In early August, 23 students from 20 universities had the opportunity to attend the fourth annual Google European Android Camp in London. Students who arrived from 14 different countries were invited to a jam-packed week of Android learning and development, career panels, tech talks, social activities as well as a 24-hour Hackathon. The goal of the event, held in the Google office, was to give students a chance to learn, practice and have fun while developing applications for the Android operating system with the support of Google engineers. The theme for the week was Create the Good in Your Community, with the winning team designing an app ‘Red Paw’ to help notify animal shelters about strays and ensure they are re-homed.

We asked the winning team to tell us about their experience at Android Camp - congratulations once again!
Left to right: Carolina Sartorius, Lund University, MSc in Computer Science and Engineering
Maria Priisalu/ Lund University, MSc in Computer Science
Damask Talary-Brown, University of Bath, BSc in Computer Science
Lavinia Mariana Damian, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, BSc in Computer Science
Marija Čivović, University of Belgrade, BSc in Computer hardware and Informatics.

What was the highlight of Android Camp for you?
Lavinia: For me, the highlight of Android camp was the Hackathon and especially our final presentation when every team got to showcase their app. It was inspiring to see the progress everyone made in 1 week and all of those ideas coming to life in just 24 hours of coding.
Marija: When you had such an amazing week, it's not fair to have to choose the best part of it. But let's say Scavenger Hunt - an amazing sightseeing adventure with the girls from my team that I met the night before.
Carolina: The highlight of the Camp was to meet the other campers. It was very inspiring to meet so many talented, enthusiastic and driven people.
Damask: For me, the last few hours of the hackathon were the highlight because they were the culmination of all the learning and designing we’d been doing throughout the week. There was definitely an overwhelming sense of pride and mutual respect (and exhaustion!) amongst us as the 24 hours drew to a close, and it was a fantastic feeling.

Do you think Android Camp helped you build or develop any skills?
Maria: Although I had some previous knowledge in Android programming, Camp taught me a lot of specific details about Android that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
Damask: I didn’t have any experience with the Android SDK before Camp, so it really was a crash course in that respect. The sheer amount of content we managed to fit in was crazy; from networking and database integration to interface design.
Carolina: Aside from developing my Android skills, I also developed skills such as pitching, gaining confidence and be able to collaborate with different people.
Lavinia: Of course!, I knew nothing about Android programming before attending this camp so I'm still amazed at how I managed together with my team to finish an app from scratch. I think the whole context of the camp helped me with the way I focus and organize my time. I improved both my attention span and my team working skills.

What was your favorite session?
Lavinia: I enjoyed the material design class the most and I found it to be really interesting. Of the other activities, the "Engineer Panel" was my favorite. I loved how the participants were so willing to share their experiences at Google with us and give us so much advice advice as our seniors in the industry. It was really inspiring!
Damask: I loved the UX session, because the use case and persona design we did helped us design meaningful interactions between our app and its typical users. The personas we created also ended up playing a starring role in our final presentation, which humanised the problem we were trying to solve and gave us the opportunity to have some fun with it.
Marija: My favorite session was the Firebase: Server Session. We had so much fun with trying to build  a chat app. I also got to learn a lot about data storage.
Carolina: My favorite session was the Google Card Game night ‘Launch and Iterate.’ It was a fun challenge to get four people with strong will to collaborate and try to win.

How do you think Android Camp will help you further your academic career?
Maria: It has given me more confidence in my technical problem solving skills and programming.
Damask: Android Camp has cemented my interest in UX and Interaction Design, which will almost certainly impact my dissertation and final year choices.
Marija: I hope I can take a Mobile programming class, specifically because the Camp gave me an excellent base of knowledge that will help me excel.
Carolina: Android Camp gave me a self-confidence boost. The ability to believe in yourself is a important factor in academic success.

