Engineer’s day

15 September is celebrated as Engineer’s Day in India in memory of Sir M. Visvesvaraya. He is one of the best engineers the world has ever seen. We, as Indians, should be proud of him.


Last month I received an email from Shri Raksha, a Firefox Student Ambassador & Club lead of K S Institute of Technology, Bangalore. It was an invitation to speak at their club launch on the 15th of September.

After travelling for more than 20 km, I reached their college at around 10:40 AM. Probably the first time I’ve travelled so much for an event in the same city! Upon reaching the college I learned that they had many other events on the same day organized by different departments.

Oh, interesting! What’s with so many events? What was special about today? 

It’s Engineers day!
Yes, I’m ashamed and guilty of not knowing that I was to speak at an event on Engineer’s Day.

Pro-Tip to event organizers: If you’re inviting someone to speak at an event, please give them the full context.
Pro-Tip to speakers: If you’re invited to speak at the event, always research about the date. September 15th was also International Democracy Day. Had I read about it earlier, I could’ve spoken about Democracy. (#JustSaying)

Fast forward to the event, I met the team behind the event and the FSA’s. Soon, the teachers and HoD’s from various departments came. It was a full house.

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I was invited to the dais to join the HoD of Computer Science Department and their Principal. It was an honour sitting among these great teachers.
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It’s been a while since I’ve visited a college and for some reason it felt nice to be with students again.Like every traditional inauguration, this one too had lighting the lamp. (One of those rare things that make me feel really old).
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Their principal, Dr. Govindaraju spoke about Engineer’s day, Sir MV and his achievements. He also spoke about making softwares, applying for patents and monetizing them. Maybe I’m more of a Tesla person. I believe in using technology or making softwares to solve problems. If you make something to solve a problem, it’s more likely to help someone else solve theirs too, so share that knowledge. Monetizing is never a bad idea. However, that shouldn’t be your end goal. The achievable must be a solution to the problem. To each his own, I guess.

The wonderful students of the club had made a mobile app to register for events and get updates on upcoming club events. It was an honour to be invited to launch their app along with the Principal.
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I always admire the capability of students to organize events. Some colleges don’t even support the students in this, however, KSIT had made a really good effort to support student initiatives, events and personal growth.

I was invited to talk and share more about the Mozilla and what I do with the Mozilla Learning Networks. During the event I learned about all the amazing things Shri Raksha and her team were already doing. They’ve conducted events in schools to teach kids about the web. I later learned that KidZilla was a huge inspiration for them to do this. Go team!img_7446

As I picked up the mic to speak, I couldn’t help but smile. I had to share the reason behind that with the audience.

On Engineer’s Day, talking to a room full of Computer Science engineers, was me, who’s a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science and Engineering, but chose to leave that behind and become a full-time Community Builder at a startup because that’s what I’m passionate about! Communities! People! Building relationships!

This was a great time to rethink their choices in life. Why?

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Until now, in every event that I’ve spoken at, I’ve met those students who  are least interested in engineering but have chosen the subject because their parents told them to or because they we’re clueless at the time of admission and wanted to do what most of their friends were doing.


Last week, I was talking to some amazing community managers based out of the US and the UK. Learning from their experience and understanding more about the Community management scene outside India. Why? Because it’s non-existent in India! That’s why! Community Management isn’t a thing in India.

Companies here don’t see value in investing in people or building communities. What matters to them are number of customers, downloads of their app or people using their service. One of the people I was talking to, told me that he saw a post on LinkedIn from a company in India saying that they’re hiring a Community Manager. He read the role only to figure out it was a role under the Marketing & Sales team to sell their product offline!
At this point, my reaction was..
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Right now, the best tip I probably could give the students was to do whatever they liked & enjoyed. Don’t follow the crowd. Mozilla has different projects you could contribute to. This is an organization where everything is transparent and where people work collaboratively. This means that you can contribute to any project you wish and can interact with the paid contributors working on it. This gives you the opportunity to learn so much about how things work and most importantly, get more clarity, if not an answer, to that weird question:
What do you see yourself doing in the next 5 years?

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Thank your for inviting me to speak at KSIT. I had a great time with you all. For the folks who came to talk to me after the event and telling me that the talk was “refreshing”..
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Mozilla Web Literacy workshop at Darbar College

Almost a year ago, Mr.Praveen, an assistant professor at Darbar college reached out to me to guide his students to contribute to Mozilla. We did the very first Mozilla event in the whole of Bijapur last year.

It was amazing to receive an invite from Darbar college for the second time to conduct a follow-up workshop. The best part was to see the contributors grow in such a short span of time.

Some observations over time

  • Students had more awareness about Mozilla, what we do for web literacy, about Firefox being open source and even some of the contribution pathways.
  • The teachers and management was more welcoming because of the leadership opportunity they see in associating with such workshops.
  • For them , this is also an opportunity to add this to their showcase of events during admissions. Events like this give them an edge over other colleges in the city.
  • Mr.Praveen, the assistant professor who’s our point of contact from the college, is now doing a research paper including Mozilla Firefox in his test cases on  open source.
  • He is also working hard in spreading the adoption of open source and volunteers his time educating his colleagues on various internet related issues.

