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“Education first”-Malala Yousufzai

13 Jul

image

This post is inspired by the visionary speech of the daughter of Pakistan, Malala Yousufzai, a women’s rights activist and promoter of world-wide education. Who thought that such an innocent looking young girl could be so brave and confident? Her recent speech at the UN assembly has made me really proud of her. Her every word shouted optimism and confidence to me. Her passion for world peace, equality and provision of free education to every child is beyond impressive. At such a young age, girls are normally more focused on themselves. They enjoy a carefree life with friends and family. But Malala’s life has been very different and difficult. Hailing from Swat valley, a not-so-developed yet beautiful part of Pakistan, she fell victim to the terrorists who have forcefully occupied this part of the country and are working for their own personal benefits in the name of Islam. They are indeed portraying a very negative image of Islam and the Muslims. Just as children demand for toys, Malala had only one wish; to acquire education. Not just for herself but also for her friends and for every child present on this planet. She rightly said in her speech that terrorists are scared of little girls with books because they do not understand the importance of education. They fear that if young people start acquiring education they’ll no longer fall prey to their self-created religious ideas and extremism and would stand up for their rights. Just like what Malala did. So they tried to silence her but they failed miserably because Malala is right and Allah (God) protects those who follow the right path. There are some people who have doubts about Malala’s story and her struggle. They think her every move is fabricated. I don’t know how right or wrong they are. I personally do not know Malala and have never met her or talked to her to know the real story. I have got an insight to her journey through media just like everyone else. No matter what others say about Malala I just believe in her passion for education. I do believe that pen is mightier than the sword and that education is the only way to eradicate ignorance and intolerance and to make this world a better place to live. Education before all!

Tell us something about yourself

3 Jul

interview

This is one trick question I’m sure most of us must have faced during some interview. You wonder that since you’ve introduced yourself as you entered the office and the interviewer already has your CV so what exactly are they asking you to tell about? Well, trust me, the interviewer is neither curious about your marital status (at least not so soon) nor interested in the number of siblings you have or whether you are the oldest or the youngest. This question is more like an icebreaker where the interviewer wants you to get comfortable for the rest of the questions. So what is the perfect answer? I’ve been through a number of interviews and I’d like to share my strategy in answering such questions. I begin with a few sentences about myself using adjectives apt for the position such as quick learner, dedicated, capable of working under pressure etc and gradually change the direction towards my strengths. This way, even before I finish answering the first question, I already know that the second question would be about my weaknesses. Hence, you can shoot two birds with a single shot. This is a tried and tested plan that has always worked successfully at least for me. During an interview just make sure you are calm and confident and carefully try to shift the focus of the interviewer towards your pet points. This way you can control the direction of your interview and predict future questions without letting the interviewer know. Most importantly, please do not lie during an interview. The interviewer is sitting on that chair for some reason and he cannot be fooled so easily. I hope this post will help you in preparing for your interview. If you have any better answer to this question please don’t forget to share it with me. Best of luck! 🙂

16 free fall Stanford classes that will help you build your business

10 Sep

 16 free fall Stanford classes that will help you build your business

Anyone building a business, listen up: Stanford is offering 16 free, online courses for anyone looking to pick up a few extra skills. The courses include some technology and entrepreneurship-based subjects that could help you get that edge you need.

Stanford University is the institution for entrepreneurship. In its history, the university spit out notable alumni such as Vint Cerf, now vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, William Hewlett and David Packard of HP, and a number of recognizable technology enthusiasts.

It encourages students to start businesses, and offers courses to that end. Now it’s offering 16 free courses with focuses in business, entrepreneurship, technology, and science. But you don’t have to be a full-time student at Stanford to take advantage. The university says, “the courses are open to anyone with a computer, anywhere.”

For nine of these courses, Stanford is using Coursera, which partners with universities across the country to organize and launch free courses. It thus far has 16 participating universities, in addition to $16 million in its first round of funding. “Writing in the Sciences” and “Human-Computer Interaction” are two of Stanford’s courses being hosted by the startup.

