A weekend school for future computer programmers

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Meet Mosharraf Hossain (the software engineer with over two decades of experience) who teaches students on weekends to make computer programming popular at the mass level. The school is driven by Hossain’s passion and belief that future careers will depend on coding

August 26, 2022, 12:40 p.m.

Last modification: August 26, 2022, 12:56 p.m.

Mosharaf Hossain believes that programming is a crucial skill that students must develop to cope with the fourth industrial revolution. Photo: Noor-A-Alam

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Mosharaf Hossain believes that programming is a crucial skill that students must develop to cope with the fourth industrial revolution. Photo: Noor-A-Alam

In an average-sized apartment in Mohammadpur, Dhaka, a middle-aged man was giving instructions to students in a computer lab set up on a conference table.

“So far, what have we done? Count the total number of a specific alphabet and its percentage in a string [of Python programme]. Now we will apply a formula and calculate some variables instead of mentioning the number to solve different problems,” Mosharraf Hossain, the instructor, told his students.

Students learned to identify repeating alphabets, count specific words, percentage of words, and measure the length of a string-ordered sequence of characters in a computer program.

Breaking the taboo that only science students can learn computer programming, the assistants, all from non-scientific academic backgrounds, followed instructions like attentive followers.

Software engineer Mosharraf, who teaches computer programming or coding and robotics at his private institution called Community Computing School (CCS), believes that any student with a basic knowledge of math can grasp his lessons.

Photo: Noor-A-Alam/TBS

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Photo: Noor-A-Alam/TBS

Photo: Noor-A-Alam/TBS

He does not give tutorials with technical jargon. Given a simple problem like counting the total number of days between 2004 and 2010, learners first identify whether there was a leap year or not. Then they sum up the days.

“By solving very simple problems like this, they learn three basic lessons of computer programming: sequence, selection, and iteration, even before I teach them to code. If they understand all three stages, they can develop computer programs or work in robotics,” Mosharraf said. aware of his teaching method.

With a software engineering career spanning over two decades, Mosharraf launched CCS in December 2019 with the intention of making computer programming popular at the mass level.

Initially, he tried to set up a computer lab in a conventional school. He did not receive a positive response. Finally, he built the current laboratory of the Mohammadia Housing Society, Mohammadpur.

A solutions architect at Tiger IT Bangladesh, Mosharraf doesn’t make a living from computer programming tutoring. It’s his passion.

Mosharraf did not have a degree in computer science. He was self-taught. From some open sources, he learned computer programming and started his career in 2000 as a junior software developer at Genesys Software in Dhaka.

Prior to Tiger IT, he worked at Grameen Solutions as Engineering Manager, Project Manager of Uniqa and Head of Software Department at Aplong Tech.

He is so keen to pursue his passion that he has not given up despite the closure of his private school, almost for two years, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Every Saturday, Mosharraf’s weekly day off, he teaches computer programming to students ranging from ninth grade through graduate school.

There are a few educational institutions, especially English-based ones, that teach computer programming as an extracurricular activity. As he wants to spread higher education among the mass students, he mainly chooses his students from Bengali middle schools and colleges.

Photo: Noor-A-Alam/TBS

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Photo: Noor-A-Alam/TBS

Photo: Noor-A-Alam/TBS

“There is a worldwide network called Code.org which offers many computer programming tutorials. But how many students in conventional schools in Bengali can access or grasp the lessons? That’s why I organized this private school,” Mosharraf said.

He believes that programming is a crucial skill that students must develop to cope with the fourth industrial revolution.

He hopes that one day, physical labor-intensive employment sectors will be transformed into artificial intelligence-based sectors. It will be more competitive and future job candidates, now students, must now prepare accordingly.

“In addition, this skill allows a person to solve problems and develop their strength of self-learning. Coding can help develop their brain to solve mathematics. Whatever a student studies, coding d “A computer program is an important supplement,” Mosharraf said.

Coding is a primary method for communicating with computers. It is to use a language to give a computer instructions allowing it to perform specific functions.

For children and adults, learning to code has many benefits, including promoting logical thinking, creativity, building perseverance, troubleshooting resilience, and communication skills.

A management graduate, Lovely Hoque was learning Python (a computer programming language) at CCS.

What is your future career goal? Lovely replied, “If you read the forecast, you can see the IT-based job market. Tech companies are attracting investment.

“I prefer to work from home with a nice salary. Computer programming skills will help me develop different software or allow me to work in my favorite fields,” expressed his hope.

Lovely started visiting CCS a month and a half ago. Before that, YouTube documentaries and peer-to-peer discussions got her interested in computer programming.

Inspired by Lovely, Nirjona – a Bengali language student at Eden College Dhaka – also enrolled in CCS.

“I haven’t defined my future goal yet. Still, I’m learning and the problem-solving procedures seem very interesting to me. I guess I’ll explore new ideas one day,” Nirjona said.

Mosharraf considers Python the best language for beginners to learn to code. By working with Python, learners can develop cross-platform applications suitable for Windows, Lynx, Mac, Android, and ISO.

“Mastered in Python, students can develop the IoT [Internet of Things] projects. Additionally, they can explore AI-based machine learning and robotics,” Mosharraf said.

At CCS, he introduces his students to equipment such as passive infrared (PIR) motion sensors, touch sensors, water sensors, ultrasonic sensors, micro bit (small single board computer) and others. which are used in robotics.

In a hands-on learning process, it teaches students how to create different types of robots that are programmed to sound alarms when plants in the garden need water or display traffic lights and more.

What does a student need to learn these things? “Nothing but a simple computer. Python is an open source programming language. You just have to download it,” Mosharraf replied, adding that most simple robotics equipment is available on the market from Dhaka.

He teaches coding, app development, and robotics in a three-month course. Students have to pay Tk 2,500 per month.

He does not collect the course fees for three months at a time. “Because a student may lose interest. Therefore, I keep the payment system flexible,” the tutor said.

The visionary software developer, like others, well knows that Bangladesh has human resources but there are few professionals in the IT sector. That is why it provides students with basic knowledge of computer programming so that they can further develop their skills while doing internships in the available software companies.

It demands that the government integrate computer programming into primary schools.

“Future career will depend on coding. Robots will take the burden of laborious works. Only intelligence will dominate in competitive fields,” Mosharraf concluded.

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