Tag Archives: gdg

Growing as a Technologist in Shanghai with Google Developer Groups

Posted by Brian Shen, Regional Lead for Mainland China Developer Communities

Banner image shows a photo of Ning Zhang, member of GDG Shanghai. There is also a photo of the GDG Shanghai banner. Text reads Growing as a Technologist in Shanghai with Google Developer Groups

Every developer’s path to pursuing a career in tech can be traced back to a single moment. Such is the case for Ning Zhang, a developer from China, who found his early interest in web development as a high schooler at the age of fifteen. Ning built his first website for his English class to help his classmates succeed with their studies. He didn’t realize it at the time, but he was only just getting started. Throughout high school, he played with Google Webmaster Tools (now Google Search Console) and Google Adsense to create and manage numerous other websites for fun. Like so many aspiring developers before him, Ning knew he’d found his passion, but the path ahead remained unclear.

Enter Google Developer Groups

To grow his skills further and turn his hobby into a viable career path, Ning majored in data science at university in Qingdao. Here, he participated in data-modeling competitions like Kaggle Days, and other events that gave him more exposure to the tech community and allowed him to learn from his peers. It’s also where he first heard about Google Developer Groups (GDGs) and their many opportunities for learning, networking and collaboration.

It was perfect timing too. After graduation Ning got a job with a financial services firm in Shanghai, home to a very active GDG. He jumped at the chance to engage in activities and workshops to further his abilities and knowledge, especially in data science, which constitutes a significant part of his work responsibilities.

Image of Ning Zhang, member of GDG Shanghai. He is standing in a crowd with a microphone, asking a question

While Ning enjoys the formal learning opportunities the GDG offers, he finds the sense of community and support—the opportunity to learn from others and share his expertise as well – even more valuable.

“This kind of atmosphere is actually more inspiring than learning a new technology, new programming ideas, and new algorithms.”

“Everyone has different hands-on experience and expertise in different companies,” Ning explains. “GDG provides an environment where people can share their experience and listen to each other.”

The combination of community, developer success, and social impact has made a huge impression on him both personally and professionally. The international nature of GDGs also provides an expanded perspective and different ways of thinking about problems and solutions. “GDG really gave me a lot of new and fresh information and opened our eyes to more global approaches,” says Ning.

Statistics illustrating the low number of women in computing occupations

Group photo of GDG Shanghai Activity Center

Tapping into a global community

As the importance of technology continues to grow, the GDG community can play an even greater role by helping people learn valuable tech skills, supporting the dissemination of knowledge, and spurring innovation. Offerings that focus on sharing knowledge and other events can assist members in achieving their career goals as they have done for Ning. “I hope every member of GDG will experience the good atmosphere of the group in the future so that their value can be magnified,” says Zhang.

Join the community: Learn how you can find a GDG chapter near you.

AI Fest in Spain: Exploring the Potential of Artificial Intelligence in Careers, Communities, and Commerce

Posted by Alessandro Palmieri, Regional Lead for Spain Developer Communities

Google Developer Groups (GDGs) around the world are in a unique position to organize events on technology topics that community members are passionate about. That’s what happened in Spain in July 2021, where two GDG chapters decided to put on an event called AI Fest after noticing a lack of conferences dedicated exclusively to artificial intelligence. “Artificial intelligence is everywhere, although many people do not know it,” says Irene Ruiz Pozo, the organizer of GDG Murcia and GDG Cartagena. While AI has the potential to transform industries from retail to real estate with products like Dialogflow and Lending DocAI, “there are still companies falling behind,” she notes.

Image of Irene standing on stage at AI Fest Spain

Irene and her GDG team members recognized that creating a space for a diverse mix of people—students, academics, professional developers, and more—would not only enable them to share valuable knowledge about AI and its applications across sectors and industries, but it could also serve as a potential path for skill development and post-pandemic economic recovery in Spain. In addition, AI Fest would showcase GDGs in Spain as communities offering developer expertise, education, networking, and support.

Using the GDG network to find sponsors, partners, and speakers

The GDGs immediately got to work calling friends and contacts with experience in AI. “We started calling friends who were great developers and worked at various companies, we told them who we are, what we wanted to do, and what we wanted to achieve,” Irene says.

The GDG team found plenty of organizations eager to help: universities, nonprofit organizations, government entities, and private companies. The final roster included the Instituto de Fomento, the economic development agency of Spain’s Murcia region; the city council of Cartagena; Biyectiva Technology, which develops AI tools used in medicine, retail, and interactive marketing; and the Polytechnic University of Cartagena, where Irene founded and led the Google Developer Student Club in 2019 and 2020. Some partners also helped with swag and merchandising and even provided speakers. “The CEOs and different executives and developers of the companies who were speakers trusted this event from the beginning,” Irene says.

A celebration of AI and its potential

The event organizers lined up a total of 55 local and international speakers over the two-day event. Due to the ongoing COVID-10 pandemic, in-person attendance was limited to 50 people in a room at El Batel Auditorium and Conference Center in Cartagena, but sessions—speakers, roundtables, and workshops—were also live-streamed on YouTube on three channels to a thousand viewers.

Some of the most popular sessions included economics professor and technology lab co-founder Andrés Pedreño on "Competing in the era of Artificial Intelligence," a roundtable on women in technology; Intelequa software developer Elena Salcedo on "Happy plants with IoT''; and Google Developer Expert and technology firm CEO Juantomás García on "Vertex AI and AutoML: Democratizing access to AI." The sessions were also recorded for later viewing, and in less than a week after the event, there were more than 1500 views in room A, over 1100 in room B and nearly 350 views in the Workshops room.

The event made a huge impact on the developer community in Spain, setting an example of what tech-focused gatherings can look like in the COVID-19 era and how they can support more education, collaboration, and innovation across a wide range of organizations, ultimately accelerating the adoption of AI. Irene also notes that it has helped generate more interest in GDGs and GDSCs in Spain and their value as a place to learn, teach, and grow. “We’re really happy that new developers have joined the communities and entrepreneurs have decided to learn how to use Google technologies,” she says.

The effect on the GDG team was profound as well. “I have remembered why I started creating events--for people: to discover the magic of technology,” Irene says.

Taking AI Fest into the future—and more

Irene and her fellow GDG members are already planning for a second installment of AI Fest in early 2022, where they hope to be able to expect more in-person attendance. The team would also like to organize events focused on topics such as Android, Cloud, AR /VR, startups, the needs of local communities, and inclusion. Irene, who serves as a Women Techmakers Ambassador, is particularly interested in using her newly expanded network to host events that encourage women to choose technology and other STEM areas as a career.

Finally, Irene hopes that AI Fest will become an inspiration for GDGs around the world to showcase the potential of AI and other technologies. It’s a lot of work, she admits, but the result is well worth it. “My advice is to choose the area of technology that interests you the most, get organized, relax, and have a good team,” she advises.

