award ceremony

Everybody defines success differently, but for Kapanadze it meant impacting at least one person. By this measure, Tech Camp succeeded because many of those who attended decided to pursue careers in tech. As for Kapanadze, she can’t wait to see what the future holds for Georgia’s high schoolers and the country’s growing tech industry.

To watch recordings from Tech Camp, please visit the playlist on YouTube.

For more information, find a Google Developers community group near you.

Inviting educators to the Google Developers India Faculty Summit on 23rd April, 2021

Posted by Harsh Dattani, Community Manager

University professors have a large impact by educating the next generation of developers and engineers. Google Developers wants to enable university faculty with the best curriculum on Android development and programs. Earlier this year we announced the launch of our new faculty-led curriculum for Android Development with Kotlin in India. The curriculum is based on classroom learning (virtual or in-person) with an instructor delivering lectures on important Android concepts and students receiving hands-on practice through interactive pathways.

The Google Developers India Faculty Summit 2021 will kick things off on April 23rd. The Faculty Development Training program provides faculty from different universities in India with resources designed by a team at Google.

Current partners in India include: Shivaji University, I. K. Gujral Punjab Technical University, Chandigarh University, Ganpat University, Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge (TASK), Learn 4 Grow, Teerthanker Mahaveer University and Information, and Communication Technology Academy of Kerala. These organizations will be the first to learn and offer this curriculum to their students with more universities to follow in upcoming semesters.

Leading scholars and educational influencers from computer science faculties at Indian universities will be in attendance, giving attendees the perfect chance to network with other professionals in Android development.

Chief guest for the event is Professor Anil D. Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). As he describes the upcoming summit,

Google India Faculty Summit 2021 is a great opportunity for faculties of technical institutes to understand & assimilate nuances of Android Application Development using Kotlin and in turn disseminate the same to students, challenge them to create new applications, innovative solutions and make them entrepreneurs/employable engineers.

Register today for the summit here and see you on April 23rd at 10 AM IST.