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When you were in 1st Semester normally there were no sign of this question: What to do after I got my degree? But this question seems to be stick at your mind when you are studying in 7th or 8th semester. But hey! Don’t worry I will be guiding you and will help you how you can Search for opportunities, Making strong your profile, Grabbing those opportunities, and will sharing lot of other tips.
Before we start, grab a cup of tea, because this might get very long.
Okay so let get started, let me tell you there are two phases:
- Before Graduation
- After Graduation
1. Before Graduation
In my opinion 7th and 8th semesters are more important. Because you will be choosing topic or area which you will be doing your FYP formally called as: Final Year Project. FYP really plays important role when you are applying for internship/job or you trying to secure admission in higher studies (MS / PhD). So my advice is choose FYP wisely because it will accompany you wherever you go.
Problem is how you will choose best topic/area for your FYP, Don’t worry I am going to show you 🙂
1.1 Selecting Field which you love
Did I say above 7th and 8th semesters are most important for your career? OMG I admit I was wrong, 7th and 8th semesters are just important for your FYP and your career depend upon FYP, but you will choose and complete good FYP if and only if you studied hard in 1st till 8th semesters. So study hard and keep your interest in all subjects.
So if you are studying hard since first semester you will face lot of practical work and assignments, also you will see teachers teaching you some weird programming languages, I would suggest please take interest in that and do your assignments and programming tasks yourself. Whenever in university teachers introduce you some programming language do leave it, go deep in the bottom and do some personal projects in it. Don’t forget to take notes in notebook whenever you are learning new stuff in that language/tools, so that whenever you like to revise you can do it in half night. Whenever you are promoted and new language came into you way, please don’t ignore but it the same way you did in your previous semester. That way, not only you will learn how to program its syntax and semantics, but you will understand logic which is most important in every programming language.
If you understand logic believe me you can switch from one programming language to another in just one day just by reading their documentation. So try you best.
How you can improve your skills in programming?
Here are few websites where you can learn programming and your desire programming language:
- TheNewBoston – YouTube Channel
Stack Overflow should be your bible whenever you are practicing. I would suggest to make account on StakOverflow to ask questions and answer if you know some, Create account on GitHub make repositories and may be develop or write some program or library and show it to world. Make yourself familiar with Git and SVN Version Control Systems.
You can practice here:
Whenever you are programming during your university days you sometimes feels more comfortable with one specific language than others. I would suggest to please go with it. That is you’re your field. But if you think you are more comfortable with multi-programming languages and it is hard for you to decide which one you pick. Here is little advice:
Go and do some research look which programming language will rule the world for the next ten years or which one is more popular now. Go and study it, if you think it isn’t hard for you to get because you have same syntactical background related to you learnt some programming language before, it has the same taste with the language you learnt before. Okay now check for salaries and packages and market density. Choose the one which has high salaries and has less developers in market. That is your FUTURE programming language. Go for it.
1.2 Good FYP
Now that you have decided which programming language to pick, it’s time to think about good FYP idea. I know some guys who have very good ideas during 4th or 5th semesters but some are like empty brain they don’t have idea what to pick, here is little advice for that:
Come out of your home look around you, did you saw any problems, of course you did, now develop solutions for the said problems. If you think you cannot find problems around you. Okay start from yourself, start from and think about when you wake up, did you face any problem, when you changing clothes, when you taking breakfast, when you meeting friend, when you going somewhere, when you attending any party, when you in class, when you going for trip, when you buying something, when you want to eat delicious foods, when you order something, when you have appointment with your physician, and a lot, Hey! Did you find any problems in that? YES, wow, Okay now brainstorm solution for it. Great.
At this time you have lot of problems and you have solutions for that problems, let’s jump into the next phase.
1.3 FYP Lead to Product
It’s time to choose best problem which have best solution. How to identify which one is best, here is how:
- Look for your solution, is it feasible to solve with Technology, or the tools you have in your hand?
- Can it be done in your timeframe?
- Is really your solution needed by people, or you will market it?
- Will your solution generate money?
If your solution is feasible, can be done in desire time, yes solution is needed by people and the problem is really problem and it must be solved, and yes it can generate revenue.
