25 December, 2014

DAIICT - A flashback...

Hey ! Merry Xmas....

While this year is coming to an end, and now when I look back, I can not only visualize the last year, but also the previous years, since I joined DAIICT for under-graduation. I checked-in the K101 room of Women HOR DAIICT on 15th July 2011 and checked out of it on 1st December 2014. For some reasons, I am planning to visit the college this week and the thought of going back evoked nostalgic memories of last 3.5 years. I don't know what this post will turn out to be. I am jotting down random thoughts that strike my mind. Let me put this post as a mere experience, which can reach out to a larger set of audience, with whom I didn't have an opportunity to interact with directly. Ideally, I wanted to write a dos and don'ts that I realized in last 4 years, but my friends has beautifully described it in his blog and my views are completely on the same page.

I am often questioned - ' why aren't you at IIT ? ' To your surprise, I didn't even appear for the JEE entrance exam and IIT was never an option for me. I had not even joined any coaching institute or crash course for AIEEE. But, my perseverance and luck landed me to 23.188582, 72.628658. DAIICT was one of the best university for typically - me. It is just 35 kms from my home, just a 45 minute travel time to reach my second home. Its the best combination of hostel and home life I could have ever imagined. With less than 2 washing bars used in 4 years, most of the weekends spent eating ghar-ka-khana, changing 5 mobile phones and lots of resolutions, here goes my under-graduation life. 

I think I made the most of my under-graduation. To sum up in few words, the journey of past 3.5 years was some great friends, some cordial relations with faculty and staff, some awesome projects (9+ with learnings and memories attached with each one), some research taste (2 papers published and still more in process), part of some great communities, co-founding some clubs and chapters (Women Who Code, Gujarat and ACM- DAIICT chapter), some awesome achievements, some life-time awards, memorable tech-fest (ifest) and cultural-fest(synapse), winning many competitions, some scholarships, attending meetups, participating in workshops, being finalists in hackathon, invited as speakers for several events, some awesome internships, some great offers, internationally representing my university, some mentoring and teaching assistance experience, working and using cutting edge technology like Google Glass and smart watch and a lot of free swags and merchandise. This all was parallel to a super awesome academic record with a CGPI of 9.06 on a 10 point scale with being university topper for 4 semesters. In short, a phenomenally high CGPI, with a balance of pretty much all domains of co and extra curricular activities. I cherish a lot of my 'firsts' in many things during the under-graduation course. The experience it gave me was impeccable. It was a combination of positive and negative experiences, but none of them were a waste. I learned a lot over time from the bad encounters.This span of 4 years completely changed me. Its hard to recognize Kesha, who just entered the university. DAIICT has kind of made me more confident, brave and courageous to take up any position and challenge that life puts forth.

Resource Centre (the library) was one of my most favorite places on-campus. I can't imagine a day without having a visit of RC ! Why ? Coz it gave me some peace time, some inspiration from fellow people, a lot of freedom to pursue my dreams, and to use up 70% of my free time efficiently, for myself. DAIICT has a great alumni, and friendly seniors. Its famous for 0% ragging. I remember myself being in anti-ragging committee and I hardly had to spend any time towards it. It has the combination of best students and best faculty.

DAIICT is a great university. I find it lenient in terms of academics, particularly lectures. If you don't like to attend lectures due to any reason -  find them boring, or too lazy to wake up at 8:30 am ( most of us were all-nighters), but you can somehow manage to get a good score by studying on your own from textbook or video lectures online, then nobody questions you here. Only the labs and assignments were mandatory components. Of-course, it differs from course-to-course, but this was the overall scenario. As a freshman (maybe sophomore also), I was a sincere student - attended each and every lecture, did assignments quite before deadlines, my notes circulated in class and was a topper. The freshman year was all used up exploring new horizons that I could experiment in the upcoming years. Sophomore was actually a turning point, where I felt the change from nerd to geek. This was the year where I started trying my hands on new tools/technologies amd contributing to open source. Junior year was the best balanced life and final year, which is half done now was all roaming and full of trips ! 