Machine Learning Communities: Q3 ‘21 highlights and achievements

Posted by HyeJung Lee, DevRel Community Manager and Soonson Kwon, DevRel Program Manager

Let’s explore highlights and achievements of vast Google Machine Learning communities by region for the last quarter. Activities of experts (GDE, professional individuals), communities (TFUG, TensorFlow user groups), students (GDSC, student clubs), and developers groups (GDG) are presented here.

Key highlights

Image shows a banner for 30 days of ML with Kaggle

30 days of ML with Kaggle is designed to help beginners study ML using Kaggle Learn courses as well as a competition specifically for the participants of this program. Collaborated with the Kaggle team so that +30 the ML GDEs and TFUG organizers participated as volunteers as online mentors as well as speakers for this initiative.

Total 16 of the GDE/GDSC/TFUGs run community organized programs by referring to the shared community organize guide. Houston TensorFlow & Applied AI/ML placed 6th out of 7573 teams — the only Americans in the Top 10 in the competition. And TFUG Santiago (Chile) organizers participated as well and they are number 17 on the public leaderboard.

Asia Pacific

Image shows Google Cloud and Coca-Cola logos

GDE Minori MATSUDA (Japan)’s project on Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan was published on Google Cloud Japan Blog covering creating an ML pipeline to deploy into real business within 2 months by using Vertex AI. This is also published on GCP blog in English.

GDE Chansung Park (Korea) and Sayak Paul (India) published many articles on GCP Blog. First, “Image search with natural language queries” explained how to build a simple image parser from natural language inputs using OpenAI's CLIP model. From this second “Model training as a CI/CD system: (Part I, Part II)” post, you can learn more about why having a resilient CI/CD system for your ML application is crucial for success. Last, “Dual deployments on Vertex AI” talks about end-to-end workflow using Vertex AI, TFX and Kubeflow.

In China, GDE Junpeng Ye used TensorFlow 2.x to significantly reduce the codebase (15k → 2k) on WeChat Finder which is a TikTok alternative in WeChat. GDE Dan lee wrote an article on Understanding TensorFlow Series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3-1, Part 3-2, Part 4

GDE Ngoc Ba from Vietnam has contributed AI Papers Reading and Coding series implementing ML/DL papers in TensorFlow and creates slides/videos every two weeks. (videos: Vit Transformer, MLP-Mixer and Transformer)

A beginner friendly codelabs (Get started with audio classification ,Go further with audio classification) by GDSC Sookmyung (Korea) learning to customize pre-trained audio classification models to your needs and deploy them to your apps, using TFlite Model Maker.

Cover image for Mat Kelcey's talk on JAX at the PyConAU event

GDE Matthew Kelcey from Australia gave a talk on JAX at PyConAU event. Mat gave an overview to fundamentals of JAX and an intro to some of the libraries being developed on top.

Image shows overview for the released PerceiverIO code

In Singapore, TFUG Singapore dived back into some of the latest papers, techniques, and fields of research that are delivering state-of-the-art results in a number of fields. GDE Martin Andrews included a brief code walkthrough for the released PerceiverIO code at perceiver- highlighting what JAX looks like, how Haiku relates to Sonnet, but also the data loading stuff which is done via tf.data.

Machine Learning Experimentation with TensorBoard book cover

GDE Imran us Salam Mian from Pakistan published a book "Machine Learning Experimentation with TensorBoard".

India

GDE Aakash Nain has published the TF-JAX tutorial series from Part 4 to Part 8. Part 4 gives a brief introduction about JAX (What/Why), and DeviceArray. Part 5 covers why pure functions are good and why JAX prefers them. Part 6 focuses on Pseudo Random Number Generation (PRNG) in Numpy and JAX. Part 7 focuses on Just In Time Compilation (JIT) in JAX. And Part 8 covers vmap and pmap.

Image of Bhavesh's Google Cloud certificate

GDE Bhavesh Bhatt published a video about his experience on the Google Cloud Professional Data Engineer certification exam.

Image shows phase 1 and 2 of the Climate Change project using Vertex AI

Climate Change project using Vertex AI by ML GDE Sayak Paul and Siddha Ganju (NVIDIA). They published a paper (Flood Segmentation on Sentinel-1 SAR Imagery with Semi-Supervised Learning) and open-sourced the project with regard to NASA Impact's ETCI competition. This project made four NeurIPS workshops AI for Science: Mind the Gaps, Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning, Women in ML, and Machine Learning and the Physical Sciences. And they finished as the first runners-up (see Test Phase 2).

Image shows example of handwriting recognition tutorial

Tutorial on handwriting recognition was contributed to Keras example by GDE Sayak Paul and Aakash Kumar Nain.

Graph regularization for image classification using synthesized graphs by GDE Sayak Pau was added to the official examples in the Neural Structured Learning in TensorFlow.

GDE Sayak Paul and Soumik Rakshit shared a new NLP dataset for multi-label text classification. The dataset consists of paper titles, abstracts, and term categories scraped from arXiv.

North America

Banner image shows students participating in Google Summer of Code

During the GSoC (Google Summer of Code), some GDEs mentored or co-mentored students. GDE Margaret Maynard-Reid (USA) mentored TF-GAN, Model Garden, TF Hub and TFLite products. You can get some of her experience and tips from the GDE Blog. And you can find GDE Sayak Paul (India) and Googler Morgan Roff’s GSoC experience in (co-)mentoring TensorFlow and TF Hub as well.

A beginner friendly workshop on TensorFlow with ML GDE Henry Ruiz (USA) was hosted by GDSC Texas A&M University (USA) for the students.

Screenshot from Youtube video on how transformers work

Youtube video Self-Attention Explained: How do Transformers work? by GDE Tanmay Bakshi from Canada explained how you can build a Transformer encoder-based neural network to classify code into 8 different programming languages using TPU, Colab with Keras.

Europe

GDG / GDSC Turkey hosted AI Summer Camp in cooperation with Global AI Hub. 7100 participants learned about ML, TensorFlow, CV and NLP.

Screenshot from slide presentation titled Why Jax?

TechTalk Speech Processing with Deep Learning and JAX/Trax by GDE Sergii Khomenko (Germany) and M. Yusuf Sarıgöz (Turkey). They reviewed technologies such as Jax, TensorFlow, Trax, and others that can help boost our research in speech processing.

South/Central America

Image shows Custom object detection in the browser using TensorFlow.js

On the other side of the world, in Brazil, GDE Hugo Zanini Gomes wrote an article about “Custom object detection in the browser using TensorFlow.js” using the TensorFlow 2 Object Detection API and Colab was posted on the TensorFlow blog.

Screenshot from a talk about Real-time semantic segmentation in the browser - Made with TensorFlow.js

And Hugo gave a talk about Real-time semantic segmentation in the browser - Made with TensorFlow.js covered using SavedModels in an efficient way in JavaScript directly enabling you to get the reach and scale of the web for your new research.

