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A laptop screen faces toward the viewer with an exclamation mark, asterisk, hashtag, and question mark on the screen. A task lamp, coffee mug, and cactus plant in a pot sit nearby on the desktop.
You do not even need to know what this means to join the club! Sara_Torda via Pixabay, manipulated by lee lim

Student club offers technical learning opportunities and networking 

In the ever-evolving landscape where academia meets industry, the University of Regina Google Developer Student Club (URGDSC) is helping students navigate that overlap.  

Established in 2022, the club is dedicated to providing students with technical experiences and opportunities for skills enhancement. This student-led initiative has rapidly grown into a dynamic hub that fosters collaboration, innovation, and professional development. 

It all started when Baran Erfani, the current Technical Lead and founder of the club, got her first technical interview with Google. Searching for resources to help her prepare for the interview, she discovered a gap in the supports for students looking to gain more technical experiences and advance their skills, especially regarding technical interviews with big companies.  

However, Erfani found that Google has a community called Google Developer Student Clubs (GDSC), which is a subgroup of Google Developers Groups. A GDSC is a university-based community group for students interested in Google developer technologies. Many universities already had GDSC chapters that offered sessions that included interview preparation. As a result, she applied to lead the first GDSC chapter at the University of Regina (U of R). Around the same time, she received her first internship at Google Waterloo which allowed her to make connections with other chapters in Canada at DevFest 2022 in Waterloo. 

The club is founded on principles of inclusivity and welcomes all students. URGDSC club members prepared written responses for the Carillon to answer our questions about joining the club.  

“Anyone can join the club regardless of their major, faculty, or program. The only requirements are being a student at the university and having an interest in technology.” This reflects the club’s commitment to ensuring that coding skills are not prerequisites for membership, creating an environment where diverse interests in technology from programming to UI/UX design are not only accommodated but celebrated.  

“You do not need to know how to code to join the club. We host several events where anyone can participate, and our last hackathon event even had both grad and undergrad students working together and competing against each other in teams. We also take feedback from the members of the club on how to improve some of our events and also welcome suggestions for new events to host.” 

The URGDSC hosts a diverse array of events designed to cater to the broad spectrum of interests within the tech community. The club sponsors workshops that serve as teaching sessions: delving into new technology skills and knowledge and ensuring that members are equipped with the latest industry insights. Coding events that feature challenges and collaborative coding sessions provide hands-on learning experiences that allow participants to hone practical skills. 

Additionally, URGDSC understands the importance of networking within the technical industry and organizes networking sessions that create opportunities for members to meet professionals and make meaningful connections. The club also facilitates collaborative learning environments through study groups in which members actively support each other’s academic growth. 

According to Kartik Patel, Marketing Lead for URGDSC, the experience of being in the club has enriched their time in university. “This role is helping me develop my leadership skills, as I’ve had the privilege to organize and host various events on campus alongside my teammates, fostering collaboration and achieving objectives.” 

The URGDSC is also actively forging partnerships with various on-campus clubs and off-campus organizations, contributing to the creation of a more vibrant and interconnected tech community. The collaborations are designed to enhance the academic and practical experiences of students interested in technology. 

One such collaboration is with the Computer Science Students Society (CSSS), whom URGDSC partners with to co-host events, workshops, and tech-related activities. This united effort aims to engage a broader audience of students keen on technology by organizing joint coding sessions, tech talks, and networking events. By combining their resources and expertise, URGDSC and CSSS create a synergy that bridges academic learning with practical skills. 

URGDSC is also actively engaging with HackRegina, a prominent player in the local tech community. The collaboration with HackRegina involves mutual participation in each other’s events. URGDSC members are expected to attend or help organize HackRegina’s code-togethers and hackathons, and vice versa, fostering an environment of shared learning and networking. Additionally, the collaboration may extend to joint hackathons, where both pool their expertise and resources to create impactful events that benefit the wider tech community. 

Anticipating future growth, URGDSC is poised to work with the upcoming U of R Cybersecurity Club. This collaboration is expected to result in specialized workshops, talks, and events focused on cybersecurity. By sharing resources, inviting industry professionals for joint sessions, and potentially organizing cybersecurity-related hackathons, the clubs aim to provide valuable insights and hands-on experiences to their members. 

The November 2023 event organized by the URGDSC, Introduction to Web3, attracted a diverse audience that included working professionals seeking insights into Web3 and its use cases. The event successfully fulfilled its primary objective of introducing Web3 in Regina, sparking curiosity among students who rarely encounter this technology in their university curriculum. Securing sponsorship from Push Protocol (formerly EPNS), a leading Web3 communication protocol startup, played a crucial role in the event’s success. The club’s Project Lead, Satyam Singh, facilitated the collaboration and the event was held in a classroom in the Kinesiology building.  

While receiving positive feedback, the organizers identified a need to cater more to beginners and ensure that future events are accessible to all. The club values the input of its members and claims to be responsive to the evolving needs of its diverse membership. This approach fosters a sense of ownership and engagement among its members. 

From its inception in Winter 2022 to its active involvement in events and collaborations on a national level, the URGDSC has demonstrated its commitment to providing students with opportunities for skills enhancement. The club’s impact goes beyond individual experiences, influencing the local tech community and contributing to the broader landscape of tech education in Canada. As URGDSC continues to grow, it testifies to the potential of student-led initiatives in shaping university experiences and preparing students for success in the technical industry. 

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