In my first post, I promised to share my thoughts which includes lessons learned from the things I do. This post is one of such.
Last week, the Nigeria Association of Computer Science Students (NACOSS) South East held their annual conference with the central theme Developing International Acceptable Software (DEVINTAS 2014) under the leadership of Anene John who is the zonal coordinator and Nnanna Orji (LOC Chairman). I love these guys.
I was privileged to be a guest speaker, I spoke on Digital Shift: Perspective on Software Development. (I will try to publish that paper on this blog anytime).
Below are some of the things I learnt
Students are asking for more technical knowledge than the religious theory
Walking down the road to look for a decent place to have dinner, a young man from Alvan Ikoku college of Education came complaining
“You people made me join the hackathon and now I have missed the Mobile Development Class I paid for”.
Hey young man, you registered for the conference, and the elective “School of Mobile Applications” is just one of the featured events, I responded. Truth is, so far as he and his likes are concerned, the 4000 Naira registration fee wasn’t just for the conference paper presentations or for the fun of coming to Aba, he wanted to learn mobile apps development for 4000 Naira, simple and short.
I took more than 200 of the participants in the “School of Web Design” and guess what, they ditched the five o’clock Nigeria match to stay put for the class. So were the other elective schools of Graphics, Desktop apps and Hardware technology. More than 75% of the participants’ i.e over 850 of the 1150 participants showed up because of the crash courses the elective schools were offering. Truly the skill gap is growing wider and if nothing is done to it, studying Computer science in a Nigeria school, will just be a mirage.
For me and other folks, one of the biggest highlight of the conference was the different elective schools (Mobile, Web, Hardware, Desktop Apps and Graphics) and I felt fulfilled taking over 200 students through the basics and rudiments of wed designing. Except for time, we would have done a lot more but the little we did meant that more than 200 people designed their very first webpage. Thanks to technigeria.com.ng for supporting.
Girls are beginning to code but there is still work to be done
In my days as an undergraduate, we only had one female coder and she was good. Before then, it was wholesomely difficult to get ladies who program but #NACOSSDevintas2014 shocked me. When, we announced the 48 hours hackathon, the assembly was all guys. Before we could settle down with the team formation and ideation, three ladies walked up to me indicating their interest to join. We were all shocked! You mean, you want to stay here with us for 48 hours coding? I asked. Yes they replied. I quickly assigned them to a mentor and off they went. Your guess may not be as good as mine this time around because they stayed, they coded and they conquered. In 48 hours the ladies (Team ServiceDesk) built a web app that will help people search for artisans within a location. The quality of their app was great and had beautiful in-built functionality though they UI/UX were poor.
There was also mention Tonia who made sure that everyone listened to her idea “ FotoShare”. (She got a cash price for that).
The summary is that girls are coding but more work needs to be done to get more girls into coding. With their flare for fashion, they can build better products.
TENT is good, no argument and no sentiments. Embrace it or forget it
The first time I followed TENT was in February 2014 when it was held in Lagos. I watched the online live streaming via you tube. From that point I made up my mind to either make PIN bring TENT to the east or I clone it. Fortunately enough, I saw a tweet from Olamide E and Gbenga Sesan announcing TENT for south-east. I immediately contacted them to help make it work. The rest is history. TENT Workshop took place in Aba during #NACOSSDevintas2014.
The Friday session was great and my phone is still ringing with guys appreciating us for bringing TENT to them. Saturday was the best moment for the 50 students that had tech ideas.
What TENT did to the IT students in south-east was to create a ripple of hope and determination to become entrepreneurs before graduating. I couldn’t be more excited with the level of impact and lessons learnt. All thanks to Paradigm Initiative for making this work and to Olayinka Taiwo for his great work.
Ideas are becoming more localized than we think and Team work is gaining traction
The conference had a new idea and that was a 48 hour hackathon organised by TechNigeria. Sincerely, I was expecting the teams to come up with clone ideas like “Nigeria Facebook” etc but surprising, we saw more localized ideas and teams that wanted to solve real problems. Some of the teams are “How Today Go Be (Local weather data app), ServiceDesk (search for local artisans), SBR (Student Biometric Record app), DistressApp (Distress/Emergency Call app)”. We had a great moment coding for 48 hours. Incase you are so desperate to know the winners, then check this tweet
Finally, there is this underlining lesson I learnt but won’t like to mention “It is good to be good”. I had a nice time in Aba and I believe, the town will soon become a hub of innovation in the east and by extension Nigeria. This tweet summarizes everything