Data Pipelines for ML was talked about by GDE Nathaly Alarcon Torrico from Bolivia explained all the phases involved in the creation of ML and Data Science products, starting with the data collection, transformation, storage and Product creation of ML models.

Screensho from TechTalk “Machine Learning Competitivo: Top 1% en Kaggle (Video)

TechTalk “Machine Learning Competitivo: Top 1% en Kaggle (Video)“ was hosted by TFUG Santiago (Chile). In this talk the speaker gave a tour of the steps to follow to generate a model capable of being in the top 1% of the Kaggle Leaderboard. The focus was on showing the libraries and“ tricks ”that are used to be able to test many ideas quickly both in implementation and in execution and how to use them in productive environments.

MENA

Screenshot from workshop about Recurrent Neural Networks

GDE Ruqiya Bin Safi (Saudi Arabia) had a workshop about Recurrent Neural Networks : part 1 (Github / Slide) at the GDG Mena. And Ruqiya gave a talk about Recurrent Neural Networks: part 2 at the GDG Cloud Saudi (Saudi Arabia).

AI Training with Kaggle by GDSC Islamic University of Gaza from Palestine. It is a two month training covering Data Processing, Image Processing and NLP with Kaggle.

Sub-Saharan Africa

TFUG Ibadan had two TensorFlow events : Basic Sentiment analysis with Tensorflow and Introduction to Recommenders Systems with TensorFlow”.

Image of Yannick Serge Obam Akou's TensorFlow Certificate

Article covered some tips to study, prepare and pass the TensorFlow developer exam in French by ML GDE Yannick Serge Obam Akou (Cameroon).

Announcing DevFest 2021

Posted by Erica Hanson, Global Program Manager for Google Developer Communities

GIF with blue background and text that reads DevFest 2021, Google Developer Groups

DevFest season has officially started! From now through the end of the year, developers from all around the world are coming together for DevFest 2021, the biggest global event for developers, focusing on community-led learning on Google technologies. Hosted by Google Developer Groups (GDG) all across the globe, DevFest events are uniquely curated by their local GDG organizers to fit the needs and interests of the local community.

The mission

This year, DevFest 2021 inspires local developers to learn and connect as a community by exploring how to use Google technology to accelerate economic impact. In light of COVID-19, the global economy has shrunk and millions of jobs have been lost. Developers are the backbone of technology, and they play a pivotal role in the recovery of the global economy. In fact, expanding the impact of developers has never been more important!

Luckily, DevFest is the perfect opportunity for Google Developer Groups to show up for developers and their communities during such a challenging time. At DevFest 2021, GDGs and attendees will have the opportunity to explore how to use technology for good where it’s needed most.

Accelerating local economic recovery looks different across the globe, and GDGs hosting DevFest events are encouraged to consider the challenges their specific regions may be facing. For example, GDGs may choose to focus their DevFest events on building solutions that help local businesses grow, or they may prioritize upskilling their community by sharing technical content to help developers become industry ready. Whether it be through technical talks delivered in local languages or by simply meeting fellow local developers, DevFest 2021 will leave attendees feeling empowered to drive positive change in their communities.

What to expect

One of DevFest’s greatest strengths remains the passionate speakers who participate in DevFest events all across the globe. These speakers, often developers themselves, come from various backgrounds, perspectives, and skill levels to create a rich and rewarding experience for attendees. DevFest sessions are hosted in local languages in many different parts of the world.

This DevFest season, attendees will receive career support and mentorship opportunities from senior developers, including speakers from Google, Google Developer Group leaders, Google Developer Experts, and Women Techmakers.

Hands-on demos, workshops, and codelabs will cover a wide variety of technologies, including Android, Google Cloud Platform, Machine Learning with TensorFlow, Web.dev, Firebase, Google Assistant, and Flutter. Through these events, developers will learn how Google technologies help them build solutions that make a difference.

Google Developers is proud to support the community-led efforts of Google Developer Groups during this flagship annual event. DevFest is powered by a global network of passionate GDG community organizers who volunteer their time and efforts to help developers grow together, and this event wouldn’t be possible without them.

GIF with red background and text that reads hashtag DevFest, Register Now, and Google Developer Groups

Coming together

During DevFest 2020, 125,000+ developers participated across 700+ DevFests in 100+ countries. DevFest 2021 is already in full swing, with thousands of attendees across the globe collaborating with like-minded developers, learning new technologies, and building solutions to uplift their communities. Whether you’re looking to explore the latest Google technologies, level up your career, or innovate for impact, there is a DevFest event for you.

Find a DevFest near you here, and use #DevFest to join the conversation on social media.

GDG NYC members apply their skills to help a local nonprofit reach higher

Posted by Kübra Zengin, Program Manager, Developer Relations

Image of Anna Nerezova and GDG NYC meetup on blog header image that reads GDG NYC members apply their skills to help a local nonprofit reach higher

Google Developer Group (GDG) chapters are in a unique position to help make an impact during a time where many companies and businesses are trying to shift to a digital first world. Perhaps no one knows this better than GDG NYC Lead, Anna Nerezova. Over the past year, she’s seen firsthand just how powerful the GDG NYC community can be when the right opportunity presents itself.

GDG NYC levels up their Google Cloud skills

In the past few years, Anna and other GDG NYC organizers have hosted a number of events focused on learning and sharing Cloud technologies with community members, including Cloud Study Jams and in-person workshops on Machine Learning Cloud-Speech-to-Text, Natural Language Processing, and more. Last year, GDG NYC took Google Cloud learning to the next level with a series of virtual Google Cloud tech talks on understanding BigQuery, Serverless best practices, and Anthos, with speakers from the Google Cloud team.

Image of GDG NYC members watching a speaker give a talk

A GDG NYC speaker session

Thanks to these hands-on workshops, speaker sessions, and technical resources provided by Google, GDG NYC community members are able to upskill in a wide variety of technologies at an accelerated pace, all the while gaining the confidence to put those skills into practice. Beyond gaining new skills, Google Developer Group members are often able to unlock opportunities to make positive impacts in ways they never thought possible. As a GDG Lead, Anna is always on the lookout for opportunities that give community members the chance to apply their skills for a higher purpose.

Building a Positive Planet

Anna identified one such opportunity for her community via Positive Planet US, a local nonprofit dedicated to alleviating global and local poverty through positive entrepreneurship. Positive Planet International, originally formed in France, has helped 11 million people escape poverty across 42 countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa since its inception in 1998. Just last year, Positive Planet US was launched in New York City, with a mission to create local and global economic growth in underprivileged communities in the wake of the pandemic.

Anna recognized how the past few years' emphasis on learning and leveraging Google Cloud technology in her GDG chapter could help make a transformative impact on the nonprofit. A partnership wouldn’t just benefit Positive Planet US, it would give community members a chance to apply what they’ve learned, build experience, and give back. Anna and fellow GDG NYC Lead, Ralph Yozzo, worked with Positive Planet US to identify areas of opportunity where GDG NYC members could best apply their skills. With Positive Planet US still needing to build the infrastructure necessary to get up and running, it seemed that there were limitless opportunities for GDG NYC community members to step in and help out.