What are your next steps?
Damask: I’m on a year in industry right now, so my plan is to hopefully secure an internship doing something cool for next summer before I head back to university to start my final year. In my free time, I definitely have a few app ideas I can start working on!
Marija: I'm introducing the app we made to people, So far,I’ve received good feedback :). Camp definitely gave me a new perspective.
Carolina: My next steps are to finish my degree and decide what I want to do for a living.
Lavinia:  For now, I have 1 year left of my Master studies and after that I'm planning to apply for a University Graduate position at Google. Also, I'm thinking of working more on our app from Android Camp. I would love to see the Red Paw app released one day and be used by millions of people.
Maria: I will finish my Master of Computer Science and Engineering at Lund.

Read more student testimonials in our ‘ Android Camp Diary’ G+ series. For more information on opportunities at Google, please visit Google Students. For more updates, please stay tuned on the Google Students Blog.

Google is once again searching for Ireland’s coders and computer scientists of tomorrow, with the return of the Call to Code competition. Call to Code ( is one way we’re aiming to help get younger generations interested in Computer Science. We want to inspire Irish teenagers to experience the power of code and to develop the skills needed for future careers in the tech industry, as well as many other diverse fields such as music, crime scene investigation, fashion, farming, government, design, medicine or film, to name a few.
Who can take part?
The competition is open to all post-primary students in Ireland, aged 13-18. Students will participate in weekly practice challenges to learn the basics of coding and develop computational thinking skills. They’ll then have the opportunity to compete in an online contest, which includes logic puzzles and programming tasks suited for all levels, but qualifying will more than likely require some programming skill so get practising early!

How does it work?
The first phase of Call to Code is entirely online, and if you are an eligible student, we want you to participate! Once you have signed up through a teacher or individually, you will be able to look through resources to learn the basics of coding, sharpen your logical thinking skills, and get ready to compete in Round 1 of the competition on 25th November. With teacher support, you can develop your computer science skills during class, you can get a group together to create lunchtime Call to Code clubs, or you can practice on your own at home--anything goes! Then, on 25th November, participants will login anytime during the 24 hour period to solve logic puzzles and coding challenges set by Google engineers. On 9th December, 20 finalists from each cycle will take part in a nail-biting code-off at Google’s Dublin HQ for the chance to win some great prizes.  

How do I sign up?
Teachers are asked to get involved, register their school and sign their students up to participate. Teachers play a vital role in computer science education, and Call to Code is designed to support them in their efforts to inspire and educate our next generation of technologists.

Teachers can register a school and sign students up at before 12:00pm on 23rd November. Students then access the resources, from beginner to advanced level, provided on the Call to Code website to practice and develop their coding skills. These resources can also be used by teachers looking to introduce their students to code.

We’re looking forward to seeing more teenagers in Ireland embrace the power of coding and equip themselves with the knowledge and skills to pursue exciting and diverse careers.

- Posted by Erin Mindell Cannon, Education Program Manager

A single image cannot capture women in computing. Rather, it's a mosaic of different images coming together that can capture the power of our community. This year at the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing, we created a collaborative photo installation in celebration of women in tech everywhere.

Technology has the potential to change lives, and together we can create more ways for everyone to participate.

If you’re at #GHC15, add your portrait to the installation on Level 3 at the Skybridge. For those who aren’t here in Houston, check out #facesintech and be sure to join in.

We recognize that our tweet yesterday may have come across as out of touch. We've had Googlers at GHC for the past 11 years—and in fact, more than 1,000 Googlers are attending the 2015 event. Our goal is to celebrate women in computing and technology. We had hoped to add to the dialogue this week by shining a spotlight on the community of people making the tech industry a more inclusive place for women. However good our intentions may have been, we got this one wrong.

Please don't let our mistake take attention away from the work being done by incredible women in technology like Googlers Rachel, Roshni, Daniela and Michal.

