During that past years as a recruiter at Softescu, I have noticed that many of the fresh graduates are not aware of the existence of Open Source tools that are available. Some of them even try to duplicate entire functionalities of Drupal during their graduation projects rather than using it and focus more on the innovative and content part of their projects. I have noticed that there is a lack of knowledge on the existence of Drupal and Drupal has more complex functionality with each new release.
At the start of 2013, I decided to bring a change in this perception and help promote Drupal among IT students in Bacau, Romania. Bacau has one main university who does Computer Science courses. The staff at the university has been very helpful and a partnership was quickly in place: we will come with the content and held 3 sessions and they will provide some parts of the logistics as well as ensure that the students are informed about the event. An important role in this lesson was our tutor: Ionut Stan which is a Drupal Solution Architect. The team of the project was formed by two people: me and Ionut Stan.
We held in total three sessions on 8th May, 15th May and 22nd May 2013 inside the university, each taking about 2 hours. In total there were 40 students that have attended the sessions. We covered topics such as Drupal terminology, how to create a content type, how to create a view, how to create a module and how to theme your site. In order to have a more practical approach in the first session we grouped them in 4 groups and ask each group to come with an idea of a project that can be implemented in Drupal. We selected one idea and we tailored the rest of the sessions around this practical example. The project proposed was to create an university management system: class schedule, students management, etc.
The feedback from the students has been fantastic. 90% of them came to find out about Drupal and haven’t used it before and about 5-10% knew about Drupal and wanted more information. All sessions took longer than expected as we had more discussions triggered with the participants. At the end of the event we have all decided that we will create an local user group in Bacau so this event will be the start of a new Drupal community in Bacau!
The staff of the university gave us great feedback as well and in autumn will most sure do another session. We even got a request to do a session for the Master students in Computer Science and not only for sophomores.
The event ended last week on 13th June when we met with the students again and gave each of them the last issue of Drupal Watchdog which was about getting started with Drupal. What a match!
The event has been sponsored by Drupal Association through a community grant, by Drupal Watchdog with 40 issues of their lastet magazine, by a Drupal development company in Bacau – Softescu and by University “Vasile Alecsandri” Bacau.
Thank Drupal Association and Drupal Watchdog for the support. We are indeed an amazing community !