Pakistan has a ~70% dropout rate which is the highest in the world according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). While there are many reasons contributing to this cause, one of the major reasons is the lack of career counselling. The problem with the education system is that there are annually over 250,000 students lacking career guidance in the country. This brings out a dire need for access to information, counseling and mentorship during career decisions. Choosing a professional career is one of the crucial decisions a person takes in his/her life but unfortunately majority of the individuals take this very important decision without proper consultation and knowledge regarding the field they are opting for. Being the victim of this lack of guidance ourselves inspired us to come up with a solution for this problem.
What it does
knctU is an online step towards saving careers of the youth by bridging communication gap between students of different levels in the country. The problem with the education industry in the country is that most students during their transition to university do not have access to professional counselling nor are they aware of the facilities, opportunities or various different career paths they are eligible for. In their desperate attempt to find answers they end up searching and asking on various different applications and websites. As of now, no service in Pakistan is dedicated to answering these specific queries and hence, information is distributed among various different sites and applications. To solve these issues prevailing in the society, knctU provides a platform targeted specifically for career Q/A which keeps information organized, promotes further questioning and provides opportunities for mentorship and career counselling.
How we built it
knctU is built using Flutter, Google's open source UI framework at its frontend. At its core, it utilizes the power of REST APIs built with Django Rest Framework to communicate with the Postgres database. The servers are made a scalable solution using the container technology of Docker & Docker Swarm. The hosting platform is DigitalOcean, an IAAS provider which helps millions of developers to easily build, manage and scale their web applications. Most importantly, we built it with love and passion :).
Challenges we ran into
The most significant challenge we faced was the manifestation of a vague idea into concrete functional and non-functional requirements. We conducted a survey reaching out several institutions and took interviews among the college and university students to help us validate our user requirements and expectations. With requirements in hand, the design part was a science in its own. Fortunately, our team's pre-existent expertise in the required technology stack ensured a somewhat smooth sail.
What we learned
"Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships."
What's next for knctU
There is still a lot to do, and we have big plans for it. We intend to play our small part in trying to eliminate lack of career counselling. Starting with polishing the app, soft launching the application and timing our public release when a surplus of users are to be expected, we will be working on gathering a pool of mentors and volunteer university students who would be happy to guide fellow students in their plight. Moreover, we aim to provide a way for mentors i.e., university students to be linked with respective mentees i.e., college students based on mutual interests to enable one-to-one guidance.