Talking Containers at IIT Gandhinagar

Series: Speaking

I’m an engineering graduate from India. IITs are the best engineering institutes in India. NITs follow the suite. Although some might want to debate, that’s not the point of this post. I pursued my engineering education from a non-IIT and non-NIT institute. I think most engineering graduates in India have dreamed of being in IIT/NIT and I’m no exception. Studying at IIT was my dream as well but, it’s not an easy feat to get into one.

So when I got an opportunity to speak at IIT Gandhinagar, I was obviously excited. Topic was containers. And the expected audience was extremely dispersed. I was expected to address under-grad, post-grad and doctarate students from Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.

Considering the vast audience, I decided to start from the beginning about how containers evolved, how they compare with VMs, how Docker popularized them, how Kubernetes took over the orchestration world and how containers have made a lasting impact on the development and deployment story. I also discussed about monoliths and microservices.

The Talk

First, the slides:

I started with a show of hands to know how many in the audience had heard of or played with containers. Surprisiginly there were just about 2-3 people. Total audience was around 25-30, I guess. So my decision to start from how it all began proved to be right.

As I went ahead with the slides, I got some questions around the slide that talked about Docker commands.

Although there weren’t many questions around the rest of the slides, it did seem like the topics mentioned in the slides were likely unheard of earlier by the audience.

At the end of the talk, one of the PhD students told me that she found my talk interesting+informative but she’s not much into the architecture stuff. At that time, I was a bit confused about why she said so and didn’t get a chance to talk further. However, I don’t think my talk was around computer architecture. It did talk about the microservices pattern but due to lack of time, I didn’t dive deep into it.

Informal discussions with faculties

I went to IIT Gandhinagar upon invitation from one of the faculty members. And two more faculty members attended my talk. I got an opportunity to interact with three faculties and the discussions were pretty interesting. Having talked at few other colleges, I felt that, in general, challenges they face are pretty much the same.

General opinion of the faculties was that most students weren’t really aware of much of the things happening in the world of containers. One of the surprising discussion was around how students felt that it was more rewarding to work on making web/mobile apps than working on Operating Systems, Networking, and other things that keep you closer to the hardware. Having worked with people doing both sort of things, I certainly feel like working on the latter is rewarding as well. Sure the hype is around making next breakthrough (read multi-million dollar) app but, the core things that make them possible are seeing development as well!

We even planned on having a workshop to have hands-on about containers and developing an app based on microservices pattern. Idea of using OpenShift to do CI/CD, build images and eventually deploy the code seemed interesting to the faculty members.

Above all, and probably the best part, the faculties were more than willing to host community meetups at IIT Gandhinagar campus. I’m really looking forward to hosting a meetup at IIT Gandhinagar in near future! I’m sure many engineers would be excited to visit an IIT. 😉

Mistakes on my part

That’s it

Being a non-IIT grad, it was surely an exciting experience to be speaking to IIT students about the technologies that are changing the landscape. IIT Gandhinagar’s location is pretty amazing and far, far away from any sort of pollution one can think of - hence my kind of place. 😉

Until next time… 😄

This is a post in the Speaking series.
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