Volunteers from GDG NYC quickly got to work, building Positive Planet US’ website from the ground up. Google Cloud Platform was used to build out the site’s infrastructure, set up secure payments for donations, launch email campaigns, and more. Applying learnings from a series of AMP Study Jams held by GDG NYC, volunteers implemented the AMP plugin for WordPress to improve user experience and keep the website optimized, all according to Google’s Core Web Vitals and page experience guidelines. Volunteers from GDG NYC have also helped with program management, video creation, social media, and more. No matter the job, the work that volunteers put in makes a real impact and helps drive Positive Planet US’ efforts to make a difference in marginalized communities.

Positive Planet drives community impact

Positive Planet US volunteers are currently working hard to support the nonprofit’s flagship project, the Accelerator Hub for Minority Women Entrepreneurs, launched last year. As part of the program, participants receive personalized coaching from senior executives at Genpact and Capgemini, helping them turn their amazing ideas into thriving businesses. From learning how to grow a business to applying for a business loan, participating women from disadvantaged communities get the tools they need to flourish as entrepreneurs. The 10-week program is running its second cohort now, and aims to support 1,000 women by next year.

Screenshot of participants of Positive Planet US’ second Accelerator Hub Program in a virtual meeting

Some participants of Positive Planet US’ second Accelerator Hub Program

With Positive Planet US’ next cohort for 50 women entrepreneurs starting soon, Anna is working to find coaches of all different skill levels directly from the GDG community. If you’re interested in volunteering with Positive Planet US, click here.

Anna is excited about the ongoing collaboration between Positive Planet US and GDG NYC, and is continuing to identify opportunities for GDG members to give back. And with a new series of Android and Cloud Study Jams on the horizon and DevFest 2021 right around the corner, GDG NYC organizers hope to welcome even more developers into the Google Developer Group community. For more info about GDG NYC’s upcoming events, click here.

Join a Google Developer Group chapter near you here.

Google Developer Group Spotlight: A conversation with GDG Juba Lead, Kose

Posted by Aniedi Udo-Obong, Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Lead, Google Developer Groups

Header image featuring Kose with text that says meet Kose

The Google Developer Groups Spotlight series interviews inspiring leaders of community meetup groups around the world. Our goal is to learn more about what developers are working on, how they’ve grown their skills with the Google Developer Group community, and what tips they might have for us all.

We recently spoke with Kose, community lead for Google Developer Groups Juba in South Sudan. Check out our conversation with Kose about building a GDG chapter, the future of GDG Juba, and the importance of growing the tech community in South Sudan.

Tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a village-grown software developer and community lead of GDG Juba. I work with JavaScript stack with a focus on the backend. Learning through the community has always been part of me before joining GDG Juba. I love tech volunteerism and building a community around me and beyond. I attended many local developer meetups and learned a lot that led to my involvement with GDG Juba.

I am currently helping grow the GDG Juba community in South Sudan, and previously volunteered as a mentor in the Google Africa Developer Scholarship 2020.

Why did you want to get involved in tech?

I hail from a remote South Sudan's village with little to zero access to technology. My interest in tech has largely been driven due to an enthusiasm to build things and solve farming, agricultural economics, and social issues using technology.

I am currently researching and working on a farmers connection network to help transform our agricultural economics.

What is unique about pursuing a career as a developer in South Sudan?

When you talk about technology in South Sudan, we are relatively behind compared to our neighbors and beyond. Some challenges include the lack of support, resources, and mentorship among the few technology aspirants. The electricity and internet bills are so costly that an undetermined hustler won't sacrifice their days' hustle for exploring and learning the tech spectrum.

At the same time, there are a lot of areas technology developers can dive into. Finance, hospitality, agriculture, transportation, and content creation are all viable fields. As a determined techie, I tasked myself with allocating 10% of everything I do and earn to learning and exploring technology. This helped me to have some time, money, and resources for my tech journey. As for mentorship, I’m building a global network of resourceful folks to help me venture into new areas of the tech sector.

How did you become a GDG lead?

I’ve always been that person who joined tech events as often as I could find registration links. In my college days, I would skip classes to attend events located hours away. I would hardly miss Python Hyderabad, pycons, and many other Android meetups. It was during the International Women's Day (IWD) 2018 event organized by WTM Hyderabad and GDG Hyderabad that I was lucky enough to give a short challenge pitch talk. I saw how the conference folks were excited and amazed given the fact that I was the only African in the huge Tech Mahindra conference hall. I met a lot of people, organizers, business personalities and students.

Kose shakes hand with woman at stage

Kose takes the stage for International Women's Day (IWD) 2018

At the end of the conference and subsequent events, I convinced myself to start a similar community. Since starting out with a WhatsApp group chat, we’ve grown to about 200 members on our GDG event platform, and have event partners like Koneta Hub and others. Since then, GDG Juba is helping grow the tech community around Juba, South Sudan.

How has the GDG community helped you grow in the tech industry?

From design thinking to public speaking and structuring technical meetups, the GDG community has become a resourceful part of organizing GDG Juba meetups and enhancing my organizational skills.

As a community lead, I continuously plan the organization of more impactful events and conferences, and network with potential event partners, speakers, mentors, and organizers. Being part of the GDG community has helped me get opportunities to share knowledge with others. In one instance, I became a mobile web mentor and judge for the Google Africa Developer Scholarship 2020 program.

What has been the most inspiring part of being a part of your local Google Developer Group?

As a tech aspirant, I had always wanted to be part of a tech community to learn, network, and grow in the community. Unfortunately, back then there wasn't a single tech user group in my locality. The most inspiring thing about being part of this chapter is the network buildup and learning from the community. I notably network with people I could have never networked with on a typical day.

Kose standing with 10 members at GDG Juba meetup

Kose at a GDG Juba meetup

A lot of our meetup attendees now share their knowledge and experiences with others to inspire many. We are seeing a community getting more engagement in technology. Students tell us they are learning things they hardly get in their college curriculum.

As a learner myself, I am very excited to see folks learn new tech skills and am also happy to see women participating in the tech events. I’m especially proud of the fact that we organized International Women's Day (IWD) 2021, making it possible for us to be featured in a famous local newspaper outlet.

What are some technical resources you have found the most helpful for your professional development?

The official documentation from Google Developers for Android, Firebase, and others have been and are still helpful for my understanding and diving into details of the new things I learn.

In addition to the cool resources from the awesome tech bloggers on the internet, these links are helping me a lot in my adventure:

  1. Google Developers Medium articles
  2. Android Developers Training courses
  3. Udacity Android/ Firebase courses
  4. GitHub code review
  5. Google Developers India YouTube channel

What is coming up for GDG Juba that you are most excited about?

