Virtual Google Development Workshops with UPE


Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, technologists around the world are scrambling to do their part in mitigating the pandemic. For many students, the transition to remote schooling resulted in a loss of on-campus learning resources, including in-person mentoring, workshops, and special presentations. Recognizing the need for continual peer to peer interaction, Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) partnered with Google last week to provide students with a series of virtual workshops called Virtual Google Dev Workshops. This series dedicated fro students; was set up so that aspiring technologists can continue learning from the comfort of their homes.

The first Virtual Google Dev Workshop to kick-off last week was Google’s Machine Learning workshop this workshop was co-hosted by UPE’s SparkDev. SparkDev, a UPE program that encourages students to engage in new technologies by organizing semester-long team projects, sought to provide an opportunity for students to continue to venture out and explore new ideas by learning how to employ machine learning models using Google’s opensource technologies. During the Google Machine Learning workshop, students were able to do this by working alongside Google software engineers to learn how to gather and to consume data to training and deploying AI models using Google’s Cloud Technology. With no previous experience expected from participants, students were able to see the entire development pipeline with in-depth explanations. From importing datasets with BigQuery ML to training custom models with AutoML, participants were able to familiarize themselves with some of the tools Google has available to facilitate the development of machine learning projects. At the end of the workshop, a fascinating demo was presented with AutoML’s vision module that interfaces with a robot to find particular color toy balls.

The day after, Google hosted its “Hey Google! What’s Impostor Syndrome?” workshop. It was co-hosted by the Student Government Association (SGA) and UPE’s MentorFIU; an organization focused on developing students through mentorship. The idea behind the workshop was to help empower students who may have been struggling with a common phenomenon in tech, imposter syndrome,  where someone may not feel like they deserve the success they may face in big tech companies such as Google. To tackle these issues, a panel of Google Engineers shared their experiences on how to deal with some of the unspoken difficulties in tech. Topics ranged from the infamous Impostor Syndrome to the lesser talked-about Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is the illusionary bias that people have to overestimate their abilities. The panel of Engineers also discussed their psychological struggles and outlined some proven techniques to help those overcome whatever it is holding them back from succeeding in tech. Students participating in the talk were also able to share some of their personal experiences with the impostor syndrome and issues with navigating the tech field and were able to gain valuable insight and advice from the Google Engineers on how to combat their problems.

The final Virtual Google Dev workshop was the Google Cloud Workshop, co-hosted by UPE’s InfoTech program, which seeks to equip students with skills essential to the fields of information technology and cybersecurity. During the workshop, students took advantage of the opportunity to interact with one of the most ubiquitous forms of technology, the cloud, by utilizing the various functions that the Google Cloud Platform has to offer. Some of these functions include deploying software, creating VM instances, storing/sharing files, and many more. Additionally, students were able to gain more insight into how Google was able to build its expansive global cloud infrastructure and the overall ideas that lead to the functions in the Google Cloud Platform.

With the sudden surge of Coronavirus cases throughout the world, the demand for innovation has since propelled. UPE and Google recognizing this increase in demand for online resources and did their part in making sure future engineers are enabled to learn and contribute to the dynamics of the world in any circumstance. Special thanks to Google and its team in partnering with FIU’s largest student organization for technology, UPE, and bringing their expertise to the curious and eager students of FIU by hosting these three amazing workshops.

Did you miss out on these events? Make sure to stay updated on the latest news and future events hosted by UPE by joining their Discord here: https://discord.gg/upefiu.

Written by: John Quitto-Graham

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