You may find other universities as flexible as this, but two of the main reasons of joining this was the unique course that it offers - ICT and placement scenario. My class had a bunch of 240 awesome students. So, this was helpful from placements point of view. I remember the orientation week, when mostly 70% of the time people were talking about placements, companies visiting the campus, average package, highest package etc. I see DAIICT as a plus in three ways: 1. There are a number of companies visiting campus every year. Though, there is a  scope of still more dream category companies to come, yet the pack that comes is appreciable. 2. The records and graphs have been positive and a constant increase. Every year, it performs better than its past year. Thanks to the placement cell! and 3. The most important one is - there are just 300 students competing for 3-4 positions that a niche company usually offers as opposed to 1500 students competing for 4-6 positions in universities with many domains and many branches. Your probability is 1% as opposed to 0.002% in other colleges. So, if you want some industrial exposure before masters or settle with a job, this university is for you! :D

Just a small piece of advice to future DAIICTians. Never have your two following lists empty - ToDo list and Bucket list. Be passionate about computing. Always try and explore new things. But, at the same time, don't try to grab everything you come across. Some events are just bullshit and a total waste of time, energy and efforts. Bullshit events for me can be important and interesting for you. Everyone is different. Analyze what is good for you. Step out of your comfort zone. Never run behind collecting certificates and things just for the sake to include in your resume. Don't get your strings attached with anyone. People patch-up and break-up easily (which I can't). I resolved to be single and independent when I entered university and I was able to live upto it with full expectations. Trust me, its possible. I tried and I have been successful. Although, I would appreciate one in twenty couples from my class, but those kind of true relationship rarely exists at this stage. Try to get in good company of friends. Make some good friends from seniors, Mtech, MScIt, PhDs. Have some people in surrounding who motivates you, supports you and helps you through your thick and thin. Learning and helping should be symbiotic. If you think its not happening, there is a pinch of envy or anything just cut the thread. Looking around, you will find many people like you, who are passionate and willing to learn and help.

When I entered the college, I had many role-models from seniors like Ishani Parekh, Aakriti Gupta, Megha Tak, Nikhil Marathe, Aditya Bhatt, Viranch Mehta, Anil Kishore, Siddharth Kothari, BSRK Aditya, Smit Sanghavi etc. It feels so great that I am leaving this university as a role model for many juniors. The best moment of recent semester is 12 am onwards, when juniors come to my room for some technical queries or just guidance and tell me how much I inspired and motivated them. I have got some fan list before leaving daiict ;) Summing up, DAIICT had been a beautiful journey, a journey from which I won't like to erase any episode and never regret any chapter. Finally, wishing me future endeavors. :')

Thank you mom, dad and bro for your support and unconditional love throughout. I love you !

17 December, 2014

[Systers] Pass-It On Award Fall 2014 Recipient.

Yayy ! I am awarded Anita Borg Pass It On Award for Fall 2k14.

I am the only recipient from India with fellows from USA, Burungi, Canada, Rwanda and Uganda . Thank You Anita Borg that I can take forth a step to encourage Indian women in computing fields through this platform.

My project is to organize one day full workshop plus a 10-day coaching program for learning basic computer skills. Basic computer skills include computer parts recognition (e.g. identifying hardware, familiarizing GUI, etc.), offline applications (e.g. word processors, spreadsheets, etc.), Internet and online applications (e.g. searches, maps, media, etc.) and more.

For the full article see this article on Medium.

05 December, 2014

Wrapping Up Semester 7

 Yay ! Its finally my favorite time of the year again (Hopefully not the last ! :( ). Time to analyze past 4 months, semester 7 of my under-graduation. Like past semesters ( some parts from Semester 6 continued :D ), here are some highlights: 
  • Results of CLEF ehealth task announced. The results very pretty favorable ( 4th position internationally). With this, my first paper of under-graduation published :) ) - "User-Centered Information Retrieval system for Clinical Documents, Conference and Labs for Evaluation Forum (CLEF), 15-18th September, 2014, Sheffield - UK "
  • Participated in Document Similarity Task- FIRE 2014.( Second paper of under-graduation. :) ) - " Playing with distances: Document Similarity Amid Automatically Detected Terms, Forum for Information Retrieval Evaluation, 5-7th Decemeber, 2014, Bangalore - India "
  • I am right now at ISI,Bangalore attending FIRE 2014 - Forum for Information Retrieval Evaluation.
  • Next, I am planning to participate in SemEval 2015 - Analysis of Clinical Text
  • Mentor for program Learn IT girls! ( teaching a new language/tool to a female ). I would be mentoring +Dinu Sandaru to learn Ruby and Rails by making an app - Expense Splitter.
  • Mentoring in Season Of KDE. Guiding +Sai Krishna and +Aarsee Aeron to add activities to GCompris, an eduacational Suite under KDE.
  • Mentoring for organizations BRL-CAD and KDE in Google Code In helping young pre-university students to enter into the world of Open Source.
  • Teaching Assistant for IT105 course- Introduction To Programming Course for freshman at DAIICT. 
  • Anti-Ragging Committee, member.
  • Called for on-site Interview for one of my dream company - Google !
  • A unique exposure at the Tech Expo Event, Morgan Stanley.
  • Awarded the scholarship for Grace Hopper Conference for Women In Computing, but couldn't attend it due to university exams ! :(
  • Speaker for Open Source Meetup at Ahmedabad University.
    There are some more updates, but unfortunately, I think this is not the right platform at this time. It would be published soon. Stay tunned to my blog :)