As part of our Android Study Jam conducted earlier this year, we are planning to host a mentorship program for Android application development. The program will run from scratch to building a fully-fledged, deployable Android app that the community can use for daily activities. I am particularly excited about the fact that we will be having a mentor who has been in the industry for quite a long time. I hope to see people who read this article participating in the mentorship program, too!

What would be one piece of advice you have for someone looking to learn more about a specific technology?

Be a learner. Join groups that can mentor your learning journey.

Ready to learn new skills with developers like Kose? Find a Google Developer Group near you, here.

Meet the students coding their way to a better world

Posted by Erica Hanson, Global Program Manager, Google Developer Student Clubs

Student headshots from the top 10 finalist teams of the Google Developer Student Clubs Solution Challenge

What have we learned from the challenges that we’ve faced over the past year and continue to face today? How absolutely vital it is to protect our planet and the people living on it.

Enter the Solution Challenge, our annual contest inviting the global Google Developer Student Clubs (GDSC) community to develop solutions to real world problems utilizing Google technologies. This year’s Solution Challenge asks participants to solve for one or more of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, intended to promote employment for all, economic growth, and climate action.

The top 50 semi-finalists and the top 10 finalists were announced earlier this year. It all comes down to Demo Day on August 26th, where the finalists will present their solutions to Google and developers all around the world, live on YouTube. Here, judges will review their projects, ask questions, and choose the top 3 grand prize winners!

You can RSVP here to be a part of Demo Day, vote for the People’s Choice Award, and watch all the action as it unfolds live. Ahead of the event, get to know the top 10 finalists and their incredible solutions below.

Cameroon - Flow, University of Bamenda

UN Sustainable Goal Addressed: Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

Flow is a mobile app that helps users easily find clean water sources nearby using Google Maps. Selecting a water source location on the map will tell users the name of the location, the status of the water source, and the approximate distance to the water source from the user’s current location. Flow was built with Firebase, Flutter, Google Cloud Platform, and Google Maps Platform. The app was developed by Alouzeh Brandone Mahbuh, Chi Karl Junior, Meh Mbeh Ida Delphine, and Nuikweh Lewis.

“The lack of water and quest for clean water in my community inspired us to select this goal. Our solution is a mobile application which makes use of a ‘live location’ feature to help members in my community easily find clean water sources.”

Canada - Helppier, University of Toronto

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, Goal 11: Sustainable Cities

Helppier is an Android app that creates volunteering opportunities in local neighborhoods. With Helppier, you can volunteer to help out others, request a volunteer, and earn rewards. Unlike traditional volunteering positions with organizations, Helppier fosters a sense of community by allowing people to make a direct impact in their neighborhood. Helppier's ultimate goal is to make volunteering a regular part of peoples’ daily routines. The Android app was developed using Google Cloud Platform, Firebase, and Cloud Run by James Lee, Janice Cheung, Mohamed Amine Belabbes, and Oluwateleayo Oyekunle.

“With loneliness rates skyrocketing due to COVID, many people are feeling more isolated and in need of help, but may not have anyone in their neighborhood to turn to. Helppier facilitates the opportunity for people to connect with one another through acts of kindness, regardless of who they are or where they came from.”

Egypt - E-Owl, Future Academy

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing, Goal 4: Quality Education

E-Owl is a virtual education platform that helps professors create virtual meetings, exams, and posts. With E-Owl, students can also check their grades and assignments online. The web application features focus detection and monitors real-time emotion of students to help instructors improve their students’ learning experience. E-Owl was created using Firebase, Google Cloud Platform, and TensorFlow by Ahmed Mostafa Ibrahiem, Kerolos Kamal Botros, Khaled Abdel-Fattah Ahmed, and Mahmoud Said Ramadan Gad.

“Our main target is education and well-being. We are working on how to maintain learners' attention and motivation in the virtual classrooms and also effectively managing the progress of each student online.”

Germany - SimplAR, Technical University of Munich

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

SimplAR is an app that utilizes the power of Natural Language Processing to translate any text (newspapers, books, manuals, etc.) into simplified language just by taking a picture of it. The app is catered towards people with functional illiteracy who sometimes have difficulty comprehending text. SimplAR delivers text following plain language principles that is easy to understand, making reading experiences more accessible for everyone. Almo Sutedjo, Maria Pospelova, Sami Wirtensohn, and Viviana Sutedjo used Flutter and Firebase to develop their app.

“Around 1 in 7 people worldwide have difficulties understanding complicated texts due to functional illiteracy. We want to enable people with functional illiteracy to gain understanding about any text in any form, and therefore giving them the chance to lead a more independent life.”

India - Eye Of God, K. J. Somaiya College of Engineering

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, & Infrastructure, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, Goal 16: Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions

Eye of God is an app featuring an easy-to-use navigation system that helps people with visual impairment navigate to their destination by themselves without needing the assistance of others. The Eye of God navigation system uses voice feedback through the user’s smartphone which is mounted on a VR Headset, and vibrational feedback through a custom-made waist belt, to guide users in both indoor and outdoor settings. The app is built with Firebase, Flutter, Google Cloud Platform, TensorFlow, and more, by Anish Pawar, Gayatri Vijay Patil, Jatin Nainani, and Priyanka Hotchandani.

“Being blind or visually impaired doesn’t need to mean the loss of independence of getting to and from places. The advancement of technology can make it possible to help people move freely within their environments and get around safely regardless of their amount of vision.”

India - Swaasthy, Chitkara University

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing, Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth

Swaasthy is a medical app made to uplift user health and increase access to healthcare. It contains medicine reminder functionality and the ability to make an SOS call to nearby ambulances, get an appointment with a virtual doc, and more. The team behind the app believes that their all-in-one approach will go a long way towards bringing down the death rate faced by patients in India due to delays in health services. Additionally, Swaasthy promotes education and economic growth by providing first responders with valuable training opportunities when they sign up via the app. Bhavesh Goyal, Himanshu Sharma, Ishan Sharma, and Kushal Bhanot used Flutter and Firebase to bring their idea to life.

“When it comes to saving a life, every millisecond counts! One in 10 patients in India dies on the way to the hospital. And we're here to change that. We're Swaasthy! The only health app you'll ever need. Solving real-life problems isn’t easy, but at the same time, it's not impossible.”

Indonesia - Game Your Fit, Binus University International

UN Sustainable Goal Addressed: Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

Game Your Fit is an app that keeps track of your movements in real time using your smartphone's movement sensors. It promotes exercise and staying active by turning the experience into a game! The app features a variety of aerobic, anaerobic, and calisthenics exercises to target different areas of the user’s body. One of the app’s game modes, CardioCamera, uses Google’s MLKit AI library to detect movements that the user makes. The app is written in Kotlin and connected to a Firebase project, and was developed by Aric Hernando, Jason Christian Hailianto, Jason Jeremy Wijadi, and Monique Senjaya.

