Why students should bunk classes to attend BarcampPune: projects, internships, recos
Pune has a – on Saturday, 14th November, from 10am to 5pm, at this weekendSCIT, Hinjewadi (bus pick-up & drop off provided from SICSR, Model Colony). A barcamp is a get-together of passionate people from (mostly) the technology domain – including students, young professionals and old, grizzly industry veterans. To understand more, see the PuneTech post that explains what a barcamp is, and what to expect.
This post talks about why it is a great opportunity for students, and why they should make every effort to attend barcamp, even if it means skipping college lectures for a day. Here are the top reasons:
- Finding great projects: Far too many student projects these days focus on ideas that were old 5 years ago, using technologies that are even older. To find be exposed to the latest trends in tecnologies, and to get ideas for very different and interesting projects, and to find passionate project guides, a barcamp is a great venue. This would be most useful for someone in their 3rd year. Now is the time to identify a good company to work with for a project. Far too many students start looking for projects in the beginning of their 4th year, and then scramble desperately as they’re unable to find sponsors. I would even encourage 2nd year students to do some mini-projects with the people they meet at barcamp. Nothing improves your resume as much as a “real” project with a “real” company. (Your course projects are all worthless.)
- Challenging internships with lots of responsibility: Many founders of Pune’s small startups will be at barcamp, and they are always looking for interns to work on their projects. Startups, by their very definition, have lots of cutting edge work to do, and not enough people to do it. So an internship at a startup will certainly give you much more responsibility, and the ability to work on latest technologies, than an internship at a larger company. If you’re looking for an internship starting in December’09 or January’10, come to barcamp, listen to the various presentations, and just directly approach the speakers you liked. Tell them you want an internship. Don’t be shy.
- Recommendation letters: I’ve realized that there are a number of students who want recommendation letters for their applications for MS in the US. Getting good recommendations means you have to do non-trivial work with people who matter, and who’ll be able to give you a good recommendation. Doing a B.E. project with someone is a poor way of getting a reco. Mainly because you need the reco in November, and by that time, you’ll have done so little work in your project that your guide will not be in a position to give a great recommendation. It would be much better to start working with them in your 3rd year. Even better if you start in 2nd year, so that you have a chance to do multiple projects with multiple people – more recos and more projects is better, right?
- Learning! There is a lot to learn at barcamp, as people talk about the latest technologies, new domains, and new opportunities. If you are one of those weird and rare students who’s actually interested in learning new things, and meeting people who can guide you, then barcamp is the place for you. (And if you are one of these, then I would like to meet you!) What can you learn at barcamp? For example, I’ll be talking about why it is very important, especially in India, to integrate voice (phone) and SMS into your web-based software. And how to do it. Priyank will probably talk about developing rich internet applications using Adobe Flex. Shankar might talk about how to convert your ideas to commercially viable innovation. Whatever Dhananjay talks about will be very intersting and useful, though he hasn’t decided yet. There will be lots of other interesting topics – but because of the nature of barcamp, we can’t really know what those topics are until the morning of barcamp.
So, what do you need to do, to attend barcamp, and how to prepare for it?
- Nothing! Barcamp is free. Anyone can attend. Just show up at the venue. If SCIT is too far for you, figure out how/where to catch the barcamp bus from SICSR, Model Colony.
- Bring a notepad and pen, to note down the email addresses of people you would like to get in touch with later, for projects|internships|guidance|generally.
- Don’t be shy. If you’re a good student, and willing to work sincerely, you are an extremely hot commodity, and everybody will be interested in you. You can approach anybody and tell them that you’re a student from X college, and you are interested in a project|internship|guidance. They’ll be happy to talk to you.
- If you have a great idea for a project and are looking for a someone who can guide you, prepare a short talk about your idea, and then speak at the barcamp. Anybody can speak. Your talk will help you find a guide.
That’s it. Send a “proxy laga dena yaar” sms to your friend and head off to Hinjewadi.
If you know a student or students who can benefit from attending barcamp, please forward this mail to them.