[Open Source] Talks @ Contributor's Meetup at Ahmedabad University

2nd December 2014:

I was invited to Ahmedabad University to deliver a lecture on - What is open source ? and how to get started with contributing in FOSS ? I introduced them to some programs like Google Summer of Code, Google Code In, Outreach Program for Women, Season of KDE, Rails Girls Summer of Code etc.

I covered the program "Google Summer of Code" in detail. The highlights of the talk were -
1. What is the program ?
2. What are the goals of the program ?
3.How does the Google Summer of Code program work ?
4. Timeline for this year
6. Participating projects
7. Why should I participate
8. Some useful links.
[The link to presentation I presented]

In the second part of the talk, I shared my experience and past journey contributing in open source. I also highlighted the fact that apart from contributing code to the codebase of any project, there are many other ways. One could contribute to documentation, testing, quality assurance, user interface, managing the community or even just promoting product via tweeting/facebooking. Each and every type of the contribution is equally respectable and how OPW provides a platform to woman to start contributing. I also informed that OPW runs twice a year.

I also made them aware about "Season of KDE", in which I am currently mentoring. How it runs and what kind of experience you would have, participating in it, and why they should participate in it.

In the last part of the talk, I told them about Git and Github - a distributed Version Control System and gave them a small demo of working locally as well as remotely with a large code-base.

This was one of the best audience I came across. They were highly motivated by the talk and really wanted to start contributing to open source. They asked for one more hands-on workshop or hackathon or something of that sort, which would give them a quick-start. So, we are planning to have our next meetup on 4th January 2015 (tentative). Until then, they asked for some homework.

So, this goes for you too, if you are one who has been thinking to contribute in open source for a long time, but hasn't had that click to start, you can start doing this homework ! 1. Choose an open source project that interests you (Search via tags in accepted organizations list as I showed during presentation) 2. Find out their IRC channel and hang around it. Introducing you to the community is a plus ! 3. Get the source code of the project. 4. Build it from source. 5. Find out some beginners' task to solve. This is really a difficult step and we are planning to emphasize on this in the meetup on 4th January 2015. Do consider attending this meetup. I can assure you a great feeling of accomplishment and learning something new and life-changing.

Looking forward to meet you at Ahmedabad University on Jan 4. :)

If you have any questions, you can post it below in comments or mail me at kesha(dot)shah1106(at)gmail(dot)com

And yeah, Thank You AU for such an awesome personalized doodle. I can definitely say that it was one of the best gifts I received. Thank You ! :)

17 November, 2014

[Learn IT girls!] Mentoring Ruby on Rails - 1

Voila ! I am so excited to let you all know that this winter, I will be part of Learn IT girls program !

What is Learn IT girls ? What is their aim ?
Our aim is to help women learn a programming language while doing an awesome project! But don't worry, you're not alone in this journey, each scholar has a mentor that guides them on their path. There are many roads you can take and we will make sure you go on the one that is best for you - without missing out on the important features of the chosen language.

I will be mentoring +Dinu Sandaru and the programming language is Ruby and Rails. She is from Sri-Lanka. I was in contact with her before she was assigned as a student to me. She is also selected to participate in Season of KDE 2014.