Leading up to GHC, we’ve heard from Googlers about what they’re most looking forward to celebrating while in Houston. Today at #GHC15, two Googlers are being celebrated for their dedication to building the next generation of female computer scientists.
Meet Daniela and Michal: Daniela and Michal were the first two female software engineers at Google’s research and development center in Tel Aviv, Israel. Together, in addition to their primary work as software engineers, they’re answering the question, “How can we inspire more young women to enter computer science and help bridge the gender gap?” Daniela leads a team of engineers in Tel Aviv working on software powering the Google network. Michal recently relocated to Mountain View, California where she leads a team of engineers working on Android Play. Today they’re being recognized with this year’s Social Impact ABIE Award.

Daniela and Michal, congratulations on your award! Can you tell us more about how Mind the Gap started?

Michal: Neither one of us had knowledge of what computer science was before taking a programming course after high school. We both realized how impactful early exposure could have been for us and we wanted to help female students get an early start. The perception of CS needs to change in order for these future computer scientists to even be interested in the first place.

Daniela: We started our work with Mind the Gap as a 20% project here at Google (ie. something we worked on outside of our day-to-day responsibilities). Thanks to the support of global Googlers, who continue to impress us with their passion and commitment to diversity, we have been able to scale this year-over-year by reaching out to more students.

At its core, your program exposes young women to mentors. Who have your role models been in your technical careers?

Daniela & Michal: Over the years we were exposed to world-famous leaders in the industry such as Susan Wojcicki, Jen Fitzpatrick, Megan Smith, Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer, who became role models to nearly every woman in tech. In addition, we have been lucky to meet strong female engineers at Google who have become personal friends, mentors and inspirations.

Mind the Gap started in 2008 and has grown exponentially in seven years. Seven years from now, what do you want this program to be known for?

Daniela & Michal: We’re proud that Mind the Gap has reached over 10,000 girls across Israel, Japan, Poland, Brazil and North America. And we are constantly scaling our program to maximize our impact. The addition of student ambassadors has allowed us to reach even more girls in our efforts. The student ambassador model also gives girls the opportunity to practice critical leadership skills with their peers. While we are thrilled that 40% of our annual conference’s participants have chosen to pursue CS classes in high school, we hope to increase the reach of the program ten-fold in the next seven years.

We’re looking forward to celebrating you when you receive your award here at GHC this evening. What has been a highlight of the GHC celebration for you this year?

Daniela: I have never been surrounded by so many technical women. Being around the 13,000 attendees at GHC this year is absolutely one of the most incredible experiences.

Michal: Seeing so many people, both men and women, who understand the importance of diversity and want to do something about it. This is now a global issue, it’s not a “women’s problem” anymore; diversity is key for getting the next generation of technology talent.

If you’re here in Houston, join us today, Thursday, Oct 15 at 5:30pm CT in Halls D-E Level 1 to see Daniela and Michal accept their award.

We’re excited to share the story of another Googler who represents one of the many faces in tech and is attending #GHC15 today. Yossi is the third Googler in our series of GHC attendees who are passionate about supporting women in tech, and in his role as a senior leader, we hope this spotlight encourages other men to be supportive and participate in these conversations. Be sure to also check out our two other Googlers: Rachel and Roshni.

Meet Yossi. Yossi is a VP of Engineering and Head of the Israel Engineering Center here at Google. He’s been a Googler for nine years and is currently working to answer the question, “How can we drive innovation and continue to evolve Search to help people in their everyday lives?” He lives in Tel Aviv with his wife Shavit; they have a daughter, Lian, and two sons, Or and Michael -- all who are entrepreneurs in their own fields. This is his second time attending the Grace Hopper Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC).
Yossi, this will be your second time attending GHC -- why is celebrating women in tech so important to you?

One of our biggest misses as an industry is not having equal representation of women (and other underrepresented groups for this matter) in tech. Having more women in tech is not only the right thing to do from a social perspective, but it is also critical from a technological and business perspective. Their inclusion will lead to greater social development and greater innovation.

What about GHC 2015 are you most looking forward to?

