Discussion on the future of Software Development and Innovation in Kenya Held at Strathmore University
@iLabAfrica-Strathmore University and the IBM Corporate Services Corps Group held a stakeholders panel discussion on Software development and innovation in Kenya on the 22nd May 2014, at Strathmore University.
The panel discussion was the culmination of a two weeks training program by the IBM Corporate Services Group on Next Generation Application Development. It was an opportunity to examine the state of software development training in the country from both the academic and industry angles. Panelists were drawn from both fields and all addressed different issues in regard to what needs to be done to ensure Kenyan software developers keep up with the latest trends and are trained to become problem solvers and not language-specific programmers.
The IBM corporate services group, led by Ben Mann, the program director at IBM’s software division took the stage to explain the future of software development. They observed that application development is continuously changing and developers need to learn a new way of producing software in order to keep up with the demand and competition. In this new model software is developed much faster, deployed quickly and updated continuously to meet users’ needs. Cloud, mobile, big data, social and Internet of things are the new drivers of software development and the IBM team had spent close to two weeks teaching these skills to developers in Kenya.
The panel discussion was attended by a mix of students, software developers and other IT professionals who packed the Strathmore University auditorium to take part in the great discussion. The discussion was a sizzling and engaging session where various issues were raised in regard to challenges facing software developers and possible solutions. One of the challenges identified was that curriculum is hardly keeping up with the continuously changing industry needs. This was pointed out by one of the panelists, Dr. Joseph Sevilla, the director of @iLabAfrica, and the founder of the Faculty of IT in Strathmore University. Dr. Sevilla observed that this can be improved by involving industry experts in curriculum review and running co-curriculum activities that expose students to training in the latest technologies. Another Panelist, Veronicah Ogeto, head of innovation at Safaricom supported this saying that many graduates take a long time to adapt to industry standards, requiring longer training periods. One of the initiatives Safaricom is running to reduce the disparity is deploying environments where students can learn industry relevant skills while still in university. For example, Safaricom has deployed a telecommunications infrastructure to help students in JKUAT learn hands-on skills in GSM network operations. While the technical skills are very important, developers also need good communication skills, soft skills and ability to relate to people from different cultures. This was observed by another panelist, Rachel Reinitz-Distinguished Engineer and CTO of Software Services for Websphere, IBM Software Group. Conrad Akunga an experienced software developer and founder of Mzalendo challenged students to become problem solvers and not to confine themselves behind a particular programming language or platform. He observed that this was one of the major hurdles that software developers had to jump to have real impact in solving the many problems that Africa faces.
At the end of the discussion, the consensus was that the most important thing for students aspiring to become great software developers was to gain skills learn how to solve problems. Industry, academia and the students were also challenge to foster the right motivation to work for changing Africa.
Over the next one month, the following highly skilled IBM professionals will work at @iLabAfrica, Strathmore University. They will impart technical skills and run a two weeks-long intensive course in next generation applications. The course prepares developers for the revolution that is being driven by Cloud, Mobile, Web, Social and the Internet of Things. It follows a hands-on approach with access to the latest technologies and tools. Team Profile
Finance Education Coordinator in IBM International Services Center in Bratislava, Slovakia.
5 years working in IBM in Finance department, last 1.5 years focusing on soft & finance skills development.
Master degree in Economics focused on Tourism management.
Life Cycle Management Engineer for IBM’s Mainframe and Power Systems. 8 years of mentoring and tutoring experiences for students from primary and secondary schools. Masters of Business Administration. Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronic Engineering).
Software Architect supporting IBM’s Endpoint Manager product. 18 years software development experience with a focus on Middleware applications. I engage regularly with customers and co-ordinate the implementation of their requirements with the development teams. Bachelor degree in Electrical/Electronic Engineering from Trinity College Dublin.
@iBizAfrica, in collaboration with IBM, will run an intensive training course during the month of May on Next Generation Applications.
The next generation of applications must be delivered faster, enhanced easier and be more integrated, intelligent and secure. This course prepares developers for the revolution that is being driven by Cloud, Mobile, Web, Social and the Internet of Things. It follows a hands-on approach with access to the latest technologies and tools.
This training will cover:
- Why Cloud Platforms are changing the way developers build and deploy applications
- Developing the next generation of applications (Cloud, Mobile, Social, Internet of Things) easier and faster with Cloud Platforms
- Using IBM’s Cloud Platform – BlueMix – to develop, deploy and secure next generation applications
- Applying Big Data Analytics to next generation applications
- Taking your application ideas to successful innovations
Why enroll in this course?
To position yourself strategically to take advantage of the Mobile and Cloud revolution in the ICT industry and to differentiate yourself with tools and techniques that create more engaging, more integrated and intelligent applications.
What the benefits?
Participants will benefit from receiving intensive training in the very latest Mobile and Cloud application development technologies and techniques delivered by global experts. This training has a total estimated value of over KES 20,000.
On completion of the course, together with submission of a completed material, participants will receive a certificate jointly issued by IBM and Strathmore University Faculty of Information Technology. The submission includes developed applications uploaded to the IBM JazzHub code repository, and a written blog article and/or video presentation of their experience and of the applications they have developed.
Who should attend?
- ICT students that want to deepen their understanding of application development and the revolution that is driving change in the IT industry.
- Mobile and Web Application developers that keen to sharpen and update their skills on the latest application development technologies.
- Entrepreneurs who want to understand how next generation applications can help them deliver their vision faster and in a more integrated way to maximize the commercial viability of their endeavors.
Applicants will need to demonstrate previous hands-on experience in the following:
- Programming fundamentals
Once confirmed, attendees will need to register before attending the course for free access to IBM BlueMix at this page: https://ace.ng.bluemix.net
What is the duration of the Course?
10 days (2 weeks) from 12th to 23rd May 2014.
What are the Course Fees?
This course is sponsored by Strathmore University and IBM’s Corporate Service Corps program. The goal is to help develop skills to take application development in Kenya to the next level.
As a result of this sponsorship, the entire course of 10 days intensive training will cost KES. 20,000 for non-students and KES. 5,000 for students. This is a great bargain as the course would normally cost KES. 105,000 without the sponsorship!
Registration for this training is now closed!