“We are interested in creating a solution for target 3.4, which is to reduce mortality from non-communicable diseases and promote mental health. We aim to improve the health of many, specifically teens and young adults, by designing a gamified exercising application experience.”

Philippines - i-RISE, University of the Philippines in the Visayas

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 11: Sustainable Cities, Goal 13: Climate Action

Project Island Response and Intervention for Systematic Evacuation, or i-RISE, is a disaster risk management system that aims to bridge the information gap between local government units, disaster risk management offices, and the island communities of Tubigon, Bohol. The app includes tidal and weather information, evacuation warnings, rescue request functionality, climate change education, and more. i-Rise consists of a web app and mobile app, built with Flutter, Cloud Functions, Cloud Firestore, and Firebase. The project was built by Jian Hurl A. Asiado, Joerian E. Gauten, Patricia Marie C. Garcia, and Rex Ronter G. Ruiz.

“The Philippines is one of the world's most affected countries by climate change as it experiences the most frequent and strongest typhoons and sea level rise. The vision of Project i-RISE is disaster resilience as a national imperative where all Filipinos anywhere in the archipelago are inclusive of growth and are able to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.”

Singapore - DementiCare, Nanyang Technological University

UN Sustainable Goal Addressed: Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

DementiCare is an app equipped with a wide range of features to compliment caregiving for people living with dementia. With the app, caregivers can send notices to patients, access discussion forums, create a patient dashboard, and more. A user with dementia can send an SOS, access memories, view family data, and read notes from caregivers. DementiCare includes a simple interface for users living with dementia, and a feature-rich dashboard to help caregivers carry out their responsibilities without relying on any additional software. Aishik Nagar and Ritik Bhatia used Flutter and Firebase to build their app.

“Having personal relations suffering from Dementia and having cared for them several times, we knew firsthand how tough it was for patients and their caregivers to cope with Dementia. Our solution is DementiCare, a mobile application made to reduce, digitize, and revolutionize the barrier to skills, knowledge, and experience required for providing care to patients suffering from Dementia.”

Turkey - QRegister, Middle East Technical University

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing, Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production, Goal 15: Life on Land

QRegister is an app that removes the need for physical paper receipts upon transactions and instead encourages the use of QR codes for users to virtually keep track of all their receipts. The app reduces waste generation by eliminating paper receipts that usually end up as litter. BPA, a chemical often used in thermal receipts, can be absorbed through the skin and has been linked to a number of health concerns. By digitizing receipts, QRegister reduces the chemicals that we’re exposed to daily. QRegister was created with Firebase and Flutter by Alkım Dömeke, Deniz Karakay, Humeyra Bodur, and Murat Kaş.

“QRegister wants to raise awareness regarding the wastefulness of paper receipt production. Our team developed an environmentally friendly smart register that eliminates paper receipts and effortlessly stores purchase data.”

________________________

Feeling inspired and ready to learn more about Google Developer Student Clubs? Find a club near you here, and be sure to RSVP here to watch our upcoming Solution Challenge Demo Day on August 26th.

Meet the students coding their way to a better world

Posted by Erica Hanson, Global Program Manager, Google Developer Student Clubs

Student headshots from the top 10 finalist teams of the Google Developer Student Clubs Solution Challenge

What have we learned from the challenges that we’ve faced over the past year and continue to face today? How absolutely vital it is to protect our planet and the people living on it.

Enter the Solution Challenge, our annual contest inviting the global Google Developer Student Clubs (GDSC) community to develop solutions to real world problems utilizing Google technologies. This year’s Solution Challenge asks participants to solve for one or more of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, intended to promote employment for all, economic growth, and climate action.

The top 50 semi-finalists and the top 10 finalists were announced earlier this year. It all comes down to Demo Day on August 26th, where the finalists will present their solutions to Google and developers all around the world, live on YouTube. Here, judges will review their projects, ask questions, and choose the top 3 grand prize winners!

You can RSVP here to be a part of Demo Day, vote for the People’s Choice Award, and watch all the action as it unfolds live. Ahead of the event, get to know the top 10 finalists and their incredible solutions below.

Cameroon - Flow, University of Bamenda

UN Sustainable Goal Addressed: Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

Flow is a mobile app that helps users easily find clean water sources nearby using Google Maps. Selecting a water source location on the map will tell users the name of the location, the status of the water source, and the approximate distance to the water source from the user’s current location. Flow was built with Firebase, Flutter, Google Cloud Platform, and Google Maps Platform. The app was developed by Alouzeh Brandone Mahbuh, Chi Karl Junior, Meh Mbeh Ida Delphine, and Nuikweh Lewis.

“The lack of water and quest for clean water in my community inspired us to select this goal. Our solution is a mobile application which makes use of a ‘live location’ feature to help members in my community easily find clean water sources.”

Canada - Helppier, University of Toronto

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, Goal 11: Sustainable Cities

Helppier is an Android app that creates volunteering opportunities in local neighborhoods. With Helppier, you can volunteer to help out others, request a volunteer, and earn rewards. Unlike traditional volunteering positions with organizations, Helppier fosters a sense of community by allowing people to make a direct impact in their neighborhood. Helppier's ultimate goal is to make volunteering a regular part of peoples’ daily routines. The Android app was developed using Google Cloud Platform, Firebase, and Cloud Run by James Lee, Janice Cheung, Mohamed Amine Belabbes, and Oluwateleayo Oyekunle.

“With loneliness rates skyrocketing due to COVID, many people are feeling more isolated and in need of help, but may not have anyone in their neighborhood to turn to. Helppier facilitates the opportunity for people to connect with one another through acts of kindness, regardless of who they are or where they came from.”

Egypt - E-Owl, Future Academy

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing, Goal 4: Quality Education

E-Owl is a virtual education platform that helps professors create virtual meetings, exams, and posts. With E-Owl, students can also check their grades and assignments online. The web application features focus detection and monitors real-time emotion of students to help instructors improve their students’ learning experience. E-Owl was created using Firebase, Google Cloud Platform, and TensorFlow by Ahmed Mostafa Ibrahiem, Kerolos Kamal Botros, Khaled Abdel-Fattah Ahmed, and Mahmoud Said Ramadan Gad.

“Our main target is education and well-being. We are working on how to maintain learners' attention and motivation in the virtual classrooms and also effectively managing the progress of each student online.”

Germany - SimplAR, Technical University of Munich

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

SimplAR is an app that utilizes the power of Natural Language Processing to translate any text (newspapers, books, manuals, etc.) into simplified language just by taking a picture of it. The app is catered towards people with functional illiteracy who sometimes have difficulty comprehending text. SimplAR delivers text following plain language principles that is easy to understand, making reading experiences more accessible for everyone. Almo Sutedjo, Maria Pospelova, Sami Wirtensohn, and Viviana Sutedjo used Flutter and Firebase to develop their app.

“Around 1 in 7 people worldwide have difficulties understanding complicated texts due to functional illiteracy. We want to enable people with functional illiteracy to gain understanding about any text in any form, and therefore giving them the chance to lead a more independent life.”

