My 5 Years in IT
In the first chapter, I’ve discussed my beginnings in Computer Science, and the courses I’ve taken during my first two years at the university.
This chapter covers my membership in a scientific club, my experience doing university projects, and finally my graduation.
I’ve started my third year by joining UDev Community, which is shortened for University Developers Community, and it’s a scientific club founded by student developers and which brings together developers; programmers; and other science enthusiasts trained at the universities. All very passionate about new technologies, they form a community whose goal is to offer a free and open space for the exchange of ideas and knowledge, without forgetting the exploration and sharing of new things but the most important remains lifelong learning.
In the beginning, I was a little bit outdated and lost, because I was new, quite a beginner, and I didn’t know how I could contribute to the club. But after a few months with good guidance from the members, I was able to integrate myself very well into the team by participating in an external workshop about Mobile Development with Android as an assistant as well as an attendee. And, also by participating in the “Hour of Code” event organized by our club in collaboration with Team Open Minds club to introduce in one-hour Computer Science and the basics of programming by using the Hour of Code platform, and targeting people of all ages who have no experience in programming and computer science in general.
What I’ve learned during my first event, was the use of collaborative tools like Slack, for communicating remotely between both teams, and Trello for managing the tasks that should be done before, during, and after the event. My main tasks were to design the event’s Facebook cover picture under the theme “Angry Birds” using Canva, to be a photographer during the event, and to select & treat the pictures before publishing them on social media.
Overall, the event was a great experience for both teams, and we were very delighted that the attendees were happy and took advantage of it.
On the university side, we had continuity on some courses of the second year, and an introduction to new ones such as Compilation, Logic Programming using Prolog, Human-machine Interface, and Artificial Intelligence.
As it was the final year in the Bachelor’s Degree, I had to choose with my partner a topic for our graduation project. After carefully reviewing all topics with our supervisor, we’ve decided to choose to develop an E-Health Android application that includes telehealth, which includes preventive and care procedures performed remotely, telemedicine (medical procedures performed remotely by a doctor) which includes consultation by videoconference, and geolocation of nearby medical centers.
It was quite difficult to put in mind that we will have to work on such a project, but we wanted to give it a try and make sure to deliver good results.
In parallel, I’ve enrolled for the weekends in a Cisco certification course that is the Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing & Switching (CCNA R&S) and in which I‘ve started my path in Networking by studying from scratch, practicing on simulations using Cisco Packet Tracer and GNS3, and on physical equipment like router and switch.
During the first level of the course, I’ve been studying network protocols, OSI, TCP/IP model, IP addressing, and subnetting. What was challenging for me, was that at the end of each chapter of the level, I had to take an online exam, and a written & practical exam at the end of the level, which is why I could barely manage my time with the university where I also had to work on some mini-projects.
Among these mini-projects, we had to develop a compiler, a program that returns change after an amount paid for a given amount of purchase using Prolog. But one of the intense projects we’ve been working on was the development of a UML editor using Java Programming Language.
I’ve been working on that project with my classmate and it was very challenging as we’ve completed it in 4 months with a basic and straightforward User Experience. What I’ve learned and made me satisfied, was the teamwork we had with easy communication, to ask questions and look for answers on Stack Overflow, and mostly by working with a version control system like Git for tracking changes in a remote repository on GitHub where our source code was pushed.
After a busy first semester, the second was short in terms of courses as it was the semester where we had to work on our graduation projects a lot. So, we mostly studied Mobile Development for Android platforms, which was the most attended course as most of the students’ projects were about Android applications, and we’ve also studied IT Security and Cryptography.
I continued on my Cisco certification course by starting the second level of the curriculum with an introduction to VLAN, routing & switching technologies, and protocols like RIP, OSPF, and EIGRP.
One of UDev’s main event of the year was “UConf”, which aims to introduce new technologies and share experiences with students through 15 minutes mini-talks. It was a good opportunity for me to be able to practice public speaking for the very first time, which is why I’ve taken the initiative to participate in the event as a speaker, and I’ve chosen to talk about Kotlin Programming Language. Under the theme “Bring I.T On”, other interesting technical topics were scheduled, such as Qt Programming, Docker, IoT & Smart Devices, React JS, and many others.
Each of the speakers had to go through simulations and being mentored by the senior members of the club to get officially approved for the event. My first simulation was not enough due to the lack of information and details about the topic, but after a week of extensive research and great mentorship, my second simulation went great and got officially approved for the event.
Other than preparing for my talk, I was as well managing the club’s social media pages and mailing(Facebook, Twitter, Gmail) as I’ve been assigned as the head of the Community Management department by the senior members.
Finally, the day of the event has come, I was excited to get on stage and being able to talk in front of hundreds of attendees, and it was one of the greatest experiences that I’ve had, as well as for my friends who also got the chance to participate in the event as speakers.
After completing the final exams, and the second level of the Cisco certification course, only our graduation project remained as the final step. My partner & I have first started to define the functional aspects of the application by specifying use cases through UML diagrams. Then, we could develop our application on Android Studio using Java Programming Language, PHP, and MySQL. To have a videoconference option as part of the application requirements, we’ve integrated an Application Programming Interface (API) of a secondary application so it can redirect us to a videoconference portal and start the call.
In the end, it was a year full of great experiences where we all students got to manage many things at the same time, and we couldn’t be happier and proud to finally reach that big step in a student’s life, which is to be graduated.
In the next chapter, I will discuss my beginnings in the Master’s Degree where I will cover the courses I’ve taken, my continuity with UDev, and how I’ve decided to focus more on Cisco certification.