Monday October 21st
DSC North America Summit in a weekend
First Developer Student Club Leads Summit (North America)
(group Root 81 aka 9 strikes a pose)
- I attended the first Developer Student Club Leads Summit in North America
- Google chose persons from various schools (around 100 of us) to be leads who start groups on our campus that encourage persons from our schools and in our communities to build things using Google technologies such as Google Cloud, Auto ML, Firebase, etc.
- I really applied on a whim last minute, because someone had posted about it on reddit, and I happened to read the description and thought that it would be a good fit for me because I wanted to make a difference on my campus, and as someone who didn’t study CS originally, I thought I’d be empathetic to their intent of making the Club not just for CS majors. The intent is to empower your local community to solve problems using Google technologies, which I think is a pretty great approach. I love people from different backgrounds! At the moment, I am TA-ing a class for engineers who are learning coding, and I’m enjoying it a lot. In terms of training, I also had done Cloud on Board certifications, had given talks at my local GDG chapter (LA), had attended a GDG chapter in San Francisco, taken part and volunteered in Dev Fests for three years, and had already taken the Cloud Coursera course…randomly? The technology was interesting to me, and I had taken the time to learn about how it worked. I’m by no means an expert, but I understand a bit of it from two-day training in LA (twice) at Google LA, and one day of training in SF for their Cloud on Board event.
- As it turns out, I was selected as my School’s Student lead, so I’ve been organizing a time and place for a Cloud Jam in the future, and other data-related events. Our school is data-focused, so I have a good idea of the sort of projects people at my school would like. However, as they stressed, take the time to pick a core team. I’m working on that at the moment, because my intent is that I can pass this opportunity to someone else (preferably an undergrad) next year.
GDG is different from DSC
- Just to be clear; GDG was the group locally that was a mix of professional developers and students in different cities. In my case, I was a part of GDG. Even when I started hanging out more in FP meetups, I couldn’t let GDG go. It was very much a part of my tech-identity, just like hackerspaces are! The DSC, on the other hand, is in North America for the first time, and its intent is to have such a club on campuses in North America. To obtain a Student Lead position, we had to submit a video, apply and conduct an interview with someone from Google. In return, we are promised support from Google in terms of training, mentorship, etc. So we do the work locally in empowering our community, and they try to support us as best they can with the things we need.
Why mentorship is important
- I got into GDG because Matt, from GDG LA sort of took me under his wing. I happened to attend a GDG group locally, back when I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life, not because of the name Google, but because I had thought the topic was interesting on that night. Matt, who ran the GDG LA group forever, reached out to me and asked me if I’d like to help with Dev Fest, and I ended up helping with registrations, setting up chairs, packing swag bags and giving out tshirts to attendees. Later on, I even ended up giving a few talks at my local GDG chapter. Looking back, I still don’t know quite how that all happened. I’m super thankful for Matt and all the opportunities he gave to me when I was trying to figure things out, because it ultimately led to my becoming a Developer Student Club lead for my local chapter here in Vermont.
So they flew me out to Sunnyvale
- I had opted to get a place in San Francisco, because I wanted to visit my hackerspace after the event. I wasn’t able to meet up with everyone, because it was a jam-packed weekend, but I did get to see a few friends! Maybe next time I’m in SF I’ll get to hang out with some more of my friends!
- I opted to stay at the W. It was really great, and very convenient. No complaints at all.
We got onto the G Bus
- There was a dinner on Friday evening, but I opted out because I was really tired. I had some banking stuff to get done, which was left over from my time interning in the Bay area. So between that and a customary visit to Hog Island, I was exhausted.
Here is me on the bus
DSC in Google Cloud’s new building
- They really went all out, and we were in MP1, which is one of the new Cloud buildings.
- We had several speakers talk about how they got to Google, their values and purpose. I enjoyed all the talks! We also had quite a few coding sessions! Jason worked on Shazam before coming to Google. I enjoyed hearing from him. He answered a few questions afterwards in a small group about starting your own startup or company, and building a successful team or organization.
Organizers of DSC
- After months of speaking, it was lovely meeting the organizers of the programme in person. They are just as lovely as you would expect.
- It’s still Halloween season, and this was reflected in our surroundings, which was fun!
- He spoke about Firebase. A long time ago, I think I was making an NLP thing using Firebase and I broke my model. I might have it in a blog post somewhere. It was super fun and I was able to follow along with his lab. I also got brownie points from him because he said I was the only person who knew “what every tech presentation needs”. I yelled out “cat photos?”.
More random photos
- His name is Squish!
We had a Scavenger Hunt
We were split into teams and had a Scavenger hunt at Googleplex. It was super fun and I helped my team with two important clues. One was in finding the X-Prize plane, and the other was a the Acrobat statue, in honour of Adobe Acrobat, by building 45. We were in third place, but slipped to fourth (out of 10 teams). It was still super fun and we had a karaoke session at Building 45 afterwards (the one with the glowing android eyes), among other things.
- We had team presentations by group. Our group was group nine, so our name was Root 81.
It was sad leaving
- I headed over to my hackerspace, and hung out with some of my friends there. It was awesome and I love my hackerspace. People were working on crypto problems, one guy was soldering a musical instrument via a PCB board, among other things. We sat around drinking boba and chatting.
Finally, I had to head to the airport
- I had a lot of time to spare, but when I got to Chicago, I boarded my flight to Burlington with only four minutes to spare. I stopped to snap this photo, though :D
I woke up to a beautiful view
- but the view was uh..fog. This fog meant that we had to make a stop in Plattsburgh, refuel, and wait for the fog to subside. So that meant that I missed my class for the day, and arrived in town two hours later than I intended, but it worked out just fine.
Plattsburgh, NY…by accident
All in all
- I left motivated, and grateful for everything. It was a fun weekend! I’ll miss all the other leads; they are all special people who are great leaders, with such a bright future. It was inspiring to be around everyone, and it felt very much like a family. I’m really thankful for the opportunity! Now off to start a club on campus that can inspire students the way GDG inspired me when I was in LA!
Here is some swag they sent!
- I will be sharing this with my peers at my school! :D
And that’s it!
- (photo courtesy Google Developer Student Clubs)