By Antonio Cangiano,
I’m in San Francisco, but I didn’t bring any flowers for my hair. 🙂 Chiefly due to the lack of hair. What I brought with me however was a couple of suitcases and a great amount of enthusiasm. The suitcases are for my stay in the US until September; the enthusiasm goes out to the project that I’m on assignment for.
IBM has a high-profile internship program called LEADing to Africa, aimed at students who are interested in working and making a difference in the MEA region (Middle East and Africa).
The basic premise is that students will have an internship with IBM in, say, the US, then they’ll return to their studies until graduation. At that point, successful interns will be given ample opportunity to apply to obtain full time employment with IBM in the country of their interest in Africa. In most cases, this will be the student’s country of origin, but not every one of our applicants is from Africa.
After countless technical interviews that I conducted, and a great deal of paperwork, I’m happy to report that I’m on assignment as a Software Developer Mentor for 20 brilliant students from universities such as Cornell, Berkeley, Harvard, etc. The students hail from all over the country and, originally, from all over Africa. Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, but also a few from India, China, and solely from the US.
I’m part of the IBM Analytics Emerging Technologies team, so our focus for the students is on cutting edge technology, particularly with regards to Big Data Analytics (with Apache Spark) and Data Science. When it comes to Spark, aside from my mentorship, it doesn’t hurt that we are sitting in the IBM Spark Technology Center at 425 Market St in San Francisco.
After a solid week of training we divided the students into five small teams, each working on one project that has both a data analytics component and a social good one (in most cases, specific to Africa) as well.
I’m beyond excited to work for something so meaningful and to have the opportunity to interact with so many young talented people from all sorts of backgrounds.
Stay tuned for more posts on the project and my adventures in America.