Drupalathon’ 17; Happy ending

It was a dream for me to conduct an event in my campus before I graduate (I guess all want something like that in their college life). It all began in late December 2016 where a group of  5 of us(Abhishek, Akash, Chiranjeeb, Prashant and myself) started thinking of a Drupal hackathon- Drupalathon’ 17 in our campus in connection with FOSS@Amrita, to help students get an overview of this powerful Content Management System(CMS) used by many exciting projects including The white house, Harward university, Grammy awards and so on.

We started contacting Drupal communities in and around India for sponsorships. The initial responses weren’t that great. At the same time, we got replies from Jet Brains and GitHub. We assumed it to be sponsorships as funding for the conduct of the event. But, they could only provide the stickers which we could distribute among the participants. Thanks to both these communities.

Months passed, we kept on contacting the local communities, not many responses and in March we could find an exciting update from the Drupal association itself who were ready to share our funding in the form of Community Cultivation Grant(CCG).

At the same time, we were also in talks with the local Drupalers in Bangalore and Trivandrum to find potential speakers who could lead the event. We finally ended up in Rakesh James from Valuebound whom I have met during DrupalCon Asia 2016 in Mumbai. The dates were initially set to March 25 but later on got shifted to April 22nd due to some permission delays.

But, at the last moment, Rakesh had to go to Baltimore to attend the Drupalcon which again brought new issues for us. We were feeling really down that we will lose all of our efforts if we couldn’t implement the plans effectively. To our good luck, Rakesh sorted out the issue by helping us get in touch with Nishant Kumar from his company. That was a huge relaxation for all of us from all the sudden happenings. He also got Chirag Shah, his colleague to help him for the event.

Again when it was nearing the event, April 22nd was declared as a working day,  making us more difficult for the event to occur due to the unavailability of the computer labs, duty leave permissions. We discussed with the speakers and they were kind enough to shift the event to the next day, Sunday, April 23rd.

We had 40 attendees for the event. It got started by 9:3 with Nishant Kumar introducing the participants to an overview of the Drupal ecosystem, its usability, how it stands apart from the current existing technologies. It was a totally interactive one with students raising their questions and clearing their doubts on the various aspects of this technology.

DSC_0339

Then Chirag joined Nishant with the installation of Drupal in the local systems. Most of them could install successfully by the lunch time. All were really enjoying the environment learning new things which could come into their real use may be once they start applying it.

IMG_20170423_135233The afternoon session mainly dealt with customizing the website and exploring the various cutting-edge features of this enormous CMS. Students also tried to work out some of them to enjoy the real beauty.

DSC_0298And it was really a happy ending for all of us. We got positive feedbacks from the participants and the speakers. We feel really proud to have conducted the event, breaking all the barriers and ending up a day, sharing the Drupal knowledge with the students of my campus. Thanks to FOSS@Amrita for all the support and encourage throughout entire planning and implementation phase of the hackathon.

Hope we could come up with more events in the future.

Back to writing

The blog post has always been a powerful tool express the views. I have been out of posts due to some reasons. Yes, and finally I think let me scribble down something to restart my writing habits. Another GSoC proposal period has come to an end with an enormous amount of participation from FOSS@Amrita club. I feel really proud to know that around 25 first years have applied for GSoC this year. In our times, we were not even aware how to contribute to an organization at this entry period (even though I used to hear talk like I contribute to so and so organization from my seniors and mentors out here). I am not coming up with a topic to debate here. Yes, at the same time, I could learn a lot about my various technologies which helped me to be a part of last year’s GSoC.

I am really happy to see the performance of the students in the form of their proposals. They have taken serious efforts to come up with attractive proposals. I see really high-quality proposals from our students which are definitely due to the extreme support from our senior members. I am sure the last 1 month was really a memorable time for my juniors. They could interact with developers all around and most importantly craft software project proposals of open source organizations.

This is a totally different experience and I would say all the Computer science Engineering students should give an attempt here at least once. The selection of the proposal is an entirely different story. There are no words to express the satisfaction we get on submitting the proposal in the GSoC website after all the efforts. We build new partnerships with developers worldwide and this is definitely going to help us throughout our lifetime.

Good luck to all the GSoC aspirants. You have already amazed us 🙂

It’s all happening!

I just remember a simple conversation I had with one of my faculty placement coordinator which happened around 12 months back. It goes like this:

Me:  Hi. I feel really excited seeing the current placement statistics.

Coordinator: Yes, this year we had a good number of core placements. Most of your seniors are placed and that too with very high packages. The performance of the batch has been improving year by year.

Me: oh, nice. That ‘s really a cool. Our batch is also going to face the interview process very soon.

Coordinator: Yes, and which is your dream company?

Me: (a bit surprised, not yet having some clear goals and just for the sake of an answer gave a random reply): SAP labs!.

I was placed in Bosch software solutions in July 2016. But, I wanted a core company. I won’t say Bosch isn’t a perfect place. But, when it comes to Computer science, Bosch remains a question mark. Then, I attempted one more interview for Symantec. I went without much preparation and the result was disastrous (knocked out in the very first interview!).

