DSC Journey - Selection, Summit, Activities, Experience
🔥 I am going to kickstart this article by first introducing myself & then why I am writing this article. If you guys already know about me, then you can just skip to the next paragraph. But for those who just stumbled to my blog & reading this article because they want to get my two cents about the Google's Developer Student Clubs (DSC) program and to read about my journey then this is who I am.
- 🚀 First Google's DSC Lead for my campus
- 🙌🏻 One of the 42 Student Leads from all across Pakistan
- 🤓 Alumni of DSC Lead Batch 1 for Pakistan
- 🎩 Beta Student Partner at Microsoft
- ⚡️ Web Dev Apprentice at TheDevCouple
You can read more about me here. But for now, let's talk about why I am writing this piece. So I did a lot of research before applying to Google's DSC program last year. Surfing through the internet, reading previous Leads articles, watching old videos about the program was all I was doing. 📖
🔍 I had to go deep to find what I was looking for. I even contacted an old DSC Lead from India to ask him some questions. So now, I am writing this article to talk about my journey, how it all started for me & to answer some common questions that pop up in everyone's mind about this program.
How it all started for me?
DSC program was officially launched a couple of years back. For Pakistan, it was launched last year. When I first came across it, I decided not to apply because of the voice at the back of my head constantly telling me that I am not worth it. But guess what?! I applied anyway, interviewed, got selected, completed my time, and now writing about my journey. 🥳🥂
Back then the application form was of 8 pages long but now it is only of 2 pages. Shad Roi, WHY THE INJUSTICE?!! I am just joking. I think for starting the program in Pakistan for the first time, Google needed to filter through a lot of potential candidates. Hence, the long-form. But it's, of course, just my speculation. 🤷🏻♂️
I was serious about the program. I wanted to bring Google to my university. So I did what I always do when applying somewhere. I copied all the questions to a Google Doc & started answering them one at a time, putting all my effort & focus to it. 👨🏻💻
A funny thing happened when I was applying for the Lead. The deadline for the applications was April 15 and I started working late on my application. I worked hard & collected all the required things like the recommendation letter & making a video. I applied just a day before the deadline. The next day I got the news that the application deadline has been extended to another month. 🤦🏻♂️
Soon after the applications closed, I got an email from Google telling me that I have passed the first evaluation round & now it is time for the Hangouts interview. I was so excited when I saw the email & knowing I am past the first stage. ⚡️
I remember that my interview went pretty well. I am not sure if you ever had a gut feeling before or not but after my interview, I had a strong feeling that I have made it. 🙌🏻
After a month or two later, one morning when I checked my mail, I was greeted by the DSC selection email. I used to think that it is a cliché that when you slowly start reading something out loud out of excitement. But then this actually happened to me when I started reading the selection email. I was so thrilled to finally know that I have made it to the finish line. 🎉
I wrote a small piece about my selection. If you are interested in reading it, click here.
The next big thing was the first DSC Summit that happened in October of 2019. It was a three day fully funded event by Google for DSC Leads. Every one of us was brought to the Islamabad from our cities where we stayed at the Marriott Hotel. The actual event took place in the National Incubation Center (NIC). Many Googlers also flew to the capital from abroad to deliver different talks. 🏙
⚙ TechValley, an Abbottabad based company, was overseeing the whole summit. They handled everything, from our commute to hotel reservations to our meals. I must say, they did a marvelous job of keeping us on schedule. 😂
Some of the Leads who were traveling from Karachi or Hyderabad were given a plane ticket whereas the rest of us traveled by road. We left at dawn, greeted by TechValley folks by 11 PM and then reached the hotel around 1 PM. 😪
DAY 1 - Firebase, Angular.js, Community Dinner
The first thing we got on our arrival was a file. It had everything in it that we needed or might need in case of an emergency. The file also had 100 stickers in it which was amazing. 👏
We also received two awesome T-shirts to wear on the summit. You will see me wearing them ahead. 😉
We had consecutive workshops with a couple of breaks in between for Tea. We all need Tea to recharge ourselves. Right?!
🙌 All the workshops were fun and interesting. But the one that caught my attention was about Angular.js delivered by Hüseyin Babal. Hüseyin came all the way from Turkey for a day just to get us started with Angular.js.
😋 The TechValley team had planned a community dinner for us so that we can eat, enjoy and network. By the time it started, we all were starving.