There are a number of courses that could come in handy for someone trying to start a business in the Valley. Here’s a list of what’s coming up this fall:

  1. Machine Learning with Professor Andrew Ng, starting August 20
  2. Cryptography with Professor Dan Boneh, starting August 27
  3. Introduction to Mathematical Thinking with Professor Keith Devlin, starting September 17
  4. Probabilistic Graphical Models with Professor Daphne Koller, starting September 24
  5. Human-Computer Interaction with Professor Scott Klemmer, starting September 24
  6. Introduction to Logic with Professor Michael Genesereth, starting September 24
  7. Organizational Analysis with Professor Dan McFarland, starting September 24
  8. Writing in the Sciences with Professor Kristin Sainani, starting September 24
  9. Algorithms: Design and Analysis, Part 2 with Professor Tim Roughgarden starting in October
  10. Technology Entrepreneurship with Professor Chuck Eesley, starting in the fall
  11. A Crash Course on Creativity with Professor Tina Seelig, starting in the fall
  12. Designing a New Learning Environment with Professor Paul Kim, starting in the fall
  13. Finance with Professor Kay Giesecke, starting in the fall
  14. Startup Boards: Advanced Entrepreneurship with Professor Clint Korver, starting in the fall
  15. Solar Cells, Fuel Cells and Batteries with Professor Bruce Clemens, starting October 8
  16. An Introduction to Computer Networks with Professors Nick McKeown and Philip Levis, starting October 8

Stanford image via brianc/Flickr

 

Source: http://venturebeat.com/2012/09/09/stanford-free-fall-courses/

Job Hunting : Tips and Tricks

18 Jun

 “Choose a job you love,

and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
– Confucius –

Wikipedia defines job hunting as the act of looking for employment, due to unemployment or discontent with a current position. The immediate goal of job hunting is usually to obtain a job interview with an employer which may lead to getting hired. The job hunter typically first looks for job vacancies or employment opportunities. Common methods of job hunting are:

  •  finding a job through a friend or an extended business network or personal network
  • looking on a company’s web site for open jobs, typically in its
  • applicant tracking system
  • looking through the classifieds in newspapers
  • using a private or public employment agency or recruiter
  • using a job search engine
  •  going to a job fair

Job hunting is an art and there are certain tips and tricks to master this art.. Let us have a look at some of these tips.

Before starting your job search, you need to create a perfect CV, remember that CV is your first impression to any organization. So always emphasize on your strong points and hide your weaknesses. First of all, decide which sector interests you the most.. In today’s internet based world, right job is just a click away! All you have to do is just visit any company’s website then go to its careers section and easily submit your CV. Secondly; you must keep an eye on the jobs appearing in newspapers and apply via email or through post. Many companies hire their employees by conducting test or interview through universities. Always stay in touch with your university’s Directorate of Industrial Liaison. You may also keep in touch with your seniors who are currently on job and stay updated about their organization’s hiring process and test/interviews. For interview or test calls you must regularly check your mail and always keep your cell phone with you.

For the preparation of your job interview, don’t forget to:

  • Properly put all your educational documents along with your CV in a neat envelop
  • Go through all the projects, skills, abilities and other information that you have mentioned on your CV
  • Visit company profile on its website
  • Iron your cloths and polish your shoe (It’s probably one of the most overused phrases in job-hunting, but also one of the most underutilized by job-seekers: dress for success!)

Sending the right message during your job interview is extremely important for your success. Using both non-verbal and verbal communication skills is essential for you to get the job. About 50 to 60% of the message sent by you in an interview is non-verbal. Focus on your body language. You must confidently answer the interviewer and remember: Never lie during your interview! You need to effectively communicate your professionalism both verbally and nonverbally. Be familiar with the job for which you’re being interviewed. Read the advertisement or job description to identify which personal attributes and behaviors are likely to be key success factors for the role.

