Those who know me are aware that I’ve given talks at various Meetups in the past. I’ve presented at colleges as well. But I’ve never written about it. This time, I decided to write my thoughts (in general). Also I’d write about my experience while talking at Nirma University, Ahmedabad during past two days about career options for Python programmers.
One of the reasons I’m always eager to talk at colleges/universities is that it gives me an opportunity to go back to that lively part of the world where I myself had a great time. School and college days are the days when most of us make best friends and memories. I love and enjoy interacting with the students; and, more often than not, end up learning something from their questions/feedback.
Another reason I like to go there and talk is that I see a pretty big gap between students’ knowledge and industry expectations.
General thoughts (not specific to any college/university)
There’s no shortage of engineers in India - for pretty much any domain. But most companies don’t hire because they don’t find students’ knowledge up to the mark. Students excel at academics but have very less or no clue of what’s really going on in the industry.
For example, Python is gaining momentum in Indian IT industry since past few years. And in spite of being such a beautiful and easy-to-learn programming language, numerous students are unaware of it. I’ve interacted with number of students in past few years, and more than few have mentioned that they get so scared of programming while studying C and C++ that they contemplate giving up on programming! In worse case, sometimes they even make up their mind to do MBA instead. Most, if not all, have felt that Python should be the first programming being taught in college/university instead of C. Debatable topic, nonetheless.
Having studied these programming languages myself, I agree with the notion of making Python the first programming language to be taught instead of C. It helps get students excited about programming. And then it would make more sense to teach C and C++.
Experience at Nirma University
Nirma University was my dream university as a 10+2 student. But, due to health reasons, I was bedridden for almost four months before the final (board) exams and didn’t get to work hard enough to realize the dream. Naturally I was super excited about giving a talk at Nirma! 😄
The students I interacted with were from Electronics & Communication (EC) branch and had a fractional course on Python in their fifth semester curriculum. As a part of it, I was invited as an industry person to talk to them about how Python is used in industry and what kind of jobs/roles/opportunities are open for Python programmers.
To be honest, it’s my favorite part to talk to students about the plethora of opprtunities that Python, Linux and open source in general would open up for them.
Topics I covered (link to slides):
- History of Python
- Which organizations use Python and how they use them
- Detailed discussion about
- Web Frameworks
- How Instagram uses Django. Link to their engineering blog
- How hot the domain of Data Science is and awesome collection of projects under the SciPy ecosystem
- How Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are changing things. I recommended them to watch Person of Interest and Eagle Eye to get a better understanding. 😉
- Python for Embedded Systems
- Web Frameworks
- How to leverage MOOC content to learn more about Python and its applications!
- …and more
While talking about web frameworks, I explained what backend and frontend are. We take the 24x7x365 availability of our favorite apps (WhatsApp, Instagram, FB, Twitter, etc.) lightly; even, for granted. With examples, it was easy to explain them that it’s not really an easy task and it requires good deal of engineering effort. Ironicaly, WhatsApp faced glitches the same day in the afternoon and hashtag #whatsappdown was trending in India for almost rest of the day! I guess they’ll never forget frontend-backend for rest of their career. 😉
I’ve uploaded the slides to Slideshare. If you are one of the students from Nirma University that attended the seminar, consider providing your feedback on the form at the end of the slides.
Let me know what you think in the comments below! Until next time. 😄