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ITWeb Africa

Saturday, Jan 25th

More coding bootcamps needed for quality software engineers

More coding bootcamps needed for quality software engineers

In as much as the tech industry in Africa is booming with ideas, industry experts say the continent still lacks quality engineers compared with the amount of interest digital entrepreneurship has generated.

Audrey Cheng, founder and CEO of Moringa School, a coding bootcamp in Nairobi told ITWeb Africa that this is because teaching people how to code is not as easy as teaching other subjects.

""Software programming requires people to have some amount of experience and be good at software engineering. We have learnt this over the years that it takes time," said Cheng.

"I think there are plenty of software engineers but I don't think there are plenty of high quality engineers. There are a ton of students who get turned down by universities and self learn. Self learning is not bad ... it is just that it takes longer and students may learn bad practices," she added.

In Africa there are few opportunities for young people to learn software engineering and to learn it thoroughly. Most people opt for online courses and bootcamps which are hosted in other countries.

For Cheng, the continent might not be ready to offer its own version of online bootcamps.

"We have actually considered online bootcamps, but it is a really hard concept especially with connectivity in the various parts of the continent. I don't want to say it is not possible, but it is really hard and expensive," she said.

To date Moringa School has managed to train over 100 students, some of whom are working at big corporations including Safaricom and Cellulant, as well as local banks.

Students who come out of the coding school are encouraged to work for an organisation before launching their own projects. This enables them to learn problem solving in real life.

"The two main purposes of (a) bootcamp is to ensure that people have a strong foundation in programming and they are learning the right skills, and second is to ensure they have a sound critical thinking mind. What is lacking is software engineers who can think critically about a big problem," she said.

According to Cheng Moringa School is ready to expand to three African countries this year. "Moringa School is licensing out our course material to help new coding schools grow quicker as well."


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