This is an email conversation, after Aditya, CSE 2nd year at this point of writing emailed me.
Aditya: Hello sir , Aditya here. I am a second year cse student and i read about this idea of yours this midnight and i appreciate your taking up this project. I came to know about you through a senior and would love to contribute in this project in anyway possible though i admit , i am not a tech guy.
But still, if there is any help needed in organising any students in this project, i won't hesitate. I am not interested in placements but the career options available to the students and there is basically nothing being done currently for the students to get to know about various careers available to them.
Me: Hey Aditya,
It's a sigh of relief that for once somebody has reached out for this cause, and I want to thank you for it. I'll take this opportunity to repeat something: the reason I'm so onto this or inform for the first time in case you haven't read it already in the facebook post I posted a month or so ago. I promise I won't keep it short because there's so much to say and communicate.
(LONG THINGS): THINGS YOU CAN WISH NOT TO READ, ALTHOUGH I'D LIKE YOU TO:
Students, like yourself; and myself i.e. when I was in college, aren't exposed enough to the real world possibilities. In fact, I'd go as far as saying, that the few people, and that only mostly CSE students, who commit themselves enough to engage in open source projects, are the only ones who get real world exposure in our college. Recently it has been changing with coming of Revanta and Quad Bike, which is very promising.
We aren't in a geographical position to leverage the privilege that for example engineering colleges of the south have: proximity to companies around. It will always be a factor for their hiring teams to not come to us because they would not want to spend more money to recruit the same level of talent, which they'd have to train for sometime anyway.
I feel that a real and engaging Alumni connection can take care of two things:
Talking to Alumni should force people to even look for off-campus placements, which are somewhat regarded as an unspoken shame to indulge in. I know friends and NUMEROUS alumni who got placed off campus and got better jobs than most of the on campus placements, simply because of the fact, that they chose themselves the companies that they were interested in working. I've also seen my friends who had no intention to sit for campus placements ruin their original plans to study more, or to do something crazy, just because of the peer fear that everyone was getting placed. I was one of them.
A week ago, I got a direct interview offer from the company where a 2012 passout (I'm a 2015 passout) works. I denied it because I have numerous things on my plate I have to figure, one of them being figuring out the minimum viable web app, that would start doing the trick. My original point being, that being in the eyes of Alumni whom one hasn't ever even met could do wonders because you share something no other two people from different places could ever share: 4 years of love for the same place.
See, year after year, we are professed by our teachers, things that do not actually help us out in the real world, with very few exceptions. And on top of that, our peers and pals, most of the time, aren't very excited about an idea to work upon either, which makes it a no-no environment for us that do not really push us to think to solve real world problems, get out of our comfort zones, or even do projects for fun or just explore what could be done. I massively regret the time I wasted in college.
But the hardest pang of regret is, that I wasn't aware that I was wasting time. There were no deadlines, no incentives for a carefree ignorant person like me to think, that I'd eventually have to figure out ways to sustain myself. And it would have been awesome, if I somehow had started asking questions about what I really liked, by doing and trying out things, and failing. I NEVER FAILED, because I NEVER STAYED ON SOMETHING I’D STARTED.
TO THE POINT REPLY TO YOUR MAIL:
I'm not very techie person either, but we do not need the expertise to build this thing, just time to take some right decisions, like the best tech stack to use to make this thing. I know you probably wouldn't know about them (God knows I didn't know either a few months back), but I have a couple of things in mind that I've explored to some length and breath.
Three basic tiers of every application:
Frontend, backend and database.
Frontend is decided: React library by facebook, primarily because it's easy for newbies to understand and learn it.
For backend + database, I've Meteor framework in mind, though using it has its tradeoffs.
I also had Firebase by Google as an easy solution for user authentication plus backend + database as a service, so that I wouldn't have to write any server code at all, but it turns out, it's difficult to scale it. So I've kept it on hold for now.
The first feature I've in mind is a sign up page for students and alumni alike. For alumni for example, we'd ask them to enter all the jobs they've had been in, their contact numbers, updated email ids in a nice timeline looking component, so that students would be able to search and sort them them by their batch, their year of graduating, their jobs etc. I've more productive features in mind, but first things come first, hence I'm deferring myself to even think about them until this first feature is up and running.
But that is a starting point for me, and in no way helpful right now, because something needs to be done before this.
All this effort wouldn't mean anything if
Students don't realize by themselves that they can do wonders by even casually conversing with Alumni and that they ACTUALLY NEED TO, and alumni don't realize that they have this innate responsibility that most of them have left behind as soon as they graduated.
WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO:
Above all, this initiative HAS, and I repeat, HAS to be driven from college, because only then would I have absolute surety and hope that people would be enlightened about this apparent ignorance, which they aren't genuinely aware of, which I've felt a responsibility to share with them. I'll be visiting the college in mid-April; hopefully, I'd be able to push this basic feature with user authentication on GitHub by then.
Looking forward to hear more from you, and feel free to say anything and everything you feel to be without any hesitation. Even if you'd not want to be a part of it in coming point of time, that'll be alright by me completely, because I'm going to make this happen one way or the other.
Lasty, I want to say, I'm very ambitious, and doubts hover over my head every single moment of the day, but I've never stood up for any cause before, now I do, and I want to make it possible.
Thanks and Regards