The session started at around 10 am with a quick overview about what happened during last year’s session(for the students attending this for the first time). The entire session was divided into two parts

  1. A brief idea about Mozilla, MLN and Mozilla Clubs.
  2. Prototyping and presenting teaching activities.

During the first session, we discussed about various topics trending on the internet such as privacy, surveillance and sharing personal data on the internet like Apple vs FBI, FreeBasics etc. The students agreed that there are lot of issues they are ignorant about, but need to build better awareness so that they can be vocal about these.

During the second half, we started prototyping and presenting concepts in a fun manner. The idea was to explain about technology and computer related topics in a fun and participatory manner to a 5th grade student.

Absolutely loved the energy in the entire room when they started ideating. I’ve tried to capture some of the ideas generated out of these sesssions below.

  1. Team 1:
    Members: Shanwaz, Vaibhavlaxmi, Sujuta, Ashwini, Sushma
    Idea:
    Explaining the concept of networking with the help of hoomans!<a data-flickr-embed=”true”  href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/116230719@N08/27747229754/in/album-72157670469998381/&#8221; title=”DSC_6409″><img src=”https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8592/27747229754_c2f9a1b067_c.jpg&#8221; width=”800″ height=”534″ alt=”DSC_6409″></a>//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsDetails:
    The team explained the basic idea of networking along with the types (LAN, MAN, WAN) with the help of people standing inside a circle.
    First, they formed a small circle with a PC who would be inside the circle. This mean the PC is in the Local Area Network. After this, the PC moves out of the circle demonstrating that it’s no longer a part of the LAN. The circle then extends to form the MAN and the similar excercise is carried out to show WAN. This was a quick and easy way to show the different types of networks as well as the concept of networking to a 5th grade students.
  2. Team 2:
    Members: Pradeep, Anand, Vinod, Riyan, Madesh, Siddarth, Karthick and Manju

     

    Idea:
    A skit on ordering a custom assembled PC online.<a data-flickr-embed=”true”  href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/116230719@N08/28259755122/in/album-72157670469998381/&#8221; title=”DSC_6414″><img src=”https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8699/28259755122_0d4e4c323b_c.jpg&#8221; width=”800″ height=”534″ alt=”DSC_6414″></a>//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

    Details:
    The team did a short skit on a website where you can order a custom PC with your own configuration and the process behind it. Everyone is aware that assembled PC’s are expensive. This offers a platform to order custom built versions. They demonstrated this by showing different students as different components like- PC, website, monitor, CPU, keyboard etc. in a very funny and interactive manner. Especially loved the way they showed Google loading the search results.

  3. Team 3:
    Members:Akshata, Rohini, Asharani, Jyoti, Pooja
    Idea:
    A skit on the contrast between an internet enabled teaching environment and one without internet.<a data-flickr-embed=”true”  href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/116230719@N08/27747610813/in/album-72157670469998381/&#8221; title=”DSC_6416″><img src=”https://c6.staticflickr.com/9/8657/27747610813_ddf5e54003_c.jpg&#8221; width=”800″ height=”534″ alt=”DSC_6416″></a>//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

    Details:
    The team did a skit in a government school setup with a teacher and two students. The teacher explains the students about the various generations of computers and the students ask questions on how it looks, why is it called that etc. This is when the teacher with internet enabled smart phones comes to the class and teaches her colleague to use the internet on her smart phone and that too in her local language. This impacted the students in a large way and they were now able to understand much better.

  4. Team 4:
    Members: Nasira, Amruta, Shreya, Arun, Pradeep, Akash, Varun, Shashikani
    Idea:
    A skit on how Online Shopping works.<a data-flickr-embed=”true”  href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/116230719@N08/27747597784/in/album-72157670469998381/&#8221; title=”DSC_6419″><img src=”https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8598/27747597784_db851b6c2d_c.jpg&#8221; width=”800″ height=”534″ alt=”DSC_6419″></a>//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

    Details:
    The team did a skit on how online shopping works. Right from the placing of order, to dispatching the same by the courier service. They also showed the availability or returning an order. This is used by ecommerce services like Amazon, Flipkart etc.

  5. Team 5:
    Members: Mahadev, Vishwanath , Akash , Anand , Varunkumar , Vishal, Ravikiran
    Idea:
    A detailed explanation on what happens during software installation.<a data-flickr-embed=”true”  href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/116230719@N08/27747546123/in/album-72157670469998381/&#8221; title=”DSC_6420″><img src=”https://c4.staticflickr.com/9/8636/27747546123_b3e909e528_c.jpg&#8221; width=”800″ height=”534″ alt=”DSC_6420″></a>//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

    Details:
    This team gave a detailed step by step process of installing a software. From browsing, to installing to setup to packaged installer to admin permissions to files in the registry.

    Press Report:

    <blockquote class=”imgur-embed-pub” lang=”en” data-id=”UtlKnju”><a href=”//imgur.com/UtlKnju”>View post on imgur.com</a></blockquote>//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js

    <blockquote class=”imgur-embed-pub” lang=”en” data-id=”xkeHJgL”><a href=”//imgur.com/xkeHJgL”>View post on imgur.com</a></blockquote>//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js

    My day in Bijapur:

    Flickr link