Sharing my learnings....

Category: Journal

Uki — A life-changing determinant

The youth need to be enabled to become job generators from job seekers — A.P.J.Abdul Kalam

Uki is a Tamil word that means a Catalyst for the youth of Jaffna & Sri Lanka. It provides 6 months scholarship-based coding accelerator program for students who don’t get access to the state university or any other vocational education.

Information Technology is one of the fastest booming & most significant fields in Sri Lanka. Uki is a gateway for students who are fond of IT & technology.

Preparing the local youth by elevating their talents & skills to get an industrial internship experience in the Tech Companies around Sri Lanka is the root concept of creation behind Uki.

The youth is the hope of our future — Jose Rizal

As a student of Uki 2 Cohort, I have a responsibility to share my experience with society to engage more youth like me to get empowered/boosted & to be an IT professional or an entrepreneur in the future.

Web development plays a major role in IT jobs. In that way, Uki has a curriculum of giving a full-scholarship-based coding accelerator 6 months program for full-stack web development.

Full-stack web development means both Front-end & back-end development.

What is front-end development?

Front-end is what we observe in the browser. The page that is visible to a website user. To design it 3 languages are used.

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript

In addition to these; there are some frameworks that help to design the front end like

  • React JS — a front-end framework of JavaScript
  • Sass — a preprocessor scripting language that compiled into CSS

were taught in Uki

What is the back end?

The back end indirectly supports the front end to make the website platform dynamic; that means we can make requests and get responses from a server and get/store data in the database.

In that way; the following languages were taught in Uki

  • Node JS, Express — a framework of Node JS
  • Mongo DB as a Database

Above the back-end, languages are the latest & fast growing technologies in web development.

As new technologies are taught here, students can get more opportunities in the IT industry.

Is coding is the only activity we did in Uki…???

No.

We have 2 clubs in Uki to bolster our future professional life.

They are

  1. Uki Fitness Club
  2. Uki Gavel Club

In the Fitness club, we practiced doing exercise, yoga & meditation.

Full-time coding may become an anxiety for programmers. To refresh our minds, to breathe new air in the morning & to keep us awake for the whole day fitness club helped us a lot.

Gavel club helped us a lot to strengthen our English communication & conversation skills & diminished our stage fear. Having Gavel club which is a youth version of Toastmasters developed the prepared & impromptu speech-delivering capabilities a lot.

We did projects such as:

English Inside: Every Monday & Thursday every student should speak English. If they do not obey they will have a punishment speech in Uki. At first time it looked so weird, but later on, it became easy just like speaking Tamil in our day-to-day life.

Another one provided by Gavel Club is Tech Talk. Tech Talk is a kind of session that would be done by a student per week on what technology s/he is special. He/She has to take a session by explaining through a presentation about any technology s/he knows. Through tech talk, we got to learn information about new technologies & practiced searching and preparing for our tech talk every week.

There is a huge opportunity for the students who graduate from Uki; because Uki teaches the students not to memorize or study in a conventional method.

It teaches a simple way of

Search & learn.!!

In addition to self-learning, we have practiced using some professional way of communication & programming tools such as Slack, Trello & Github. These are the latest tools which are used by popular tech companies around the world.

To get hands-on experience in the technologies we studied in Uki;

we did many in-class exercises, 3 Assignments with VIVA &

4 fun works such as

  1. Getting the API key from the Sound cloud website & creating an online music website with our own creativity
  2. Using CRUD operation — a note-taking app to create a note/edit that note or to delete that note
  3. Tic Tac Toe Game using React JS framework
  4. Authentication site with login & sign up facilities using React JS

We maintained a blog to write what we have studied until now in Uki. The habit of maintaining a blog on what we have studied helped a lot to revise the subjects we studied & our writing skills.

here is my blog: http://parathanuki2.blogspot.com/

The instructors helped & cared for us to achieve the state that we are now.

We were introduced to online code-learning sites such as

From the above-mentioned site, we started to taste the programming fruit.

Having workshops on tech-related topics from people who are well-recognized in that field is a good opportunity for us to get deep exposure to that field.