Pick that idea, and start working on Business Model Canvas, Revenue Model Canvas and you are good to go. I wish I could talk more about Business Model Canvas and Revenue Model Canvas but my hands are tighten up because these are terms using by entrepreneurs and you need to take guidance from them.
It’s time to work on your BEST FYP. You have successfully converted your PROJECT into PRODUCT.
It’s time to sell them, it’s really time to earn some money.
2. After Graduation
So you are graduated and you are waiting for your Transcript or Degree. Well in most cases you don’t need degree but for many opportunities you need Transcript.
At this stage you have completed your FYP, and now you are free from University (almost) you have some free days, I want you to please revise:
I will not suggest to revise all, if you think you have chosen your field then that’s great just revise it and go more into deep. But above are technologies which are more required in industry. Before going into industry you must know one or some of it.
Grabbing opportunity is simple, nobody loves you they just love your work. Industry work like phenomena of “Symbiosis” where both entities get benefits from each others. Like they will assign task, they want you to do project for them and in return you will get exposure and get experience by working with potential developers.
Securing internship is simple, just show them what you are up to and believe me they will welcome all by heart. That’s why I told you to get yourself expert in at least one technology and someone in industry will want you. J
Well, there are two types of internships you get, from Government and from non-government organizations. Let’s talk about it.
2.1 From Government:
It was the days when no one knew information technology in Pakistan, Umar Saif was studying in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and he completed his PhD. He return to Pakistan and was assigned Chairman of Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB). It was really a great step by Punjab Government. By KP Government they also initiate Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board (KPITB) which should be praised as much as we can. Thank You KP Govt.
Let’s talk about how Government can help you.
2.1.1 ITBoard Internship
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board was founded by KP government and they don’t just provide internships but they’ve initiated lot of projects like: Durshal, KPYEP, Incubation Centers and a lot.
How to secure internship in KPITB?
KPITB announce internships mostly in November till January. You have to fill online form and attach your CV. Then ITBoard send Excel file sheet (.xls) to all companies whose are affiliated with ITBoard. Software companies short list candidates and call you for interview. Upon accept you need to submit your all document (Remember Final Transcript is must). Later on you will receive call from ITBoard and they will check all your documents and interview you.
It last for Six months, successful candidates will offer PKR 14,000 per month. You need to work with company, and you need to do your attendance with biometric machine, you need to complete certain amount of Hours with company. Else you won’t be able to proceed further.
Also in third month of your internship, ITBoard officials will take assessment test from you, it’s easy they will ask about your progress whether you are going good or not.
After completion of six months, they will again interview you and you have to show them your projects done with company and you have to show them when you join company what was new for you, and what you’ve learnt.
Click Here for old advertisement.
Thank You ITBoard.
2.1.2 IT Excellence Center (KP ITEC)
ITEC was initiated by ANP government. Unlike KPITBoard internships which is spending time with Software Company, ITEC is teaching, Training and guiding based internship. ITEC internships are mostly announce in November to March and procedure of shortlisting is NTS Test. They have three categories:
- Desktop Application
- Web Development
- Graphic Designing
You have to select your desired field while filling form. In ITEC they teach and guide you for first THREE months and for the rest of THREE months you need to do a project assigned by you or selected by you. But most of the project are Government based and you need to do Government Project.
ITEC duration are Six months, and you will get stipend at the end of your internship. Total amount of stipend is: PKR 50,000.
Currently ITEC centers are situated in:
- Dean Trade Center, Peshawar
- Malakand University, Lower Dir
You can choose any center you want.
Click Here to see old Advertisement
Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) is government Board by which Software Companies get theirself registered (on PKR 10,000 Yearly membership fee) and they will provide Internees, and also lot of opportunities nationally or internationally to Software Companies.
PSEB announce their internships (Prime Minister’s ICT Internship Program) in June and July and you have apply online via their portal. Companies will receive your profile and they will shortlist you. Upon success you will do internship with company and will receive PKR 15,000 per month.
PSEB is national platform so any company in Pakistan can hire you.
2.1.4 NIP ICT
National Internship Program was initiated by Ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, where you need to make your profile on their portal and any company will hire you. It’s not only for IT Graduates but all graduates can apply to it. But IT graduates are mostly hired for technical purposes like: Computer Operator in Government Offices etc. You can relocate your position to your nearest office.
