EMEA 2015 Android Camp: A reflection

In early August, 23 students from 20 universities had the opportunity to attend the fourth annual Google European Android Camp in London. Students who arrived from 14 different countries were invited to a jam-packed week of Android learning and development, career panels, tech talks, social activities as well as a 24-hour Hackathon. The goal of the event, held in the Google office, was to give students a chance to learn, practice and have fun while developing applications for the Android operating system with the support of Google engineers. The theme for the week was Create the Good in Your Community, with the winning team designing an app ‘Red Paw’ to help notify animal shelters about strays and ensure they are re-homed.

We asked the winning team to tell us about their experience at Android Camp - congratulations once again!
Left to right: Carolina Sartorius, Lund University, MSc in Computer Science and Engineering
Maria Priisalu/ Lund University, MSc in Computer Science
Damask Talary-Brown, University of Bath, BSc in Computer Science
Lavinia Mariana Damian, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, BSc in Computer Science
Marija Čivović, University of Belgrade, BSc in Computer hardware and Informatics.

What was the highlight of Android Camp for you?
Lavinia: For me, the highlight of Android camp was the Hackathon and especially our final presentation when every team got to showcase their app. It was inspiring to see the progress everyone made in 1 week and all of those ideas coming to life in just 24 hours of coding.
Marija: When you had such an amazing week, it's not fair to have to choose the best part of it. But let's say Scavenger Hunt - an amazing sightseeing adventure with the girls from my team that I met the night before.
Carolina: The highlight of the Camp was to meet the other campers. It was very inspiring to meet so many talented, enthusiastic and driven people.
Damask: For me, the last few hours of the hackathon were the highlight because they were the culmination of all the learning and designing we’d been doing throughout the week. There was definitely an overwhelming sense of pride and mutual respect (and exhaustion!) amongst us as the 24 hours drew to a close, and it was a fantastic feeling.

Do you think Android Camp helped you build or develop any skills?
Maria: Although I had some previous knowledge in Android programming, Camp taught me a lot of specific details about Android that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
Damask: I didn’t have any experience with the Android SDK before Camp, so it really was a crash course in that respect. The sheer amount of content we managed to fit in was crazy; from networking and database integration to interface design.
Carolina: Aside from developing my Android skills, I also developed skills such as pitching, gaining confidence and be able to collaborate with different people.
Lavinia: Of course!, I knew nothing about Android programming before attending this camp so I'm still amazed at how I managed together with my team to finish an app from scratch. I think the whole context of the camp helped me with the way I focus and organize my time. I improved both my attention span and my team working skills.

What was your favorite session?
Lavinia: I enjoyed the material design class the most and I found it to be really interesting. Of the other activities, the "Engineer Panel" was my favorite. I loved how the participants were so willing to share their experiences at Google with us and give us so much advice advice as our seniors in the industry. It was really inspiring!
Damask: I loved the UX session, because the use case and persona design we did helped us design meaningful interactions between our app and its typical users. The personas we created also ended up playing a starring role in our final presentation, which humanised the problem we were trying to solve and gave us the opportunity to have some fun with it.
Marija: My favorite session was the Firebase: Server Session. We had so much fun with trying to build  a chat app. I also got to learn a lot about data storage.
Carolina: My favorite session was the Google Card Game night ‘Launch and Iterate.’ It was a fun challenge to get four people with strong will to collaborate and try to win.

How do you think Android Camp will help you further your academic career?
Maria: It has given me more confidence in my technical problem solving skills and programming.
Damask: Android Camp has cemented my interest in UX and Interaction Design, which will almost certainly impact my dissertation and final year choices.
Marija: I hope I can take a Mobile programming class, specifically because the Camp gave me an excellent base of knowledge that will help me excel.
Carolina: Android Camp gave me a self-confidence boost. The ability to believe in yourself is a important factor in academic success.

What are your next steps?
Damask: I’m on a year in industry right now, so my plan is to hopefully secure an internship doing something cool for next summer before I head back to university to start my final year. In my free time, I definitely have a few app ideas I can start working on!
Marija: I'm introducing the app we made to people, So far,I’ve received good feedback :). Camp definitely gave me a new perspective.
Carolina: My next steps are to finish my degree and decide what I want to do for a living.
Lavinia:  For now, I have 1 year left of my Master studies and after that I'm planning to apply for a University Graduate position at Google. Also, I'm thinking of working more on our app from Android Camp. I would love to see the Red Paw app released one day and be used by millions of people.
Maria: I will finish my Master of Computer Science and Engineering at Lund.

Read more student testimonials in our ‘ Android Camp Diary’ G+ series. For more information on opportunities at Google, please visit Google Students. For more updates, please stay tuned on the Google Students Blog.