The Main Workshop we participated in during Uki Cohort 2 are

  • Agile — Scrum — Project Management
  • Ionic / Angular JS — Android Development
  • Product Management
  • Project Management
  • IoT Workshop

We got huge knowledge of Scrum methodologies to pre-plan & implement on our final project.

The IOT workshop was a fabulous experience to learn how the new world is. All the things in this world could be connected to the internet. For example, if the fridge door isn’t locked well… a security alert could be sent to the house member’s mobile.

As a growing IT enthusiast in the technology world, this kind of workshop helps a lot to improve ourselves to emphasize our interest in programming & to learn new technologies.

Meeting MBA students from Stanford University gave us a new dimension. We shared our final project ideas & had an excellent conversation with a joyful presentation style and got many ideas to enhance the idea more vividly.

To enrich the student’s English knowledge; students are enrolled in an English course at British Council Jaffna for about 3 months.

Through the British Council, we become familiar with presentation & email writing skills for professional life. A lot of exercises to improve grammar & speaking skills were enriched through this course.

Normally in the British Council; Jaffna people will step backward to study as the cost is high. But Uki offered it in a scholarship; funded by the people who care to help to develop Jaffna & Sri Lanka.

The important key to becoming an IT professional is having a developed personality.

To get such qualities Uki gave us a personal coaching session on

  • Basic Finance
  • Business model and Business model innovation
  • Legal and Professional ethics
  • Sales, Marketing, and promotion

to mold ourselves for the future professional life in the Software industry.

In personal coaching, we learned to behave professionally in the work environment by doing activities like debates, role plays, learning to construct our CV & maintaining our LinkedIn profile.

I can say Uki turned my life to a different path.

Every Uki student is grateful to the well-wishers & the people who initiated & supported. Especially Yarl IT Hub, The instructors — Vithushan, and Dharshi, Personal coaching — Mathangie & ITEE Foundation.

My 2023 and 2024 Planning

hmm, 2023 overall was a good year for me. There were a lot of days I missed my diet food and to do exercises frequently. To come against this barrier, I enrolled to a Gym in Wellawatta, Colombo near my boarding place. I feel a block in my active lifestyle during my days in Colombo for the office days. Whenever I am back in Jaffna, I loose hopes in doing exercises and maintain healthy and active lifestyle. What I am planning in 2024 is to go for gym during the days in Colombo and do home workouts when I am in Jaffna (As Simple as that).

But still, there is a question on how I am going to be consistent on this? Will have a hashtag something like #MyHealth2024 & #MyGoal2024 and post in Twitter (X).

There are lot of pending things which I was planning for a long day and expecting it to make it as a Goal to be finished in 2024.

  1. This year, I purchased Namaste React course from Akshay Shainy. I took it a serious course and finished till testing the application. But later, due to lack of motivation I left it from there. Will have to focus on building projects on top of it and complete the course fully. – The Goal for #MyGoal2024
  2. Purchased a life-time course access to codedamn, a good looking and decent course setup from the people who created it. May be will have a frequent look from it.
  3. Planning to do some Python + Django project based learning for next year. The Goal for #MyGoal2024
  4. AWS Certified Developer Associate Exam. Already this year, took the exam but got 629 which is near to get passed (720). Will try a new shot and get the certification #MyGoal2024
  5. Need to learn more deeper on Golang. Finishing up the Usemy Golang course #MyGoal2024
  6. Get a good understanding about React Native and get release an app #MyGoal2024

How was 2023?

  • Learnt a lot of work related dos and don’ts
  • Got iPhone 15 Pro and Ai pods Pro 2 this year as an installment from the monthly salary. Thanks to JavaScript and React eco-system. It’s not possible without you guys…
  • I think I have a lot of procrastination things on my mind. Working on lot of things paralelly and stressing out myself. I should think which one should I prioritize and give more importance to my loved one(s). I will be more strict on this from next year onwards.
  • Have to plan up my work annual leaves and be organized from next year onwards. Take care of health alot..

Let’s see how it goes…