Innovating with Facebook Developer Circles and Facebook Online Hackathons
After serving as a Reserve Army Engineer Officer in Egypt for three years, Khaled Abouseada moved to New York City in 2016 to pursue his education at City University of New York’s Brooklyn College. Though he began as a textile engineering major, Khaled decided to pursue his interest in machine learning and switch his major to computer science.
In 2019, Khaled participated in his first Facebook Hackathon in New York City. “We learned about Spark AR, Messenger and other Facebook technologies, and received many helpful resources – this was the best education for me,” said Khaled, who went home and began digging through the samples and code to understand how they worked. “I learned a lot, and my friends were amazed by what I could build using the Facebook technologies.”
At the Hackathon, Khaled submitted a solution that combined a Messenger experience using ManyChat with a Spark AR-powered Instagram filter that promotes social awareness and activism for those affected by preventable craniofacial deformities – which placed among the top 8 projects. After participating, Khaled discovered the Facebook Developer Circles program, where he was able to learn more about the new technologies Facebook was developing.
Nurturing Skills with Developer Circles
After joining Facebook Developer Circles, Khaled was eager to gain more skills and experience with Facebook technologies.
With a firm commitment to transition from skill-builder to innovator, Khaled decided to lean into his keen interest in Messenger, and has focused on learning how to build real-world solutions using Messenger since joining Developer Circles. “I’ve learned a lot since I joined, and now I’m building something new and exciting almost every day,” he said.
These positive experiences made Khaled want to become more involved – to grow both his own practical knowledge, and foster a community of like-minded developers in New York City.
Coding through COVID-19
After experiencing first-hand the opportunities of being a member of his local Developer Circle, Khaled applied to become a co-lead of the community in New York City. Since then, he’s become one of the most active builders in the ecosystem.
“Since the pandemic started, I’ve used innovation as a way to end my lockdown depression,” Khaled said. He’s spent his time not only working on his own projects – including an experience for Messenger built with Facebook’s artificial intelligence technology, Wit.ai – but also helping his fellow community members by sharing resources and tips.
This experience led him to work on tutorials that will help both beginner and intermediate developers become more familiar with Facebook’s technologies, and he plans to submit these completed tutorials to the 2020 Developer Circles Community Challenge. “My friends and parents are so proud of how much I’ve learned and the applications I’ve built,” he said.
Building Projects for Social Impact
Through Developer Circles, Khaled found the community he needed and has used the skills he’s developed to submit projects both individually and as a team for all of Facebook’s Online Hackathons this year, including:
- A Messenger experience built with Node.js and sample code that spreads positive energy and helps people fight depression
- A map application built with Mapbox, MongoDB and Node Geocoder and integrated with Messenger to share information about COVID-19
- An experience for Messenger built with machine learning, Wit.ai, persistent menu, and quick replies that either translates the text found in an image into audio or scans the image, extracts the English text, and provides resources for more information
“Each of Facebook’s Online Hackathons has helped me advance, and I now feel a significant difference in terms of my experience and skills,” Khaled said.
Khaled’s dream is to change our world and to improve the future for everyone. He believes that to make this happen, we need to help each other by sharing our knowledge and experiences to inspire the community around us - and to commit to innovation.