GDG Kolachi is a Google community consisting of Google developers and tech enthusiasts working tirelessly to spread awareness about Google technologies and its variety of applications. The main motive of the community is to improve link-up in the tech industry by the effective inclusion of Google technologies. It emphasizes on building a tech-inclusive future in Pakistan, particularly with Google’s technology. Just like the last three years, GDG Kolachi organized the fourth iteration of its flagship event – GDG DevFest.

GDG DevFest 2019

GDG DevFest is the flagship event of the Google Developer Group (GDG) Kolachi. The main aim of the event is to list the various Google technologies that can serve to be driving forces for Pakistan’s tech industry. The GDG community has a laser focus on its idea of paving way for multitudes of individuals to follow the industry’s best practices and enhance the quality of services being provided by them.

Key Takeaways

Keynote – Eric Bhatti, Lead, GDG Kolachi

Like the majority of tech events, the GDG DevFest 19 also kicked off with a keynote from the GDG Kolachi Lead, Eric Bhatti. Eric is the Technical Lead at Oraan and is one of the top Android Developers on Stack Overflow. He has been exploring multitudes of ways to enhance the Android Development experiences for individuals who follow him.

GDG DevFest

The point of focus of Eric’s keynote was the growth potential that comes with the usage of Google technologies. He gave a shout out to Google’s initiative of Developers Student Clubs and praised the Developers Student Club Leads of Pakistan.

GDG DevFest

Eric expressed extreme gratitude for the massive turnout that included a variety of individuals from different universities, and the corporate sector. GDG DevFest hit a personal best by hosting more than 700+ individuals with a prominent women representation interested in or associated with technology.

As per the event’s official itinerary, the event was scheduled to conduct a multitude of speaker sessions, codelabs, thought-provoking workshops, and office hours in the community lounge.

Speaker Sessions

The speaker panel had an incredibly experienced lineup of speakers that baffled the audience with their expertise and knowledge of their respective domains. Some of the key speaker sessions included:

Changes in Web Development using Google Technologies – Mashhood Rastgar

GDG DevFestMr. Mashhood Rastgar, CEO – Sastaticket.pk, is an Angular Developer and Google Developer Expert. He walked the audience through the massive enhancements that have been made by Google to bring ease in the domain of website development. Furthermore, Mashhood discreetly mentioned the noticeable differences that have been made in the Cloud division by Google. Moreover, he conducted a detailed discussion regarding Tensorflow and its capabilities.

Careem’s Data-Optimization Journey – Tafseer Ul Islam and Khurram Naseem

Careem’s Data Engineering Experts, Tafseer Ul Islam and Khurram Naseem discussed the bumpy ride of scaling Careem. They also revealed how Careem is managing heaps of data after hitting a unicorn scale.

AI with Tensorflow – Aqsa Kausar

Pakistan’s recent tech sensation, Aqsa Kausar conducted an interactive and intuitive speaker session regarding the supremacy of Machine learning when used effectively. Aqsa Kausar is Pakistan’s first female Google Developer Expert in Machine Learning which brought an increased amount of publicity and exposure in a short amount of time.

How does Bykea use BigQuery – Abdul Mannan

Abdul Mannan, CIO – Bykea, held an engaging speaker session by explaining how Bykea is effectively using BigQuery to manage its massive amount of data.

Fireside Chat: Role of developers in the emerging Pakistani tech ecosystem – Atyab Tahir and Asif Jafri

Atyab Tahir, Head of Digital Banking at HBL, and Asif Jafri, Founder Momentum Pakistan, conducted a fireside chat discussing the significance of the role of developers in Pakistan’s tech industry. Both the speakers reinstated and centered their discussion around a specific point during the discussion that:

Freelancers are the ambassadors of Pakistan.

Community Lounge

Community Lounge was an innovative and interesting element to this year’s GDG DevFest. The idea of the community lounge was to bring the experienced speakers and the information-hungry attendants of the event to mingle and interact with different professionals to discuss and know as much as they could. As per the initial announcement by Eric Bhatti, the speakers had detailed and insightful discussions with all the attendants who approached them in the community lounge to educate them with their relevant domains of knowledge. The participants’ turnout for this and their feedback showed how important it is to have one-on-one interactions for students to gain the exposure they desperately need.

Workshops

I am Remarkable – Hufsa Munawar

Hufsa Munawar, Creative Lead – GDG Islamabad and Ambassador – Women Techmakers, is a Digital Marketer by profession. She applied the “Vegas Rule” in her workshop which radically increased the interaction level in her workshop. The focal point of the workshop was:

It is important for us to accept our own remarkability before asking others to do so.

Mindfulness for Innovators – Noorulain Masood

Noorulain Masood, Founder of Be, hosted the workshop on Mindfulness for Innovators. The main focus of the workshop was to identify how to ignore useless thoughts when trying to focus. Noorulain dismissed the complex concepts of how to tackle difficulties in maintaining focus. She provided the attendants with a subtle and simplistic formula of meditation to train their minds on how to ignore useless thoughts.

 

Codelabs

Apart from the various informative speaker sessions and the refreshing workshops, GDG DevFest was also equipped with some exciting Codelabs for the participants to receive hands-on knowledge about some technologies.

The topics of the codelabs included:

  • Build Actions for the Google Assistant – An interactive coding session by Saad Pasta that focused primarily on creating intuitive new actions for the Google Assistant and let the attendants get the hang of how to play around the technology.
  • Learn Tensorflow – Ayesha Shafique provided some incredible insights regarding the involvement of Computer Vision in Tensorflow and how it affects the efficiency of Tensorflow as a tool.
  • Tensorflow.js: Audio Recognition using transfer learning – For attendants who were already working with Tensorflow and were stuck with some audio integrations, Barkat Khan and Yusrah Shahid provided a detailed outlook to solve the most common issues.
  • Optimize your web-app using Firebase Extensions – Use of Firebase is increasing at an exponential scale which forced Sami Haroon to conduct a codelab on how to improve the optimization of your web application by using easy-to-use-and-configure Firebase Extensions.
  • Using Kotlin Coroutines in your Android app – Wajahat Karim showed a detailed implementation of how Kotlin is slowly creeping towards becoming a plausible competitive android development language and how can you get acquainted with it by using it in your current applications.
  • Getting started with Trusted Web Activities – Taley’a Mirza provided an in-depth analysis of how important it is to work with trusted web activities.

Glimpses:

 

Announcement – Google Business Group (GBG) Karachi

GDG DevFest’s platform seemed like the optimal opportunity for GBG Karachi to announce the launch of their own BizFest Karachi which is scheduled to be held later this year. GBG’s BizFest is scheduled for 7th December 2019. More details regarding the event can be found here.

To sum it up, Google Developers Group Kolachi pulled off another great event by bringing students, corporate professionals, and entrepreneurs under one umbrella. According to the attendants’ responses, the frequency of events like GDG DevFest 19 should increase for the enhancement of Pakistan’s Tech ecosystem.

Big shoutout to the responsible team #GDGKolachi.

GDG Team

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