The opportunity to learn more about issues impacting women in technology, to have conversations with many others who care, and to celebrate women in tech with thousands of engineers and industry leaders.

How do you celebrate women in tech in your daily work?  

Encouraging women in tech has always been important to me and my team and we have a number of Googlers working on these initiatives. Mind the Gap, a program initiated by Daniela and Michal on my team, and which I’m personally involved with, encourages high school girls to select computer science and math in their high school studies. It is now impacting thousands of girls worldwide and is actually being recognized at GHC this year. Another program we’re working on is Campus for Moms, a baby-friendly startup school for moms (and dads). This program was created within Campus Tel Aviv, by Tal from Google and an Israeli entrepreneur, Hilla Ovil-Brenner, and is now reaching men and women globally. And I’m also inspired by the amazing talent we are seeing through the Google Anita Borg Scholarship Program, of which I’m honored to be one of the executive sponsors. I’m excited about the impact these programs are having on women in tech and on the tech industry in general.

What is your favorite part about working at Google?

The opportunity to make positive impact at scale, and working with amazing people who share the same passion.

If you’re attending GHC, come visit our Googlers @ Booth 221! And even if you’re not, join in the celebration of women in tech by following us @lifeatgoogle. #GoogleGHC15

#GHC15 is almost here! We’re continuing to celebrate women and the many faces in tech with another Googler story.

Meet Roshni. Roshni is a software engineer working on the Google Identity Platform. At our Google headquarters in Mountain View, she’s currently working with her team to answer the question, “How can Google help developers build easy sign-in experiences so that users can reduce the number of passwords on the internet and access their data securely across devices?” She leads an orientation class for new Googlers -- or “Nooglers” as we prefer to call them -- and still finds the time to help grow community gardens. This will be her fourth time attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC).

Roshni, what’s been your favorite part about attending GHC in the past?

I love to inspire and to be inspired as I continue to grow in my career in computer science. Each year GHC has enabled me to develop and try something new.

When I first attended GHC as a graduating student, I was taught to negotiate my starting offers. Then I learned what it’s like from the other side, where I had the opportunity to speak with smart young women who were exploring starting a career in computer science. I was able to assure them they were not only good enough to be software engineers, but that Google was actually looking for people like them to help build technology that would have meaningful impact on a lot of people. It was in that moment, talking to other women about why they belonged in the industry and at Google, that really made me feel more like I belonged too.

The following year I was on a Systers community panel for the newly created Indian Women in Computing community where I learned how I could help to build communities. And this year I’ll be talking about my work at a panel and a workshop, which allows me to help bring more women to the field of Identity.

GHC has given me the confidence I need to volunteer my time to engage more women in tech across three different levels: the middle/high schoolers who aren’t here yet, the undergraduates who may be deciding if they want to be here, and the industry folks who should stay.

What are you most looking forward to at GHC this year?

Shameless plug... my first workshop! On a more serious note, I’m very excited to listen to Megan Smith again. She’s a very inspirational speaker!

For those attending GHC for the first time, do you have any advice to share?

Wear comfy shoes! And, more seriously, don’t be overwhelmed by everything that’s happening in parallel. Everything will be interesting, but choose the session that’s right for you in your current role.

What about for those who might be considering a career in computer science at Google? Can you share what it is you like most about being a Googler?

The awesome people I get to work with and learn from every day! And the fact that Google provides me with so many ways to give back. For someone whose first GHC experience was sponsored by Google, I’m always grateful for all the opportunities to give back -- from candidate coaching, to organizing Systers meetups at Google, and beyond.

If you’re interested in checking out Roshni’s workshop, join us on Friday, 10/16 @ 2:30pm in the General Assembly, Theatre B Level 3. You can also find her on a panel on Thursday, 10/15 @ 10:30am in the General Assembly Theatre C Level 3.

Be sure to stop by Booth 221 to meet even more Googlers. Hope to see you there!  #GoogleGHC15