“Our talents are the gift that God gives us. What we make of our talents is our gift back to God”

-Leo Buscaglia-

Before Graduation

  • Learn as much about your core technology as possible
  •  Try to implement the maximum amount of knowledge acquired
  • Make projects and have a strong hands-on experience before you graduate. This will help a lot in acquiring job and making a mark.
  • Share your knowledge with your class mates, batch mates and teachers. Sharing increases knowledge so never think about hiding it!
  • Use the tools and equipment available in the university to the maximum extent
  • Try to publish quality research papers, at-least one based on your Final Year Project
  • Indulge more in practical work than just reading course books.
  • Apply for internship in a company that is surely going to teach you something (in Pakistan there are quite a few, so its better to work on some project rather than wasting time or if you have enough time, try doing some project in parallel).

After Graduation

Mostly people have a perception that a fresh graduate’s first job, even at a scale of 10,000 PKR, is good. Those who think this are unwise. Once a faculty member at NEDUET, Mr. Safwan Shah, said in a seminar that: “If you’re expecting this much salary being an engineering graduate then you should better be a driver!”

“There is no future in any job. The future lies in the man who holds the job.”

-George Crane-

What Not to expect:

  • Don’t expect that you should get a job right away if your best friend did.
  • Don’t expect that you will get the highest paying job right away like one of your cousins or a guy in your neighborhood did. Some do, but most don’t.
  • Don’t expect that your money matters will smoothen once you get a job, they might, but usually they don’t.
  • Don’t expect that you will be treated differently from other employees, just because you are amongst the top 10 in your batch or because of any other pride that you may have, you may be treated differently, but usually you aren’t.

What to expect:

  •  Initial years always require hard work. You might want to put a year or two or three even to make your mark, to gain enough experience in an industry so that it starts paying you back.
  • The first few years, you need your company to get the training and experience, while you are replaceable. After that, the company needs you and the company can become replaceable for you.
  • Your colleagues and your managers won’t exclusively train you. Try to gain as much training from them as you can. Remember it’s your responsibility to learn, not theirs to teach you.
  •  Be strong on your principles, respect work ethics and always be in charge of yourself. If you do that, no one will be able to take advantage of you.

“Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual.”
-Homa Bahrami-

Hopefully, when you’ve finished reading this article, you won’t need to use any recruitment agency, since you’ll be fully prepared to go out and attack the job market on your own. Always remember that experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him. The voyage of discovery is not in looking for new landscapes, but in looking with new eyes. Trust me, you have those eyes. You just need to open them!

Best of Luck! 🙂

GRANTS FOR SINGLE MOTHERS TO CONTINUE EDUCATION

18 Jun

All mothers, in particular, single mothers dedicate their entire lives in feeding and educating their children. At times they even sacrifice their desires and comforts for their kids. Once a woman leaves education to get married and then raise her children, it becomes very difficult for her to go back and continue with what she had left a few years ago. Sometimes, even though she is ready to start the learning process again, her financial situation does not allow her to continue her education. Today various educational institutes allow such single mothers to get grants and fulfill their dreams. These grants help in reducing the burden from the shoulders of single mothers who are already worried about the education of their children. The most excellent thing about these grants is that they are free from any liability. Unlike most scholarships and loans, the recipient does not have to return the money. In fact, she does not need any exceptionally well educational background to get grant. All a single mother has to do is to apply for a grant and prove herself needy. Different grants offer different amount of money depending upon the educational expense of the recipient. However, if the single mother had a brilliant academic history, she may be awarded some extra funds. There are several grants that target any particular area of specialization.

A single mother can also get grants that are provided by the government to support her education. Every government allocates a small amount of finance for these grants and mostly the grants are classified on the basis of locality. The application procedure in conjunction with the quantity of the awards can also vary from one state to another. Information about these grants and the eligibility criteria can be obtained from the university help desk, library or even on the official website of the institution.