It last for One Year and you will get stipend of PKR 15,000 per month.
Unlike others it’s little different. Most of the time you may not do what you have been taught for four years. So think before you want to join.
2.1.5 Civic Innovation Fellowship – Code For Pakistan
Code for Pakistan (CfP) is founded by Sheba Najmi, it is as like as Code for America, Code for India, Code for Africa and Code for All. KP Civic Innovation Fellowship program is joint initiative of KP ITBoard and CfP.
This fellowship is mostly announce after KP ITBoard internships are offered. Securing this fellowship is little bit hard but not impossible. Once they are announced they need you to submit your idea for betterment of society. If you are programmer or Graphic Designer and you have good skills normally they look into your skills whether you will be able to complete any project from start to end. If your idea is selected you will be assigned team of normally four people (Two Programmers + Graphic Designer + Content Creator, Content Creator came from background of any field like Civil Engineers, Mechanical etc) and you have to work on that project. If you are programmer/GD and you are selected they will place you in some other team who have their idea. Mostly CfP work on Government Projects and you will have to do that.
For every group, mentors will be available so you can contact them and they will guide you in right path even from Software Design Architecture to Database Design, even in code. That’s the best part.
This fellowship lasts for Six Months and you will receive stipend of PKR 15,000. You need to make sure your attendance on Biometric Machine.
My personal advice is: Securing this fellowship is worth of all. It will open doors for you to completely new world. You will meet lot of people, government officials, politicians, international IT ambassadors, will provide opportunities to go and attend seminars, hackathons, meetups and lot of stuff. I bet, you will be completely change after you complete this fellowship.
2.1.6 KP YEP
KP Youth Empowerment Program (KP YEP) is joint initiative of KPITBoard and World Bank. KP YEP not actually provides you internships but they are providing some training seminars in which they train you in your desired field:
- Full Stack Development
- Graphic Designing
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Business Communication
- and lot more.
These normally last for Four weeks and you will be teach by professionals from industry. You will not get any kind of stipend but will receive Certificate of participation.
KP YEP also did training seminars on: “Learn Freelancing – How to earn from Freelancing” which were four weeks program and program was specially design for those who have some skills but they don’t know how to earn from it. So KP YEP organized training seminars in different districts where hundreds of students and professionals were trained.
Currently IT Park is situated in Hayat Abad Industrial State, previously it was situated in Deans Trade Center First Floor Sadar, Peshawar and it is by KP ITBoard. Approximately there are 37 Software Companies register with KP ITBoard and have offices in IT Park. Office of the ITBoard was shifted from Deans Trade Center to Hayat Abad Industrial State and processes of shifting of Software Companies still in progress. (updated: 11 Jan 2017)
Hunting for Internships is easy if you are not provided internship or you want to do private internship for some days, if government didn’t offer you internship. Here is how you can secure your private one.
- Master any field/programming language/tool.
- Create professional CV / Resume.
- Visit IT Part and drop your CVs to all companies which you think suitable to work with.
- They will call, appear for interview and start you internship.
I would personally suggest to meet with Managers/HRs/CEOs in person and discuss your skills with them, tell them you want internship and you eager to work with them.
Normally you need some reference here. So you are lucky if you have “Tror Zaman or Mama Zaman” :p somewhere who know someone in IT Park.
Upon securing your internship in most cases you won’t get any stipend but will work for company on real projects, and at the end they will give you experience certificate.
Update: ITBoard has shifted to it’s new location: 134, Industrial Estate, Hayatabad، Peshawar As well they are planning to relocate all Software Companies of IT Park which were previously in Deans Trade Center will be relocated soon. (15 Dec 2017)
2.2.2 Arfa Technology Park
Arfa Technology Park is situated in Lahore, and it work same as IT Park.
If you think you did your internship well, and you got expertise in you field, and now you need real life adventure. I suggest you to create profiles on:
LinkedIn will summarize your professional life. Rozee and Mustaqbil are Pakistani platform so you may receive call from some company or you need to apply to them manually if you find your desire job.
Indeed, AngelList and Dice are international job portals it may happen you are hired by international company who knows. Youthop is diverse and you will find lot of stuff related to you.
