Students learning together and from eachother about IT

Kaeun Lee           KyeongWan Kang

The GDG Korea Campus evolved from GDG SSU (GDG Soongsil University). GDG SSU started in 2012 as a GDG for students and by students.  KyeongWan Kang and Kaeun Lee were both GDG SSU organizers and felt that being part of the community has helped them to grow as engineers. They wanted to offer this opportunity to other university students in South Korea and that is how the idea of GDG Korea Campus came about in 2016. The community now includes 500 members (with an average of 60 meetup participants). Students are the biggest group, but the community also includes business developers and designers who sometimes become mentors.

What is your personal motivation for community involvement?

KyeongWan: I wanted to be a part of a developer community since high school. That is why I joined GDG SSU and after 2 years became an organizer.

Kaeun: I saw that being part of GDG SSU made a lot of sense in combination with my field of study and I joined right after I started university. I wanted to do include more students in the GDG activities, so creating a larger organization seemed like a good idea and that is how I became an organizer of GDG Korea Campus.

What do you think are the main benefits for members of a community like GDG?

KyeongWan: We both are usually wondering what other people are creating, what sources do they use to learn etc. Also, we see meetups as an opportunity to meet students from other programs.
It gives us a chance to share their knowledge and as a result the whole group benefits and grows.  You can easily access a wide variety of topics that you might have not know about.

What do you think you are best at as organizers?

KyeongWan: I think I am generally good at getting things done.

Kaeun: I am a good DJ .) I am in charge of music for our meetups.

What achievement(s) are you most proud of?

KyeongWan: Making this community a real thing and that not only students but also professionals are a part of it. Also that we were able to figure out a way how to communicate effectively as organizers. We use Slack for that and there are app 50 people chatting regularly.  We are really proud that we had 400 attendees for our Devcamp in 2016 and about 170 developers and designers at the Dev Challenge 2017.

What were some biggest learning moments for you (maybe challenges you had to overcome)?

KyeongWan: I'm learning from everything we do because it's still kind of a startup period in our chapter.

What kind of challenges do you currently face as a community?

Kaeun: We noticed that study groups that do not involve organizers tend to be less active over time. We suspect, that it is due to the fact that sometimes it is difficult to break away from the classical model of students listening to a lecture rather them learning from each other. To some extent it is natural. If you are used to the classical way of learning, you might think there is no other way. But we still hope to change that to be more interactive.

It is also challenging to determine the theme or level of a meetup because the interests and skills of people attending are so diverse.

What are you looking forward to in the near future?

KyeongWan: I hope that more and more GDG Korea Campus members will attend and benefit from events organized by Google and targeted at students such as Google Admob or GSOC and CodeJam. I hope that more students will join our community and grow together as IT professionals.