[tog] UCD NETSOC Workshop Program

Sam Dunne sam at netsoc.com
Thu Mar 29 11:56:00 IST 2012

Hello everyone, 

My name is Sam and I'm currently a system administrator for UCD Netsoc.
I am contacting you today about an idea which is in early development within Netsoc. We plan on putting together a workshop program open and free for everyone to use.

Let me start with some background before I explain the concept, hopefully it'll make a bit more sense.

About 2 weeks ago I was in the Google offices for a Google Apps Hackathon. It was a great night and I got out of there around a quarter past twelve and decided I wouldn't make the last LUAS so I flagged down a taxi. We got talking and he was asking about what I was doing etc and after explaining to him he told me about a course he took a few years ago where he learned COBOL and started talking about very technical aspects of data structures. I was so surprised I straight up asked him why he was driving taxis. He explain to me that to get a job he needs work experience, which he can't get because he has four kids and can't take the time off work. This bothered me for a few days after it happened because I think it's incredibly unfair that someone who seemed to have a lot of potential is stuck where he is because the system is broken.
Fast forward to the next week and I was speaking with our auditor Adam and we came up with an idea. Why not run a once a week workshop which is free and open not only to UCD Students but to the general public. This way we could provide work experience to those who can' afford to take a lot of time off work. After coming up with the idea we spoke with a Computer Science faculty member about it who loved the idea and said he would help out any way he could. This was a major hurdle to get over as we would have needed a staff member to help organize rooms etc.

Now we have a semi-formed plan that needs some refining and I'm hoping you guys can help me refine the idea or suggest if we're doing anything wrong. So here's the plan in bullet point form.

Provide peer assisted learning
Hobby projects based on Computer Science curriculum swell as outside of it
Provide community outreach work experience
Form links with industry to try and get students internships/jobs
Organise summer projects
Get in NETSOC Alumni to come talk as well as those in other industries

Some ideas:
Developing games/software (Improve your programming while having fun)
Monthy hackathons with maybe sponsored prizes
Peer-developed projects (Bring us your open source project, we'll try find students interested to work on it with you)

Let me know what you think. Critisism is welcomed and appreciated. Hope you like the idea

Sam Dunne
System Administrator
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