Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Contributing to Open Source - SFD 2010

Today I presented "Contributing to Open Source" as a part of Software Freedom Day @ Alexandria University 2010 held at Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The audience was great and helped in making the presentation better than I anticipated.

This is the presentation I hope it would be useful to those that missed the event.


It was cool to be presenting at the BA for the first time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Research Opportunities in Egypt

Lately I have been exploring the research communities and opportunities in Egypt, specially Computer Science oriented research groups. I was amazed by the number of opportunities that are available now specially for a fresh graduate like myself.

I'll try to list some of the opportunities I have came across and that I consider tempting.

1. Cairo Microsoft Innovation Center (CMIC) :
One of the best research centers and it collaborates with a lot of the institutions that follows. There you'll get the chance to work with cutting edge technologies developing projects that will directly help the Arabic community.

2. Government Funded Research Projects:
Development funds like ITIDA, NTRA and STDF are providing support for research projects and IT projects on all level. It's quite interesting to be working on an independent research project that totally matches your interests with absolutely no restrictions and get payed.

3. E-JUST & Nile University:
Working on a research project at either of these universities will offer you the chance of working in an environment like no other. It tries to match the graduate studies experience in the US. Although there are some restrictions that you don't find in independent research project, you get to finish your master's degree at one of these institutions and get payed a better salary.

4. R&D Startups:
Recently R&D startups started to appear in Egypt. They offer a pretty intense experience offering the challenges and excitement  that you'll find at any research project while focusing on specific targets, deadlines and specifications. Of course the salary is better than universities and independent research projects, but publications are not guaranteed.

5. Mubarak City for Science and Technology:
This one is pretty new to me. I have just learned about the options there. Some of them seems promising but the environment is awfully similar to those of public universities. Although the salary is a little bit higher than a typical Teaching Assistant position at any public university you'll end up getting you master's degree from a public university. There are specific tracks which doesn't provide a lot of flexibility but some of them are quite interesting.

6. Bibliotheca Alexandrina:
The BA has A LOT going on with different teams working on many interesting projects. They have a super computer (the only I know of in Egypt). Also their books digitization system is recognized as one of the best systems in the world. The salary is quite good but it's not easy either to get in or get out.

7. Masters Degree in Public Universities:
This is the last sanctuary to fresh graduates seeking research opportunities. The problem with this option is that any work requires commitment and this track doesn't include a payroll so you end up working at software house either part or full time. This degrades your efficiency greatly regarding time available to do the needed work or even studying the master's courses.

All the above statements are totally subjective and based on my own opinion and the opinions of anonymous people that had experience at each of those institutions.