For more than seven years working with young developers, we found their skills to be inadequate for the job market. Despite available quality and well-paid IT jobs from abroad, these young developers in the Silicon Mountain lack the skills to deliver quality software products on time.
To land better jobs in the IT industry is more of competence and professionalism; the ability to adhere to professional standards and use industry accepted tools and workflows. While being very good developers, coders or programmers, this is the body of knowledge we found missing in most of our young developers. Clearly, this is the knowledge gap between Academia and the fast-paced IT industry/sector.
It is against this backdrop that ActivSpaces entered into partnership with Leapfrog – a German based NGO – to organize a four-day intensive training on IT Entrepreneurship and Software Life Cycle Management for young developers within the Silicon Mountain. This team of IT Experts from Leapfrog in 4 days imparted in to our young developers the skills they have acquired working for large corporations in Germany and beyond.
The training which began on January 30th and ended on February 2nd, 2018 took place at ActivSpaces Buea (Top left floor, 1st Trust Building, Great Soppo) and commenced at 8am and close at 4pm daily.
Participants at the training have confessed the necessity of this training to them as developers. To Eugen Bleck, a developer and the founder of Njaka (a platform to teach teenagers how to code), the training was like an eye opener. “…I have seen the importance of some things like Trello that I used to neglect before coming to this training…” he added. No doubt Ngenge Senior, a participant explained he was ashamed of calling himself an Engineer before the training. He found out there were still so many things he needed to learn.
Participants gave much credit to the trainers, Dymtro Pishchukhin and Roland Fru Ndaka who are IT Experts from Leapfrog in Germany. For the four days participants spent at ActivSpaces, much difference was seen. Much knowledge was gained in the field of team work, time management, communication tools, programming software like Trello-a platform that enhances communication between a service provider and the customer.
Harisu Fonyui, a level 500 student in the University of Buea, Cameroon, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, currently on internship at Digital Renter (one of ActivSpaces’ startups), explained that before attending the workshop, he was more of a developer knowing just the basics of the profession. But, after the training he is confident of finishing a job with the services delivered as it will be in the industry. “…It is true that I was taught most of these things in school but I have never had the opportunity to implement them like I did during this training. Thank you very much ActivSpaces and Leapfrog for this opportunity and I pray that more of these training be organized…”, Harisu said.
Topics they covered included:
- SVN and/or GIT
- Atlassian JIRA
- Java Programming Language
- AWS/Google Cloud
- Maven Build Tool
- MySQL Database
- JSON and XML
- Virtualization with Docker
To take them through the IT Entrepreneurship drill, participants were asked on the first day to nominate business ideas that will be used to solve problems in the society. After several deliberations and votes, two projects were then voted with each assigned team members to work on them. All through the training, participants worked on these projects while developing their IT skills too. The two project teams were;
- “Njaka”, a platform that aims at teaching young Cameroonians aged between 7 to 17 how to write codes. This project believes that there is hope in the future and therefore, the young will need to acquire skills to meet up.
- “Lost But Found” which aims at helping those who have lost their items find them. They intend to build a platform where founders and seekers of lost items can communicate and give/recover what that they have found/lost.
If there was one thing so unique, it was the interaction and understanding between the trainers and the trainees. With the introduction of the “Trello” software, work was made simple for the two teams. This made team work very easy for the developers and evaluation/assessment easier for trainers Roland and Dymtro. To Fongoh Martin, founder of Digital Renter, one of ActivSpaces’ startups, Trello facilitates communication and task management in a team given that communication is the core for every project to be successful.
The trainers were also encouraged by the interest participants showed during the training. Participants’ questions and willingness to learn encouraged the trainers to dish out what they had. Besides the participants, the ActivSpaces staff created a more accommodating atmosphere for both participants and trainers which made the event lively. Roland noticed this, “…It didn’t take long to have a cordial relationship with participants and ActivSpaces’ staff….wonderful girls, so accommodating and welcoming. That to me is a plus…” They were also impressed by the number of girls who showed up at the training. The daily attendance of girls exceeded 10 which portrayed the percentage of girls interested in tech.
What next after the training?
At the level of partnership, ActivSpaces and Leapfrog remain partners. Worthy of note is that ActivSpaces and Leapfrog have planned 3 sessions of similar training this year.
To cement this relationship, Leapfrog presented some gifts to ActivSpaces as a sign of appreciation and and friendship that will henceforth exist between them.
Participants are expected to go and implement what they learnt during the training. They will have to build businesses and complete jobs that are up to standard.