God! I hate sleep. Sleep must be from from Satan. I look at my rolex and the time is right. It is 2011 in Kenya. 1981 in Uganda and 2013 in the US. Yes, biatch! We are catching up in a year or 2.
Who in their right mind would want to sleep, while there is so much to do. So much to code. So much to learn everyday. So much to invent. So many solutions to create for human problems. So many peers to impress with your coding prowess. So many haters to prove wrong. So many doubters to show off to with your new Kompressor. Fully paid for. In Cash.
In some disciplines like Medicine, Law, Agriculture or Martial Arts, you will always be at a disadvantage if you were studying in Africa. The best doctors, lawyers etc rarely come from Africa. Lazima uende majuu ndio ukuwe mnoma. This is because these disciplines depend on structures, infrastructure, the people and finances to get the best equipment etc. One more than the other.
The same sad and colonial thinking and bench-marking used to be applied to IT until 2010. But as we get bigger and more wise, all this goes out of the window. A Kenyan Techie/Coder has THE SAME platform to leverage their knowledge like the best coders from US/K and China and Russia. This is the beauty of the Internet. Such is the beauty of being a techie. Java ni Java. MB ni MB.
Chep, A friend of a close friend of mine, just went back to the US a few weeks ago. It took her 11 days to get connected to the Internet. It takes Zuku 35 Minutes to hook up a new subscriber to SuperFast home Internet. It takes Safaricom 56 seconds to get you on Mobile Internet. Like Marie asks, “Who is in the 3rd World now?”.
An Internet connection that used to cost KSHS 56, 200 2 years ago, and was only available for Corporates now costs KSHS 2, 000 per month and is available in my bedroom. True 4mBps Internet.
We have no excuse not to be as good as if not better than our coding counter-parts out there. Even in Mars. In the US, they develop products to serve a need for people with full stomachs. In Africa, we have REAL needs that can be solved using technology. Life or death systems. Hence we have more appeal. More opportunities to express and impress. It is no wonder tech-events gets flooded by all these people from US and Europe coming to ‘listen to’ our ideas. We have the BEST ideas.
And so the challengeth cometh in:
Kenya right now is in exactly the same position South Africa was in 2002. Mobile data and Internet matured then, in SA. Finally, we have it all. Samsung bringing in phones that make the Ideos look like a Probox. Internet connections in Kenya Faster and Better than Even South Africa. What more would you ask for?
As a tech community, we have all we have ever wanted now. It is time we rose up to the challenge.
This is the model that I am sharing with anyone who cares to ask me what the next step should be:
- Understand the Key Concepts of Programming. Understand Software Design. Don’t learn any language yet.
- Decide to learn a real mature CORE language. [Java, C++, Python or Erlang].
- Decide on a space. Mobile Apps? Web Apps? Desktop (cringe!!)
- Understand the language to the bone. Not just to finish a project. In fact don’t have a project in mind. Just Know the language.
- Understand Optimization, Concurrency, Data Structures.
- Then now pick a project.
- Identify like-minded people and delegate tasks.
- Make a difference.
Let us make sure the NEXT BIG THING comes from Kenya. Apart from Mpesa and Ushahidi, there is really nothing KENYAN to talk about. Infact, there are some claims that Mpesa is Voda and Ushahidi is Harvard. So the ball is in our court.
Back to code…