Nurturing the passion of our engineering students

This week on PuneTech, we are going to feature a bunch of initiatives started by people who are passionate about helping students in our engineering colleges (actually anybody interested in technology, student or not, engineering or not) to be more, achieve more, learn more, all with the help of mentors from industry who would like to see all these talented students reach their true potential. Watch this space over the next few days for more such initiatives or better yet, subscribe for updates via RSS, Email, or twitter. Today, we are featuring, (Update: the next post in this series is about KQInfoTech’s industry-supported “free” PG Diploma in Systems Programming.) is a group that aims to create special interest technology clubs of students, with each club mentored by one or more people from from industry who have experience in that area, and are willing to spend time with the students to guide them. The club will have loosely structured activites, projects to complete, possibly presentations and discussions, all planned and guided by the mentors.

The club was started by Freeman Murray and has since been joined by a number of mentors – but there is no such thing as too many mentors. So, you should seriously consider signing up. The only qualifications you need are that you should be passionate about this, and you should have a little industry experience.

Freeman explains thus:

The basic idea is to find people with practical industry experience willing to spend some time each month creating or identifying useful exercises people interested in their field could do to develop their skills and posting them on a blog or mailing list. Additionally they spend time each week facilitating a discussion of the participants on a mailing list.

The intention is not to compete with existing online resources for technical training and support, but to provide some more human support and mentorship for people on the path. Mentors can and should encourage participants to engage in the existing online communities surrounding their technologies. Their guidance as to what communities to engage, and how to engage could still be invaluable.

In this way, over time people can develop significant skills in fields where they don’t have formal training while they continue their studies or working full time.

We all crib about the quality of technical education, but with the Internet we have the opportunity to do something about it. We can help eager young and the motivated who want to get into high-tech but are over whelmed at the amount of information available on the internet, or get blocked because of elementary problems.

It shouldn’t take much time, for mentors just a couple hours a month to research the monthly activities and post links to learning resources participants should look into, and then a couple hours each week responding to questions and facilitating discussion on the mailing list. For participants, activities should take 5 – 10 hours of effort each month, plus some additional time sharing with the community thru the blog and the mailing lists.

If there’s a field you are passionate about and feel more people should get into, please think about setting up a small club for it on the techstart wiki. If you see a club where people are exploring a technology you’ve been curious, by all means join the community.

The initial clubs we have are in blogging, advanced java and open source technology. Amit is also mentoring a group to write some automatic deployment scripts in php.

Find out more on the wiki –

How to participte – Students

To participate in one of the techstart clubs simply visit the clubs website, or join the their mailing list. Make sure to introduce yourself to the community when you join, and read over any introductory material the mentor put up on the website or in the group.

How to participate – Mentors

Start your own club or make yourself available for mentoring people on a project – simply create a mailing list for it on Google Groups or any other public mailing list site, and add a description of it and yourself to this wiki. At least every month post exercises to the list which participants can do to strengthen their skills, and spend some time every week monitoring the list, encouraging discussion, and helping people with problems. That’s it !

Contact [mailto://|Freeman] to get the wiki key. If you’d like to join the discussion about how to make TechStart better please join the TechStart Google Group

Clubs already formed

Title: Bloggers Club

Mentors: Freeman Murray Tarun Chandel


This track is for people interested in writing on the internet. All participants will set up and customize their blog initially, and then every two weeks participants are encouraged to share their next post with the group. The group will give feedback on the writers style, grammer and ideas. Members are additionally encouraged to comment on eachother’s blogs and do cross linking. Occasionally exersizes relating to google analytics and SEO will be given to the club members. Twitter, Videoblogging , Google Analytics, SEO, RSS and feedreaders will also be discussed in time.

Mailing List:

Title: Java Insights 101

Mentor: Parag Shah


This learning track is for developers who have completed at least one course in Core Java (or are familiar with basic principles of Java, like syntax, compiling, and running Java programs) and would like to improve their understanding of the Java language and ecosystem.


Mailing List:

Title: Open Source Technology

Mentor: Tarun Dua


This is a track for technologists who want to build upon their understanding of the free and open ecosystem being provided by the Open Source and relatively open and portable datasets. Do you dig a well everytime you want to drink water, then why do you insist on hacking a new solution when another more efficient solution already exists as Open Source. Leverage what already exists in the ecosystem instead of re-inventing the wheel.



Title: Auomatic Deplyoment Script

Mentor: Amit Singh


Ami of this project is to automate the process of deploying websites written in PHP. A very basic script exists at my blog, we will be enhancing it by putting continuous integration, database migration etc.


Mailing List:

Mentors already signed up

Name Affiliation Skills & Interests
Freeman Murray upStart Software development training, startup culture, internet video, internet advocacy
Subhransu Behera EnTrip Ruby on Rails, Web Application Development, Linux System Programming, Fedora Packaging
Parag Shah Adaptive Software Solutions Software development, Software development training, New media technologies
Tarun Dua E2ENetworks Efficient technology operations is the key to effective delivery of technology where it matters most.
Amit Singh Pune It Labs Pvt. Ltd. Web Application Development
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