SAP Vancouver Coding Workshop & Office Tour

Talveen Gadhri, BC Ambassador 

On July 8th, I had the honour of attending a coding workshop hosted by SAP, a multinational corporation that is proud to make leading enterprise software. Thanks to Vivek, the chair of Science Expo BC and an intern at SAP Vancouver, as well as the Science Expo team, the “Intro to Web Apps” workshop was made available for all the BC ambassadors. The “Intro to Web Apps” workshop was truly AMAZING and an AWESOME learning experience. As an avid programmer, I was able to leave the workshop with not one, but a number of new skills, as well as new knowledge.

What did we (the ambassadors) do at the workshop? To start off, the staff and volunteers were extremely helpful and kind throughout the entire workshop. The day started off with a basic and brief overview of HTML coding, including the main tags present in a HTML document, presented by a SAP volunteer. Next up, we were all introduced to databases, and learned to use SQL (completely new to me) to talk to the database. This was my favourite part because I learned something new that I could take from the workshop with me!

Using the acronym “CRUD” (Create, Update, Read, and Delete), all of the ambassadors inserted their first name, last name, age, and favourite colour into their own database, to have it stored for later (Create). Once that was done, we were instructed to add other ambassadors into our databases as well (Update). Once we had around 5 people in each of our own databases, we were able to use SQL to read our data (Read). In other words, we were able to search up the number of people who are younger than 16 or like the colour red, or have the last name out of the ones that we had in our database. We then learned how to remove people from our databases (Delete)

We were later introduced to data visualization and the star of the show, Lumira, SAP’s own data visualization software! After the tour of Lumira’s features and ability of creating astounding data visualization graphs and maps, the volunteers at SAP took the BC ambassadors team for a truly exclusive tour of SAP’s Vancouver office. We started off by entering the lobby and moved our way into the basement. We were introduced to a large number (no way I could count them all) servers situated in their own secured cabinets. One of our tour guides told us that each box/server was worth $250 000. $250 000 for one box! With all these servers, there are wires going here and there. The wires had been strategically bound up and placed along other bundles across the ceiling and walls which kept the place much more organized and neat. Our tour guides told us that there was also air-conditioning in the basement to prevent the servers from becoming overheated.

After the basement portion of our tour, we got to know a bit about the facilities available to employees at the office. For one, they had a “bike room”, where employees could safely lock up their bikes that they came to work on, or even rent a bike during the time they were on their break for a quick ride down the street. SAP Vancouver also had a mini gym in their office, where employees could take a break to break a sweat. In addition, SAP Vancouver also has a garden team! When employees aren’t behind a computer screen or drinking coffee, they might just be in the garden. They grow everything from herbs to potatoes. When it’s harvest time, all the employees have the privilege of taking home their dream tomato, carrot, radish, or some other vegetable!

We were moved into the cubicles of the office. The walls on the floor had writable and erasable walls! We were also told that the floors were given a theme, which is part of the renovation of the office. The top most floor is known as the “sky” (made up of names of trees and leaves), the second/middle floor is the “sea” or “ocean” (made up of names of sea creatures), and the bottom floor is the “land”. Therefore, the whole building was organized by names like “otter” and names of leaves which correspond to the rooms on a floor. For example, “otter” is a name that would be on a door on the second floor. That concluded our tour, which I found to be the most exciting part of the workshop. The tour allowed the ambassadors and me to see the office through the eyes of a new employee. If I worked at SAP, I would definitely love all the amenities available, as well as the friendly atmosphere of the magnificent office!
All in all, sadly, the time wrapped up our tour and workshop. But on the bright side (hey, I’m a positive person), I surely had a great time, and I’m more than a gazillion percent sure that all the other BC ambassadors had an awesome time as well. After this workshop, I can’t wait for the next workshops which I’m sure will be just as impressive and enjoyable, if not more, as SAP Vancouver’s “Intro to Web Apps” workshop!

SAP Presents: Coding Workshop for BC High School Students

Flora Feng, BC Ambassador

SAP, a multinational software company, hosted an introductory coding workshop. Eighteen high school students were invited to learn the basics of coding at SAP Canada’s Vancouver office. As a stranger to computer coding and web apps, the workshop provided me with a chance to have a first glance of web page design and database. Since I’ve never had an opportunity before to learn about web app or database, it was a valuable experience to get an introduction and to learn the basics about the area.

