When osbert Mwijukye called me to join him at Kyambogo University for the one day tech conference I was a little skeptical of what to expect. Not being a developer myself, I thought it not right to attend save for the cause of having to write this. But because this is the field I want to launch into, I did. The event began at 9 o’clock at the Computer Science Department of the university.
Abu came in first talking about What to consider when developing a website. He is the founder of Webstar, a website developing site and was among the main sponsors of the event. Webstar is one of the most optimised websites in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in Uganda. Fred Abu has been a web developer for the past eight years and in his words,
“I have never done anything outside web developing and I don’t think I ever will.”
He was followed by Patience Nekesa, the founder of mediaminuteug.com a start up who was the only lady developer on the team addressed the participants on the benefits of having Personal Branding as web developers. Nekesa is one of the few lady developers who strongly advocate for girls in technology. In this one day conference, only thirteen girls turned up of the seventy three people that registered.
“I sat in the same seats like you. I made many mistakes as a university student. Today, I should be very far. I don’t want you to do the same mistakes. That is why I’m here.” Dickson Mushabe
We then had a practical session by Steven Twinomugisha. He took the participants through a practical session on how to build a website using Joomla. There are a number of web development modules that are widely used all over the world though wordpress, Joomla and Drupal are dominant.
Drupal is the least used of the modules. However, it is arguably the most secure of all. This is the reason why Benjamin Lutaaya and Solomon Alvin Kitumba are moving to different universities preaching the gospel of drupal.
In his address, Benjamin sited out the most reputatble websites developed using drupal. Notable of them is the Whitehouse in the USA, State House in Uganda, NTV Uganda, Mr Gadget Uganda and Vodafone Uganda.
Solomon, in his address shared his work experience as a law school dropout and how he has journeyed on as a self taught ‘street smart’ developer he is today. He has written what he describes as a one page book with Google books called Google That where he dissuades developers from asking how-to questions.
“You need to drop the mentality of being taught and teach yourself. Make Google your friend. I did it and it works.”
The sessions were very practical and everyone was advised to take home tutorials to aid them in the learning.
Dickson Mushabe, the CEO of Hostalite who was also among the sponsors of the event advised the students to acquire skills that will distinguish them from others. He based his presentation on the theme How can my skills add value to my life.
“You’re all going to graduate on the same day with the same qualifications. Why should you be the one to be employed?”
Dr Daris Ssebuggwawo, the HOD of Computer Science Department at Kyambogo University applauded the developers for their time and spirit of volunteering. All the facilitators attended the CMS Africa summit and pledged to offer their skills and this is exactly what they did.
The conference was hosted by Osbert Mwijukye, a third year Computer Science student at Kyambogo University. In his closing remarks, he reminded students that they are the best teachers of themselves.
The event ended with a few give away from wordpress and Hostalite. Mushabe’s first fingers game saw lucky ones win themselves airtime, hugs, sweets, money and the winner of all, a free web hosting for his site by Hostalite for a year.