India - Eye Of God, K. J. Somaiya College of Engineering

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, & Infrastructure, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, Goal 16: Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions

Eye of God is an app featuring an easy-to-use navigation system that helps people with visual impairment navigate to their destination by themselves without needing the assistance of others. The Eye of God navigation system uses voice feedback through the user’s smartphone which is mounted on a VR Headset, and vibrational feedback through a custom-made waist belt, to guide users in both indoor and outdoor settings. The app is built with Firebase, Flutter, Google Cloud Platform, TensorFlow, and more, by Anish Pawar, Gayatri Vijay Patil, Jatin Nainani, and Priyanka Hotchandani.

“Being blind or visually impaired doesn’t need to mean the loss of independence of getting to and from places. The advancement of technology can make it possible to help people move freely within their environments and get around safely regardless of their amount of vision.”

India - Swaasthy, Chitkara University

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing, Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth

Swaasthy is a medical app made to uplift user health and increase access to healthcare. It contains medicine reminder functionality and the ability to make an SOS call to nearby ambulances, get an appointment with a virtual doc, and more. The team behind the app believes that their all-in-one approach will go a long way towards bringing down the death rate faced by patients in India due to delays in health services. Additionally, Swaasthy promotes education and economic growth by providing first responders with valuable training opportunities when they sign up via the app. Bhavesh Goyal, Himanshu Sharma, Ishan Sharma, and Kushal Bhanot used Flutter and Firebase to bring their idea to life.

“When it comes to saving a life, every millisecond counts! One in 10 patients in India dies on the way to the hospital. And we're here to change that. We're Swaasthy! The only health app you'll ever need. Solving real-life problems isn’t easy, but at the same time, it's not impossible.”

Indonesia - Game Your Fit, Binus University International

UN Sustainable Goal Addressed: Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

Game Your Fit is an app that keeps track of your movements in real time using your smartphone's movement sensors. It promotes exercise and staying active by turning the experience into a game! The app features a variety of aerobic, anaerobic, and calisthenics exercises to target different areas of the user’s body. One of the app’s game modes, CardioCamera, uses Google’s MLKit AI library to detect movements that the user makes. The app is written in Kotlin and connected to a Firebase project, and was developed by Aric Hernando, Jason Christian Hailianto, Jason Jeremy Wijadi, and Monique Senjaya.

“We are interested in creating a solution for target 3.4, which is to reduce mortality from non-communicable diseases and promote mental health. We aim to improve the health of many, specifically teens and young adults, by designing a gamified exercising application experience.”

Philippines - i-RISE, University of the Philippines in the Visayas

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 11: Sustainable Cities, Goal 13: Climate Action

Project Island Response and Intervention for Systematic Evacuation, or i-RISE, is a disaster risk management system that aims to bridge the information gap between local government units, disaster risk management offices, and the island communities of Tubigon, Bohol. The app includes tidal and weather information, evacuation warnings, rescue request functionality, climate change education, and more. i-Rise consists of a web app and mobile app, built with Flutter, Cloud Functions, Cloud Firestore, and Firebase. The project was built by Jian Hurl A. Asiado, Joerian E. Gauten, Patricia Marie C. Garcia, and Rex Ronter G. Ruiz.

“The Philippines is one of the world's most affected countries by climate change as it experiences the most frequent and strongest typhoons and sea level rise. The vision of Project i-RISE is disaster resilience as a national imperative where all Filipinos anywhere in the archipelago are inclusive of growth and are able to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.”

Singapore - DementiCare, Nanyang Technological University

UN Sustainable Goal Addressed: Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

DementiCare is an app equipped with a wide range of features to compliment caregiving for people living with dementia. With the app, caregivers can send notices to patients, access discussion forums, create a patient dashboard, and more. A user with dementia can send an SOS, access memories, view family data, and read notes from caregivers. DementiCare includes a simple interface for users living with dementia, and a feature-rich dashboard to help caregivers carry out their responsibilities without relying on any additional software. Aishik Nagar and Ritik Bhatia used Flutter and Firebase to build their app.

“Having personal relations suffering from Dementia and having cared for them several times, we knew firsthand how tough it was for patients and their caregivers to cope with Dementia. Our solution is DementiCare, a mobile application made to reduce, digitize, and revolutionize the barrier to skills, knowledge, and experience required for providing care to patients suffering from Dementia.”

Turkey - QRegister, Middle East Technical University

UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing, Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production, Goal 15: Life on Land

QRegister is an app that removes the need for physical paper receipts upon transactions and instead encourages the use of QR codes for users to virtually keep track of all their receipts. The app reduces waste generation by eliminating paper receipts that usually end up as litter. BPA, a chemical often used in thermal receipts, can be absorbed through the skin and has been linked to a number of health concerns. By digitizing receipts, QRegister reduces the chemicals that we’re exposed to daily. QRegister was created with Firebase and Flutter by Alkım Dömeke, Deniz Karakay, Humeyra Bodur, and Murat Kaş.

“QRegister wants to raise awareness regarding the wastefulness of paper receipt production. Our team developed an environmentally friendly smart register that eliminates paper receipts and effortlessly stores purchase data.”

________________________

Feeling inspired and ready to learn more about Google Developer Student Clubs? Find a club near you here, and be sure to RSVP here to watch our upcoming Solution Challenge Demo Day on August 26th.

Solution Challenge Winner Update: Samuel’s mission to get children vaccinated in Uganda

Posted by Aniedi Udo-Obong, Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Lead, Google Developer Communities

Samuel Mugisha has been very busy since we first shared his story in 2019. Back then, Samuel was a university student from Uganda who was inspired to create a mobile Immunization Calculator app to help keep track of children’s vaccinations after he saw his community using handwritten paper cards that were difficult to read and keep intact. Samuel kicked his idea into gear by forming a team with friends from GDSC Muni University, and they ended up winning the 2019 Google Developer Student Clubs Solution Challenge. The Solution Challenge is an annual event hosted by Google developers, inviting students from all over the world to develop solutions for local community problems using Google technology. Thanks to their win, Samuel and his team secured office space in Uganda and got up to speed with crucial tools like Android, Firebase, and Presto, with mentorship from some of Africa’s best at Google and other companies, as well as Google Developer Group community organizers.

Still, their project was in its earliest stages of development, and Samuel had a long way to go on the path to fixing a flawed healthcare system.

The immunization tracker’s progress

Fast forward to today, and Samuel and his team have made huge strides in building out the functionalities of their Immunization Calculator app. Lately, they’ve been working to increase the number of vaccinations the app can track and expanding to include other vaccines as well. These important updates will bring Samuel one step closer to his goal of increasing tracking and vaccinations of infants and children under a year old. Samuel and his team are also putting extra focus on improving functionality and user experience, making it easier than ever for parents to use the app to track their children’s vaccination status.