Last week we met over various social networking platforms, connects and learn more about each-other, about what she wants, and try to help her choose the best application for her. I shared some resources with her to have a starting point. We brainstormed many projects in the past week and finalized an application for expense splitting. She made a list of features to be incorporated and I shared some basic UI models over whatsapp. The next step is framing classes, modules etc, which will be implemented over the next few months ! :)

The next blog-posts for the entire program are on the way and most of them will be posted by +Dinu.

Wish you all the best dearie ! <3 

Let rock with an awesome app at the end of this program ! :*


[Open Source] Call for participation : Google Code In 2014

BRL-CAD is one of the 12 organizations, who is selected as a mentoring organization for Google Code In 2014. I will be mentoring as a part of this open source organization, second year in a row. 

The Google Code-in is a contest to introduce pre-university students (ages 13-17) to the many kinds of contributions that make open source software development possible. The contest runs from December 1, 2014 to January 19, 2015. For many students the Google Code-in contest is their first introduction to open source development.

Pre-university kids from 13-17 years, who are already contributing to open source or want to know what open source is and getting first hand experience in contributing to open source are WELCOMED and highly ENCOURAGED to participated. :) Don't be afraid, if you think it would be all coding and geeks stuffs ! I assure, we have tasks which you can contribute (except coding too) :') For details on types of tasks, read below.

These tasks include:
  1. Code: Tasks related to writing or refactoring code
  2. Documentation/Training: Tasks related to creating/editing documents and helping others learn more
  3. Outreach/Research Tasks related to community management, outreach/marketing or studying problems and recommending solutions
  4. Quality Assurance: Tasks related to testing and ensuring code is of high quality
  5. User Interface: Tasks related to user experience research or user interface design and interaction.

    Students earn one point for each task completed. Students will receive a certificate for completing one task and can earn a t-shirt when they complete three tasks. At the end of the contest each of the open source organizations will name two (2) grand prize winners for their organization based upon the students’ body of work. The grand prize winners will receive a trip to Google’s Mountain View, California, USA Headquarters for themselves and a parent or legal guardian for an award ceremony, an opportunity to meet with Google engineers, explore the Google campus and have a fun day in the San Francisco, California sun.

    For more details on contributing to BRL-CAD, you can visit here and here. [ PS: Both the information pages are created by me. ;) I am so excited to be a mentor ! :) ]
You can always hangout on irc (#brlcad channel on freenode server) or send a mail to our mailing list at brlcad-devel@lists.sourceforge.net regarding any doubts or just say a hello. !

Wish you all the best ! :)

01 November, 2014

[Open Source] Call for participating in Season of KDE

If you are planning to start contributing to open source or a GSoC 2015 aspirant , you are at the right place ! Season of KDE is now accepting applications !

Student application deadline:5 November 2014, 12pm UTC.

To head, start from season.kde.org . 

Season of KDE is an outreach program hosted by the KDE community.
To learn how to apply, see the announcement article.
For some inspiration for your proposals, take a look at our Ideas page.

Bruno Coudoin and I would be mentoring one or two students for the project "Adding new activities to GCompris". The idea description is here.

Go through the idea page and if this sounds interesting to you, you are reqired to follow these steps:

1. Register as a student on season.kde.org

2. Read more about GCompris and get famaliar with this suite's application.

3. From Ubuntu Software Centre, you can install and play some activities.(optional)

4. Propose the project with the following format:

TimeZone: (in UTC)
About Me:

Project Title:
Detailed Project Description:
Technical Requirements:
Final expected outcome:
My availability and other commitments during period:
Why me ?

5. For head-start and a bonus point, try building an exercise-activity. The manual is here.

6. If you get stuck at any of the above steps, feel free to either comment here or you can mail at mailing list at gcompris-devel(at)lists(dot)sourceforge(dot)net or me in person at kesha(dot)shah1106(at)gmail(dot)com.

Wish you good luck ! :)

13 October, 2014

[Online Edit-A-Thon] Ada Lovelace Day !

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, an international day to celebrate the achievements of women in Science, Technology and Math.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day to all the women in STEM fields :)

If you interested in editing Wikipedia, consider participating in the Ada Lovelace Day edit-a-thon! I am participating in it, remotely !

You are also very welcome to participate remotely: all you have to do is to create or expand articles related to Indian women on Wikipedia.