3. You should know these:
Durshal Government Innovation Lab provides co-working space where anyone can sit freely and work on project without being disturbed. AC/Heater, Chair, Table, Light, Water and Free internet is available for you. If you are working with team you can work with them or even do your weekly or monthly meeting with them.
3.2 SDG Hackathons
Different hackathons are arranged by different organizations so try participate in them, or make sure you attend. In Hackathons we often learnt what we didn’t for our whole life. Check these:
3.4 Invest to Innovate ( i2i )
3.5 Startup and Entrepreneurship
These are the terms which you will hear when you going to make yourself a company. Startup is a called when your company is starting from the ground up level. Entrepreneurs are the people who create business.
3.6 Digital Youth Summit (DYS)
Digital Youth Summit (DYS) is happening every year since 2015, and is organize by KP ITBoard, and sponsored by World Bank. There are everything included in this Digital summit including talks, competitions, startups, creative ideas, stalls, seminars etc. Entrance fee is PKR 1,000 for professional and PKR 500 for normal attendees. Breakfast and Food is covered.
3.7 Startup Weekend Peshawar
Startup Weekend Peshawar is mainly for those who have some ideas in their mind. Or for startups where entrepreneurs and other pitch their ideas and the best idea get high prize. It happened in Peshawar Base Camp last year. You should not miss it. These summits help broaden your level of thinking.
3.8 Incubation Center (Incubators)
Incubators and accelerator programs are providing office space, mentorship, networking opportunities, and access to investors. In return, some of them are taking a small chunk of equity.
Some of them are:
National Incubation Center | Microsoft Innovation Center | Social Innovation Lab | The Founder Institute | Telenor Velocity | Revolt | Plan9 | The Nest I/O | Invest2Innovate | LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship | PlanX | Serendipity | The Incubator | Technology Incubation Center, NUST | Arpatech Hatchery | CED IBA
You need to build up these habits. You should read following on daily bases and try to learn something new from it. Make yourself synchronized with latest technologies. Keep yourself informed what’s new happening in the world. Here are list for you.
- MITechnology Review Pakistan
- Monthly Computing
- Idea Caroro Ka
- Tech Juice
- Pro Pakistani
- Technology Times Pakistan
- Pak Wired
- IT Dunya
- IT Taleem
- Reading Research Articles
Download Research papers and read it according to your interest. Later you can write your own research article which indeed helps in Jobs.
I would really suggest doing this step. Go to Quora.com and create yourself account. Then follow your desire technologies or you interest in. And enable email notification. Quora.com will send you top questions or answer to them by which reading in five minutes you can make yourself aware of the world what are the new trends and what’s going on.
Believe me I learnt a lot from Quora Digest, and I am really Thankful to them. 🙂
5. What should be called a Good CV?
Well there are lot of guides on internet, you can read it, but I will be talking about your perspective. Your CV should look professional and remember these points:
- It doesn’t have Grammatical mistakes
- Design should be simple
- Do not include your CNIC or Father name etc.
- Modify/Edit your CV for every single opportunity.
You need to enlist you Educational Career, mention your skills & projects, Your CV must convey clearly in which field you have expertise in.
Later when you are done with Internship/s mention that. Try to attend as many seminars, conferences, meetups and trainings and mention them as well.
Go to Udacity, Coursera and edX and attend courses and if it’s possible get certificate of it. Mention these courses in you CV. A good candidate is one who has hands on experience with practical field as well as theoretical knowledge. Every HR will prefer you if you have done courses related to your field.
6. Masters (MS)?
I know some guys who peruse their MS (higher studies) right after their graduation, personally I don’t recommend that. If you ever interested in doing MS, first do internship, get exposure to industry and when you built up your good CV as I mentioned above, Every university will prefer you because you are having practical experience as well. MS works well only if you have some practical background you will enjoy doing MS then. Also if came out successfully you will be having industry experience and you can easily find job, but if you are learning programming language/tool after your MS I think it will became hard for you as age fade. Also in international universities they mind educational gap, but they love if you were busy doing internship or job etc.
If you are interested in pursuing MS, I will write some other time. As it will goes beyond this article.
7. Last Word
Did you learn something from above article? If yes, I want you to please guide your juniors or colleagues. Help them choosing their field and let them rock.