Vaccine tracking in-app

Thanks to the mentorship they received from Google Developer Experts as Solution Challenge winners, Samuel’s team was able to embed SMS messaging capabilities directly into the app. With this new functionality, the app now has the ability to remind parents to schedule their child’s next vaccine, and can provide accurate dosing information.

Vaccine reminder text alerts

In the app’s initial phase, the team relied on a simple user interface using NativeScript integrated to run on Gradle in Android Studio. Through mentorship, they found that implementing Kotlin instead was a more stable option that ran on most mobile devices. Since 2019, Felix Egaru, the core developer behind the project, has done a lot of work to add more features using Firebase. The app uses Firebase Authentication to authorize system users, Firebase Cloud Messaging to send push notifications, and Cloud Firestore to securely store user data. It also includes coverage and dropout rates, dosing instructions, and other important information thanks to Firebase. All of these new features let users access the data they need to make informed decisions about getting vaccinated. In a country with remote areas that have little to no internet access, Firebase’s offline capabilities have also proved vital for allowing healthcare workers to use the app in the field regardless of internet connectivity.

An app user joins the team

Despite all their progress, Samuel and his team still lacked the help they needed to get the app out into the world for real-time testing. Enter Kabagweri Fionah, a busy parent and small business owner who had started using Samuel’s app to keep track of her son’s vaccinations. She first discovered the Immunization Calculator app after seeing the Solution Challenge online and learning about the finalists.

Fionah immediately saw the app’s potential and knew that it could go a long way towards making a real difference in people’s lives, so she reached out to Samuel directly to see if she could join the team and help get the app out into the world. Not long after, Fionah was hired as a public relations officer, tasked with handling marketing, advocacy, and communications efforts to grow the app even further.

Kabagweri Fionah and Samuel Mugisha

Fionah joined the team at just the right time. Through her outreach efforts, Samuel and his team gained access to a local hospital in Kampala where they could actually put the Immunization Calculator to the test. Beyond just spreading the word, testing at the hospital helped them identify and fix bugs in the system and prepare their app for future, larger-scale testing. Recently, Samuel and his team reached an even bigger milestone. Thanks to Fionah’s persistence, the team was given an opportunity to deploy their project at the biggest health center in Kyegegwa District. Samuel and his team are currently working to raise funds so that they can complete a full year of system testing at the center.

Samuel at the health center in Kyegegwa District

As Samuel explains, Google Developer Student Clubs has helped his team get their foot in the door all along the way:

“Mentioning that the project was globally awarded by the GDSC program prompts someone's attention to listen to the innovation, and this has helped us during the pitching.”




Setting himself up for success

Samuel credits the Solution Challenge and Google Developer Student Clubs for helping him transform his brilliant idea into a life-changing application. He puts it best when explaining why winning the Solution Challenge was such a huge motivation for him and his team.

“It gave us a tremendous understanding of what we had on our laptops and how much it can save children's lives out there.”

Thanks to Google Developer Student Clubs, Samuel found a team of bold thinkers with the same passion to help others, and the drive to turn an idea into reality. Google Developer Experts were crucial in helping them bring the app’s functionalities to the next level. Samuel and his peers were given access to the tools they needed to grow: Coursera, Qwiklabs, Pluralsight, and Google Cloud credits to polish their development skills.

This year’s Solution Challenge Demo Day is right around the corner on August 26th, where the top 10 finalists will showcase their projects to Google and developers around the world live on YouTube for a chance to be named one of the final 3 winning teams. Samuel knows what the pressure feels like, and he’s got some great advice for the current finalists:

“Be the mastermind of your project and dwell most on the change or impact it can bring to the world. Not how big it is, or how expensive it is, or how technical it is. Success is not final and failure is not fatal. Identify what went wrong, correct and implement it, then prepare for another shot.”

Thanks to Samuel’s focus on the goal and drive to make a difference, he and his team are well on their way to making healthcare more accessible for Ugandans in his community and beyond. Google Developer Student Clubs are perfect for building solutions to help your community with other students who share your passion. Equip yourself with the knowledge you need to bring your best idea to life. Click here to find a Google Developer Community Student Club community near you.

#IamaGDE: Homing Tam

#IamaGDE series presents: Google Maps

Welcome to #IamaGDE - a series of spotlights presenting Google Developer Experts (GDEs) from across the globe. Discover their stories, passions, and highlights of their community work.

image of GDE, Homing Tam

Homing Tam is a product manager at Lalamove, an on-demand logistics company. He started at the company as a product manager focusing on location-based systems, talking with developers and business users to enhance the company’s mapping solutions, before moving into product management. Now, Homing handles corporate solutions; takes care of people who want to integrate with his company’s systems; handles the API side of things to help make integration easier; and provides recommendations for developers and other technical teammates.

Becoming a Maps developer

Homing studied geomatics and computing at university, and his 2009 thesis was based on Google’s API backend. His dissertation focused on using the Google Maps API to perform mapping and overlay. His first full-time job was as a GIS analyst at Esri, the largest private software company in the world. A year and a half later, he became a solutions consultant for a different company, helping customers interested in integrating Google Maps with their software.

image of developer community meetup

Getting involved in the developer community

After Homing got involved in the Google Technology User Group (now known as Google Developer Groups), his boss at the time told him about the Google Developer Experts program. For his interview, Homing presented a product using the Google Maps APIs. When he became a GDE, he gave presentations and talks in the greater China region as a surrogate for the Google Maps Platform team. Homing is currently one of the organizers for GDG Hong Kong, organizing and giving community talks.

Favorite Maps features and current projects

Homing says the Maps Styling Wizard, the precursor to the newer Cloud-based Maps Styling features, is one of his favorite features.

“Cartography, which I studied in college, matters a lot, especially to a simple black and white schematic map, or when matching the theme of a map to a site,” he says. “I like that feature a lot.”

In 2020, Homing gave one talk on Android in the Android 11 Meetup and another talk on Maps at the first-ever virtual Hong Kong Devfest, and he’s ready to do more speaking.

“It had been a while since I gave a talk on maps, and the launch of Cloud-based Maps Styling is so exciting that I feel like it’s time to do some presentations and let the community know more about it. Beyond knowing how to use the API, you need to know how you can make the most of the API.”

Homing notes that this year, in particular, more small business owners need to know how to collect customer addresses, allow customers to place on-demand delivery orders, and update customers.

image from GDG developer community meetup in Hong Kong

In 2021, in addition to giving more talks, Homing hopes to work with the GDG organizers in Hong Kong to plan a hackathon or otherwise teach community members more about the new Maps features.

“Can we make an MVP or a really initial stage cycling app to use as a base to explore the new features and use different Google components?’

As his career continues, Homing says he has two priorities: progressing as a product manager and leveraging technology, including maps, to improve lives.

“This year was a year for everyone to become digitally literate,” he says. “With the extra time we spend on technology, we should make good use of technology to make life better.”

For more information on Google Maps Platform, visit our website.

For more information on Google Developer Experts, visit our website.