Weblink: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Bangalore/Ada_Lovelace_Edit-a-thon_2014

Step 1: Make a wikipedia account

Step 2: Read Guidelines for making/editing a page

Step 3: Select from the Target List of Women Scientist

Step 4:Learn more about them from the online/offline resources.

Step 5: Start typing :D

Dont worry if you come across this post after Ada Lovelace Day ! You can still edit, contribute and make wiki more better :)

If you have queries, you can comment below !


12 October, 2014

Google and Me

As  a reader, a layman, a user you would definitely agree - "Google is omnipresent". A day without using Google products is hard to imagine. May it be Google search, Google+, G-mail, Hangouts, advertising service, news, Keep, Blogger, Calender, Drive, Docs, Picasa, Maps, Google earth, Analytics and the list goes on and on...

This post is my interactions - personally with Google. I always had first experience of everything with an opportunity from Google, setting the bar high.
  • Google Summer of Code Student. - This was one of the first ever internship I had. Awesome months of my life ! And not to mention, I had my first income in dollars :D
  • Google Code-In Mentor - This gave me an opportunity to introduce 13-17 years kids all over the globe to the world of open source and make their first contributions. The next generation kids are so smart !
  • Google Glass Hackathon, finalist - An exciting feeling when you work with developers' version of Google Glass, hack it and make an app in 2 days !
  • Google Women Techmaker Event, Speaker - I feel so privileged to be invited as a Speaker to deliver 2 talks to only-woman audience, that too on International Women's Day!
  • Google Anita Borg Asia Pacific Memorial Scholarship 2014 - This was the highest honor I recently received. Meeting, interacting and discussions with women all over India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, SriLanka, S.Korea, Korea, Japan and Australia who have incredible leadership skills, community involvement and research/projects in Tokyo and promoting Women in Technology and related fields.
  • Google Internship Interview, Ireland - I never had an interview experience 1 year ago, and when I was contacted by Google , Ireland (yes, I hadn't even applied) that they would like to interview me, I was so glad and excited ! This was my first interview, which was 2+2 telephonic rounds !
  • Google Onsite Interview, India - 6 students from DAIICT were called Bangalore for next rounds of onsite interview. I was lucky to be one of them. I loved the hospitality from Google ;)
  • Google Business Group, Women grp, Ahmedabad - Recently, I have been involved with GBG women group and we have plans to engage and involve more women and encourage them to be entrepreneurs and help them in their startup technically as well as otherwise.
  • Google Doc Camp - BRLCAD, the community with which I was GSoC student, GCI mentor and content creator was selected as one of the 3 open source orgs for Doc Camp. Sadly, my passport still had to be renewed at that time and I couldn't apply for it :(
  • Lastly, I hadn't been a core-member for GDG, GSC but attended some of their events which contributed in some way to where I am today ! One of the memorable events was the live telecast of Google IO 2014. I wish I can attend Google IO in person some day !
This was all Google and Me uptil now. I would like to thank Google for everything I am. I am looking forward to get more involved with Google and its activities in future. :)

PS: Coz of Google, I have got many nicknames in college like Googlebai, Googly girl, Billi borg (bb) ,etc :P

[WWCode Gujarat] Blast Your Creativity ! - A Successful launch

Check out the Video here ! 

"Woman Who Code, Gujarat" organized its launch meet up where in students were asked to showcase their creativity. The event was held at 19 August,14' Tuesday at 10 pm in Women HOR of DA-IICT. It was an informal meet where interaction, exchange of ideas and knowledge was witnessed on a great scale.


Around 30 girls showed up, who enthusiastically talked about technology, their interpretation and views, career, goals and their ambitions. We also had a competition wherein they were asked to express their views on the topic 'Women in engineering'. They came up with some wonderful ideas and presented posters, articles, slogans and their own views in the form of short-talks and debates.

The main motto of WWC was to, and has always been to actively encourage woman to code. When asked, they responded saying that they would all like to be a part of WWC. They wanted to make significant contributions to this community and promote it. Refreshments were also provided.

Towards the end of the event, 5 winners were declared and they, along with all others promised to expand the community and attend the future events.

All in all it was indeed a successful event and WWC looks forward to host more such events.

Kuddos to Nidhi Vyas, community manager for contributing to WWC-Gujarat and making this event a success ! :)