How to deal with Kenyan Coders to avoid disappointment

Feb 22, 2012 6 Comments by

Ok. Yeah, I am that jamaa who starts a sentence with ‘OK’, all the time.

Na sijali.

Hata kama unafanya job Safaricom (Mabeste wangu sana nowadays by the way. I always get a mix of disappointment and anger everytime I meet someone and the idiot asks me ‘Bado unapigana na Safaricom, buda?’. I pity the fool. I was playing chess, and the half-brain nitwit analyzes my moves as Checkers moves. I won, and they still think we are playing. It is like talking about that weekend game on a Thursday. Move on.)

Ofcourse, Safaricom is still that hot gal mwenye amekuonyesha ka-thigh na akakupa peck. But anataka umpeleke Sankara hata kabla hujajua kama amenyoa ama ananyesha. But kama wewe ni strategist, unajua kuwa Rook si Bishop. Au sio? Heh! acha nisiendelee niambiwe nimetukanana.

Knowworamseng?

Ok. Enough foreplay. Kwani wewe ni model? Imbisil!

Coders. Real Coders. I am not talking about the copy-pasters. I am not talking about the AppEngine wannabes. I am not talking about the CodeGenerator babies. I am talking the Pedersens, the Mutiku Nziokis, the James Mwanikis, The SoyFactors, the ByteBandits, the Munius, the AfroWaves, the DavidSvarrers, The SoloKariris, the AntoWaRedCorneriHub. Seasoned. Real bred coders who can write an entire system on notepad. No Internet. No IDE.

Rare. Busy. Shabby. Easy-to-anger. Laden with the Don’t-care-about-these-fuckin-humans attitude. So, how do you milk these code machines? Kuna always the alternative of coming to iHub/iLab/NaiLab etc and hiring a bunch of Campus kids since unajiona u know people, ama digging further and looking for iTosh/Sam wakupe contacts za wazito.

Yesterday I was at a secret meeting, discussing secretive secrets. And that is all I will divulge. But the situation was clear. Companies are not attracting or/and retaining the best talents.

So, I thought. I have been chapaing coders all the time. How about we now look at what makes coders rebel. Change jobs. Not pick up calls. Stop giving a fcuk. And being the good fella that I always am, I will share a few Gems on how to keep the best talents and make them WANT to work for/with you. Always.

Full specs baba!

You want the project to start and end asap? Give the coder the FULL SPECS. Or get a good Specs Writer from iHub to do a ToR for you before engaging a developer. Nothing is as discouraging to a coder as a half-baked Idea that keeps changing every 3 days.

Keep them motivated/Challenged

I am yet to see a seasoned coder who will join a new setup to develop a payroll ama accounting ama cybercafe management system. Systems za mchezomchezo. Ask a coder to solve a TSP using a multi-core setup, to build a better queuing code-model for a client problem. To create a better threading model for the deamon-processes of your code. To create a Mpesa Clone (Server Side to simulate maximum load and degraded network conditions). Vitu kama hizo.

Si ku-convert PDF to Word. Si kuformat an Excel spreadsheet. Ku-change ribbon kwa printer. Jobs za wasichana wa campus. My cat can do that. Challenge them. It shows you respect them.

Deliver on promises

“Salim, zile modems na servers zinakuja monday!!”. So Salim rests over the weekend preparing for a day with the new virgin servers. Fantasizing venye ataivua casing aidare mpaka apate hard-di*k. Apime the Disk space, then aiingize USB na Ai-Format mpaka iwake. The Ai-mark as ‘Done’!  (Heheheh. Wee ni fala sana.)

So Monday comes and the server haijafika. “Sorry, the servers are not here but…..” *the coders don’t hear anything past here*. Umewaangusha. They will be diplomatic and say things like ‘it is ok.’ But umewaangusha. No work will get done that day. Yes, bitch, we are fragile like that. We do the heavy-lifting. And you can’t deliver on simple human tasks?

Mpe doo yake

I have always preached. I will always take 20k today, than 200k next week monday. Promises za watoto wa Nursery. Next week. next month. Mpaka saa ngapi?

Liko once told me that one thing you should never disappoint a developer on is his money. Mpe doo yake. Coders think about money only 10% of the time. The rest ni code. Na madem kiasi. So, hiyo 10%, malizana nayo. Msort story iishe arudi code.

One of the FEW reasons why master coders never deliver on systems and deadlines is delayed payments. They focus religiously on a project but once you disappoint them, they are forced to ‘look elsewhere’. And your project gets dropped. And there is NOTHING harder to go back to, than a dropped project.

I hear some retarded things like : “Amekataa kuja demo sababu ya ka-50k tu.”. I always respond with : “Mpe hiyo 50k uone magic worth 1M”.

Code si mkate

Value. I have talked about this over and over. Sitawa-bore na repitition. But code si mkate. Hata si keki.

Back to code.

Wazi.

Coding, Personal

About the author

Coder, hacker, inventor, pool guru.

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