We were back in the hotel by 9 PM. We got our room keys, picked our bags and then headed to our rooms to change because we were not done. Here is the clip of one of the many things we did that night. 😆
Here are some of the pictures from day 1 of the summit. ❄
DAY 2 - Flutter, National Monument, Monal
The DSC Team at Google had carefully planned the event so that we would not lose interest at any point. So to kick start the 2nd day of the summit, the Google team first engaged us in an energizer, and then right after it, workshops began. 🤞
🚀 Considering the nature of the summit, workshops were both about technology and leadership. There were panel discussions, workshops on public speaking, how we could become future leaders, and many more. Betty Tsui, a recruiter at Google, delivered a workshop on Google Student Programs, where she told us about all the amazing opportunities that Google provides to young students. 😲
🌐 These workshops continued from 9:25 AM to 4:35 PM in the afternoon. Gazihan Alankus, a Google Developer Expert, delivered a workshop on Flutter and concluded the day. He gave us the basic introduction we need to get started with this amazing cross-platform Google's UI toolkit. His talk was particularly interesting because of all his practical demonstrations, which helped me understand things more clearly. 👨💻
National Monument of Pakistan
The folks from TechValley were really friendly, but when it came to following the schedule, they listened to no one. At around 4:40 PM, we were escorted back to the coasters and en route to the Pakistan National Monument. We took some personal pictures there, made some memories, and then our official picture was taken. 📷
The day was not over. Right after we took the official picture, we headed back to the buses, went to the hotel to change into a cultural attire, and then made our way towards Monal. I must say going to the top of the mountain is easy, but when it comes to coming down in the middle of the night on a bus that is driving at more than 50 KM/h you develop motion sickness for the time being or at least I did. 🤮
Who wants to sleep when youngsters from all across Pakistan have gathered in a single place to network?! Coming back from Monal, it was midnight and we decided to go outside and wander on the streets of Islamabad. We got a good night text from Shad Roi, our mentor. And at that moment, we were all outside the gates of Marriott. 😆
Ramis Mustafa and Ali Naqi were leading the way and after an hour-long walk, we reached F7. The things we did next, I am going to keep them redacted. But it was surely a night to remember. 🙌
Here is a picture ft. Haroon Ahmad asking Ramis Mustafa something something. 😛
DAY 3 - Checkout, Resume building, Departure
Even on the last day, which is usually about goodbyes, we didn't stop learning. We had a couple of community building, résumé building, and marketing workshops. If you are looking for how you can create an effective résumé, click here. You will find an amazing talk by Betty Tsui on what Google expects, sees, and how it analyzes your résumé when you send it for an internship or a job. 🤞
🎓 Being an aspirant Computer Scientist, you have many questions and no one to answer unless you have a proper mentor. So what's cooler than getting those answers from the top tiers of the tech industry? For this, there was an open Q/A session where all the Googlers came up on the stage, and we had the opportunity to ask them almost anything whatsoever. So, that's what we did. 😎
🎙 Shad delivered the closing remarks by telling us about the importance of what we are all doing. There were also some goosebumps moments involved. Here is the picture of all of us.
🥳 And this concluded the Developer Student Club Summit 2019. Woohoo!! Here is the picture of the amazing people who came from abroad just to provide us with these amazing three-day experience.
Becoming the top GDSC Lead from Southeast Asia
Since the 42 of us made it to the first batch of DSC Leads from Pakistan, we have been working tirelessly to keep this new spark alive. We have organized different hands-on workshops, study jams, talks and much more. All of these efforts were to put our country, Pakistan, at the top of the worldwide DSC community. 💪
🚀 In December of 2019, Google shared some stats with the Leads to let all of us know who is leading in the whole southeast Asia. According to the stats, I was among the top leads. I wrote a detailed piece on it. If you are interested in giving it a read, click here.
Workshops, talks, and sessions
During my year-long journey, I gave several talks, organized many sessions & conducted many study JAMs. I experienced tremendous personal growth as well. 🙌🏻
At the time, I thought it would be best to deliver my first workshop on version control under the hood of DSC. I believe this is the demand of our field & every Computer Science major should know how to work their way around Git & use GitHub for collaboration. So, that's what I did.
After the first one, the DSC UET chapter kept organizing workshops & sessions on different topics. We did a Cloud Study JAM, we invited Jabran Rafique, a UK based developer to give a talk. We started conducting outdoor sessions where we just sat in a circle in front of a department & learn together.
When the freshman batch came, our community started growing again. I delivered an Info session to the new faces & let them knew the opportunity that awaited them. More & more people joined us & we started making an impact. 💪🏻
If I need to use a single word to describe my whole experience, I would use the word thrilling or uncanny. The whole thing helped me to grow so much both personally & technically. I faced so many hurdles (university politics mostly 🤷🏻♂️) over the time that I started finding common ground between me & the university. I developed a problem-solving instinct.
This program helped me to get connected with so many amazing people. I met a lot of youngsters like me who were passionate about making an impact on this society. ⚡️
So, I am going to answer some common questions people have asked me over the time about GDSC.
I am a freshman. Should I apply?
You should definitely apply. I was a freshman when I applied & then I led DSC in my sophomore year. 🙌🏻
Can more than one lead be selected from a university?
No, Google only chooses one person from a university to lead Developer Student Club there. 👨🏻💻
What are the benefits of being the GDSC Lead?
There are loads of benefits of being the Lead.
- You make so many connections not only in Pakistan but also across the globe.
- You get access to Google resources.
- You experience a lot of personal growth.
- You are invited to fully funded DSC Summit.
- These are just the tip of the iceberg. 🔥
If you guys have any questions, you can just ask them in the comment section down below. So, this was my whole DSC journey. I hope it was as interesting & enjoyable for you to read as it was for me to experience. 🙂