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The workshop started with a session about web page creation. We learned the basic HTML tags through the process of creating our first web page. Following the step by step tutorial by the instructor, we were able to create headings and paragraphs, and insert links, tables and lists. In the second part of the workshop focusing on database, we learned to create, read, update and delete a database. We also had a chance to look at the company’s data visualisation software, Lumira, and learned about its functions and main customers of the product.

The last part of the workshop, the tour aroundthe office and the data center, was a highlight, giving me an idea of what the work environment is like for software developers in SAP. The afternoon in SAP was a worthy experience and I definitely gained some insights about future career options. I do hope to get more opportunities to attend more workshops like this and I recommend everyone to participate in them!

An Afternoon at Architech

On July 17, our SE Ontario ambassadors were invited to an exclusive Lunch-and-Learn session at Architech’s office in downtown Toronto. Here is what Shaharzad Wali, a Grade 12 student and Science Expo Ontario ambassador, had to say about her experience. 

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On July 17th, at roughly 11:30 am, I made the one hour trip to Architech in Toronto under an overcast sky. Architech is a digital experiences studio that specializes in software ideation and development. Foteini Agrafioti, Architech’s Chief Innovation Officer and a Science Expo mentor, had invited 10 SE Ambassadors to a Lunch-and-Learn – that is, an informative afternoon listening to and talking with the team, plus free food!

Among the group were developers, engineers, scientists, and a whole slew of bright ideas. Once we’d entered the office and gratefully gathered our lunch (the classic Mexican), we pooled into a meeting room, sat ourselves on chairs around a long table, and listened to some mini presentations. Foteini went first, describing her life in Greece before moving to Canada as a student at UofT, her deep, passionate interest in computer engineering and biometrics, and the invention for which she was named Inventor of the Year 2012 by UofT, the Nymi wristband (a biometric device that identifies individuals using all but their heartbeat – as a devoted biology student, I found the fact that we all have different heartbeats fascinating). What particularly caught me was the process behind the invention of the Nymi. It was with great persistence that this invention came to be. Despite having spoken with her before, I find genuine stories of dedication never grow old, especially when those stories tell of such success.

Next came some pending projects of Architech’s: a software that pinpoints where you’re looking on a given screen by tracking your face, eye, and iris movements; a face recognition software that scans your visage, determines your gender/age/ethnicity based on certain characteristics and shows you an ad tailored to your demographic; and finally, a sneak peek at Architech’s Face of Toronto project, which will debut at Nuit Blanche Toronto in October (check it out!). Some of us were able to experience the iris tracking and face recognition software firsthand; as per their WIP status, the results were both amazing and entertaining.

We then visited the team’s lab. The room was littered with computers, wires, and gadgets. To be honest, I’d be surprised if it weren’t messy (beneath the chaos is a work of art, as the saying goes). Here, anyone who hadn’t tried out the projects above could do so (without being under the watchful gaze of the entire group). I particularly appreciated the chance to sit down with the team members to discuss their work one-on-one.

One of the important things I learned was that it’s worth battling logic if you have an idea worth spreading. It’s important to know how to be practical, but it’s just as important to know a golden chance when you see one. You’d be surprised how many successes are prefaced with faith, in both yourself and your creative mind. As Emerson once said, trust thyself.

All in all, great way to spend the afternoon. I’d gladly visit again.


Comments from our other attendees: 

“I like how there were so many employees that took out their time to just do a presentation for us. The ending was my favourite part where we had the opportunity to go into the lab and got some hands on experience. The introduction idea was also neat, I thought it was fascinating to hear about everyone’s background and where they had completed their education”

“Until now, I have never had the opportunity to experience to visit a company that specializes in technology and engineering. In fact, those are the two STEM subjects that I have the least experience and knowledge in. It was an absolute joy to learn and experiment with the products Architect had created. (That was my most favorite part!) This session has opened my mind and eyes and caused me to see the greater possibility in the world. In addition, the staff were friendly and everyone seemed to enjoy their work. This made me consider a career in the field of engineering or technology. Lastly, this experience gave me the chance to become friends with the other Science Expo Ambassadors. Overall, it was a wonderful experience!”

Meet the BC Ambassadors!

After reviewing all our ambassadors’ applications, we finally recruited 28 high school students from 21 different schools! These young but mighty individuals proved themselves through their applications and were chosen to obtain the crucial role of an ambassador. Their passion about the STEM world brought them to be a part of our team, and we would like to congratulate every one of them who applied.

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Now a part of Science Expo, the ambassadors met each other for the first time at our On-Boarding meeting. They got to know each other a bit better and we could feel their excitement for the upcoming year.  

Stay tuned for more on the ambassadors!