SAP labs arrived in Amrita for placements last week and I was in the second round of interviews after clearing the online rounds which were held at the respective campuses. I could clear all the rounds successfully.

Yes, and finally on January 25, 2017 (a day before the Indian republic day), I am placed in this well known German campus in Bengaluru, the silicon valley of India.

PS: Please don’t consider this is as a drama as a result of the selection process. The characters of this conversation are still alive 🙂

Is Amrita University, Amritapuri Campus a good place for BTech CSE?

Is Amrita University, Amritapuri Campus a good place for BTech CSE? by Joyce George

Answer by Joyce George:

I am doing my third year B. Tech in Computer Science in the Amritapuri campus and I would say I have enjoyed the journey so far. Amrita has given me a different level of experience and I feel really lucky to have got admitted into this prestigious institute. Currently, Amritapuri is one of the most sought after campus in India.

My ratings on different aspects of Amrita:

Campus

  • Wonderful learning atmosphere.
  • Smart class rooms, Library with good collection of books from different streams.
  • Auditorium for conferences, cultural programs.

Academics:

  • The top level you can expect from any of the Engineering campus.
  • Experienced faculties, research opportunities, Computer labs.

Opportunities

  • Three active clubs: ICPC, Cyber security and FOSS.
  • Take part in International level programming competitions under the guidance of experts in programming.
  • Contribute to core organisations and take part in internship programs like Google Summer of Code (10 selections this year from campus), Outreachy.
  • Exchange programs with Top universities in Europe, United States.

Placement

  • An active placement department with energetic Faculties to polish our soft skills, presentations skills.
  • Students are recruited to many core companies like Google, Directi, CISCO, SAP labs with very high packages.
  • A good section of students are placed.

Hostel and Food

  • Sufficient living space in hostel rooms.
  • Well furnished rooms.
  • Campus Wifi, Reading rooms, multi lingual Newspapers
  • Food is pure vegetarian with varieties of curries. But, its healthy and hygienic. Some may have issues with food, but after all, some level of adjustment is really essential.

Recreational activities

  • Table tennis, Badminton, cricket, Football.
  • Gym for Students and faculties.
  • Swimming pool.

If you have got a counselling letter for Amrita B. Tech admissions, then you are one of the luckiest in the world. Its really tough to get admitted here. Make use of this wonderful opportunity.

I can guarantee you that you will definitely enjoy this campus.

Feel free to contact me for further information.

Is Amrita University, Amritapuri Campus a good place for BTech CSE?

Google Intern!

Finally, got selected for the prestigious google summer of code 2016 (GSoC’ 16). GSoC is a yearly summer internship program conducted by Google in connection with open source organizations where students get an opportunity to work on projects under an experienced panel of mentors.

Congrats to all those who have attempted for this selection process. The proposal writing itself is a wonderful experience where we could work with many high profile people, discussing a lot about the possible implementation patterns of various projects.

This was the first time I was applying for this program and luckily by god’s grace, everything clicked well and I am into the final list of selected members for this year’s GSoC. So, I will be coding for Drupal, on the project, ‘Port Search Configuration Module to Drupal 8’. I am mentored by Naveen Valecha, Neetu Morwani and Karthik Kumar.

April 2016 was really a lucky month for me. Apart from this internship, my team ended up as runner ups in the Amrita Super Minds Quiz finals. I also got one of my article published on contributing to Drupal in the upcoming edition of Open Source For You, Asia magazine.

Hoping to have a nice summer ahead.

Review of Civil Service Orientation Program

Hey everyone,
As many of you know, yesterday our campus hosted another civil service orientation program in connection with the Amrita Civil service Academy, Trivandrum . This was the third time such a program happened on our campus. We were blessed to have the presence of ‘the collector bro’ (popularly called)- Prashant Nair IAS led the first event, followed by Dr. Alby who as trained and helped and mentored many to reach the prestigious civil service( Prashant sir and Dr. Alby John were his students). Those sessions were really inspiring. I always wonder how the CIR team is able to make such interesting selection in terms of the guests.

So, based on the previous experience, I was really excited on hearing about this event. The event was scheduled to begin at 9 AM in Amriteshwari hall. Today’s chief guest was Mr. Neeraj Nachiketa from Samkalp, Delhi. He goes to many premier civils coaching institutes of India.

