Monday, February 25, 2013

Guest Blog: Connecting the Dots with CloudSpokes by Soe

Guest Blogger: Soe
I love hearing stories about how CloudSpokes is making a huge difference in Higher Education across the globe. Luckily, I got to know soe and his story through exchanging some emails back and forth and I was able to convince him to write a guest blog for us, highlighting his story. If you are unfamiliar with soe, take a glance at his profile, and look for his name on the forums and challenge threads, as he is always actively participating in the community. And if you are going up against him on a challenge, be prepared to bring your A game! Without further ado, here is soe's guest blog.

Connecting the Dots with CloudSpokes

This post is a testament to Romin's earlier post, as I am currently studying at a university. Going to college these days is an expensive venture. Luckily I got a full tuition scholarship and with winnings from CloudSpokes I can take care of my expenses in the very expensive Sweden.

My Journey With CloudSpokes:

I started cluelessly one year ago with a challenge on Google Apps migration. It looked scary as CloudSpokes challenges require proper test coverage, documentation and a screencast. Frankly, I had only written a few websites at that point, and never really written any tests for my code. Doing a screencast was not my cup of tea either. I had to record it, with pre-written transcript, at least 20 times to get the screencast which I eventually submitted. And with first-timer luck, I won the challenge.

Looking back at my journey with CloudSpokes over the last year, I am extremely satisfied that I embarked on this journey. The challenges bring out my potential not only on the coding front but also have helped in my planning and presentation skills. After numerous challenges, and luckily some wins, I can now naturally do a screencast, on the very first attempt even without a transcript.

The CAP Theorem:

The CAP Theorem, also known as Brewer's theorem is usually used in describing databases. I have a similar philosophy framework to guide me in my general decision processes. As I am still in my twenties, I need be learning as much as I can to amass knowledge; going for Master's degree and doing an internship. Naturally there needs to be compromise, and essentially with knowledge as the most important, I have to compromise with my monetary wealth.
Well... as the no-sql movement is trying to challenge the governance of CAP theorem, I too am challenging the validity of my own framework and comprimise by being a CloudSpoker. Now I do not need to resort to typical student jobs where pay is mediocre and learning opportunity is scarce. CloudSpokes offers me opportunities to learn new important skills while earning competitive prizes, allowing me to achieve appropriate levels Knowledge, Happiness and Wealth.
I Am Not Studying Computer Science:

You might be assuming that I am studying computer science for being competitive in CloudSpokes. Well, I am not. I am doing my Master's in Sustainable Development covering social and environmental issues. So if you have CS background, you might have some advantages in CloudSpokes but if you do not have CS background, do not hesitate to give CloudSpokes a try.

In fact, experiences gained from CloudSpokes help me with my studies in social science. Many concepts of cloud development could be creatively applied in social and environmental projects. This semester I am taking courses such as System Analysis and the technical knowledge I have accumulated through CloudSpokes has greatly assisted in my learning. The future obviously is a merger of diverse disciplines to tackle the world's urgent challenges, with creative solutions.

Connecting The Dots:

This is not the phrase I came up with. It is the phrase popularized by Steve Jobs in his commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. I have a few dreams such as running a social enterprise in rural areas and starting an innovative technology firm in Silicon Valley. While I don't yet know how these will happen, as long as I keep learning and challenging myself, the dots will connect someday! CloudSpokes is the perfect medium for me to connect those dots, all while earning a little on the side.

If you too are a student reading this, get started with CloudSpokes right now! If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.


  1. Wonderful post Soe. Very inspiring. Keep going.

    I have had a chance to work with Soe on the JDRF project and have to say his knowledge & skills combined with his humility makes him a great person to work with.

  2. Love this Soe! I worked with Soe on the first project he did with Cloudspokes and he didn't seem at all "clueless" (his words above). I am stoked with the idea that you don't have to be a CS major to join and compete in Cloudspokes, Soe proves this to a "T". Keep watching for more Google Apps Contests and submit again!!!!