The session started around 9: 30 AM. Biju ji gave a brief introduction about the previous activities of the Civil service Forum in the campus and welcomed the chief guest. The session kickstarted with an introduction to various services starting from the glamorous IAS, IFS, IPS and to all other 24 services of the UPSC. He spoke about the various challenges and opportunities offered by the services and most importantly their diversities. Often, when we go to corporate world, we are getting into some kind of specialization. The civils give you chance to minke with people from various sectors of the society and also apply your innovative ideas for the betterment of the society. On the same time, the vicious circle of Politicians, power holders becomes a barrier in some form of development. But still, the prestige of the service is something different.
Later on, he spoke about the exam pattern. He stressed on how to learn and master the various subjects. We can read a newspaper in 4 hours and end up in nothing and at the same time if we know the right way, we could do it 60 minutes and grab the right information. So, he pointed out the various essential requirements. The optional subjects were also mentioned.
The session also came up with an idea of a civil service camp in Ettimadai this summer for 10-15 days where civils aspirants from all the 5 Amrita campuses will get together and experts from all around India will give talks and interactive sessions. This is the only campus where students are given a chance to get into civils coaching along with the regular studies (even IIT students has to depend upon the coaching centres in Delhi).
The session concluded with a Q & A session where students cleared their doubts about the civil service examination and their doubts regarding various services.
If you get time, I advice to go through the ‘One in Millions‘ program conducted by Amrita T V where selected number of students where given the UPSC style of interview by the experts(I would call celebraties 😉 including Prahsant Nair IAS, Rishi Raj Singh IPS, ‘the Metro man’ – Dr. E Sreedharan and so on.
I know the post was a bit too long. But, I hope it will be helpful for you someway or the other.
Thanks for spending your time.

DrupalCon Asia 2016 Experience

Hey folks,

I was part of the Drupal Asia conference ‘DrupalCon Asia 2016’ which was held in IIT-Bombay from 19-20 February 2016. It was really a wonderful experience for me throughout the trip and also most importantly conference. I would like to share with you my experience in Mumbai with you.
I was offered a grant from Drupal Association which supported me from travelling and accommodation in Mumbai (You can imagine how hard its to go to a metro city like Bombay without any funding, Drupal helped me over here.).  Thanks to this wonderful community for their support.
I was accompanied by Pavan, second year CSE. We had to roam a big portion of Mumbai city on 18th(Kurla, Sakinaka, Andheri, Kanjur Marg,Powai are some of them) as the OYO services troubled us a lot with our rooms. But, anyway we took it in the positive spirit as we could have a better glimpse of the Bombay in the very first day. Finally, we could settle down in our rooms by around 11 in the night.
Next day, we woke up early as I was supposed to be in the volunteering team of the conference for the first couple of hours and was to be in the campus by 8 AM. IIT Bombay is situated in Powai. Powai lake is a famous point near to it and the campus is situated in a wonderful sight. We got off the hotel by 7 AM and started walking to Chakala(J B Nagar) Metro station. It was around 1.5 Kms from the hotel. We reached there within some 20 minutes and went to Ghatkoper by Metro and from there to Kanjur Marg by the Suburban railway. We took a riksha from there and reached auto by nearly 8 AM.
Now, speaking about IIT. This was my first visit to an IIT. So, I was really excited for this trip. IIT Bombay is really a well planned campus. It can be termed a green campus. We can find trees planted along the roads within IIT and they are maintained well. It is a very huge campus with good navigation systems(you will get maps pinned every corner) and the roads are also well maintained. I think the intra roads over there are more broader than the highways available in Kerala :).
The Registration Desk was setup in the VMCC hall. We headed to VMCC and cleared the formalities and I helped the Registration team for some time. We had the breakfast and headed to the convocation hall where the inaugural session and the keynote was going on. The conference was officially declared open by Dries Buytaert, founder and lead programmer of Drupal CMS. He gave a wonderful Keynote which briefed about the journey of Drupal and its upcoming projects .He spoke about the new trend in Drupal, the D8 version and the contribution of asian society in the Drupal which is quite a big one. Asia is the second largest contributor towards Drupal community.
Then started various sessions. The sessions were for all types people. It was mainly on : business, case studies, coding and development, contributions , front end, mobile and site building. If you are interested you could look out for the sessions held here.
I took part in a session led by Klaus purer on ‘How to publish a module on drupal.org‘. It was quite interesting. It stressed the importance of coding standards, sandbox, secure codes, community reviews.
I could also attend a session of Larry Garfield on ‘Make your code do your job’ and also a session of Shyamala Rajaram on the importance of drupal community and how to contribute to this CMS.
There were also exhibits of various Drupal companies in the halls. There were some random talks and fun sessions going on. We also had some fun,  playing games in the meantime.
The second day day started with the keynote of Danese Cooper, an American advocate of open source software. She has been in India for the past 18 years strengthening open source in various govenment organisations and universities. Then again followed various sessions on Drupal modules, Deploy module of Drupal, Discussion of growth of India in open source, Drupal 8 Site buIIT Bombayilding.
So, overall it was a wonderful experience in Bombay for both of us. We could also talk directly with some of them to whom we had only some IRC chats. They were also ready to help us for working on projects. They were also very much excited when they heard of a FOSS club in our campus.
The food was awesome in IIT. There was no separation like speaker, attendee. Anyone can eat whatever they want and there were numerous food counters.
The sessions were well arranged. Time management of the foreign speakers were something interesting to have experienced. If a session is to begin at 10 AM, they won’t care even if there is enough members, they straightway begin at 10 and stop at the exact time allocated to them.
I thank the entire Drupal team and the IIT Bombay representatives who made this event a memorable and an interesting one.