MORINGA SCHOOL ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH HONG KONG’S ACCELERATE

By Sandra Mukidza

Moringa School announces its global expansion into Hong Kong in partnership with Accelerate. Moringa’s growth is sparked by the demand for practical software skills within the global tech ecosystem which has accelerated through time. Over the years, coding schools have seen fortification of academic and occupational programs. This has seen a rapid sprout of coding schools in many parts of the world that aim to bridge that gap between what is taught in colleges vs what employers are actually looking for, ultimately preparing more suitable candidates for the job market within the tech industry. 

 

With Moringa School’s growth and expansion to other regions across the globe, the world-class coding accelerator is now offering its curriculum, teaching methodologies and philosophies, classroom tools and more in Hong Kong, where one of Moringa School’s Lead Instructors is now based and ensuring the curriculum and classroom experience matches that in Kenya. The strategic partnership with Accelerate is one of many collaborations Moringa School is currently focusing on scaling our rigorous software engineering courses to more students globally. In Kenya, Moringa School attracts international students from Nigeria, Burundi, Rwanda and more, and is beginning to scale our Moringa Prep training to such countries to increase access to local students who do not have the financial capabilities to study outside their home country or for those who wish to remain in a more familiar environment.

 

Moringa School’s drive to become the backbone of the tech industry in Sub Saharan Africa is evident as the school has a placement rate of 95%. A partnership of this nature is significant for the growth of the coding accelerator as it shows the interest in the courses being offered by the school are well beyond Kenya’s borders.

 

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More about Moringa School:

Moringa School is a world-class coding accelerator with a 95% job placement rate. Through Moringa Prep, our introduction to programming course, to Moringa Core, our track-based, intensive, 19-week course, Moringa School graduates world-class engineers who experience our unique, hands-on and project-based educational model. Moringa’s graduates are star developers at companies like Safaricom, Cellulant, Craft Silicon and more.

What Moringa School Taught Me That Campus Did Not

By Agnes Wahu

5 years ago, most practicing software engineers were either self-taught or graduates with computer science degrees. With the emergence of coding bootcamps, it’s even easier to get into a career in programming since the pathways have expanded significantly.

 

Conventionally, coding bootcamps have been considered a gateway to a career in programming for people who do not have any programming experience. However, at Moringa School, some of students had already earned an undergraduate degree or were in the process of completing one when they decided to attend Moringa. We caught up with some of our students to dive into why they chose to go to Moringa School after going to campus and how it heightened their software development skillset. Here are our findings from our current Moringa Core students:

 

What is the difference between campus and Moringa School?

“Most people in campus are stuck doing something that they are not passionate about. It is different in Moringa School where people are really passionate about what they are doing,” says Ahmed Ali, a Civil Engineering graduate from Changan University in China. Ahmed did not take long to realise that he was more passionate about tech than he was with civil engineering. He did his undergraduate studies and started his research on coding bootcamps when he was told about Moringa School being the best coding bootcamp in East Africa by a friend. He made his application and was accepted into the school. “It feels like I am finally doing what I like. I would not have done so well as a civil engineer because it is technology that I am more passionate about and the experience so far is totally worth it,” he says.

 

Latasha on the other hand dropped out of the first year of Jomo Kenyatta University, doing a computer science degree because she was not happy with what she was learning. “People are interested in programming because they want to build things. With a computer science degree, you spend four years not building things, so a computer science degree alone does not teach you what you need to be a programmer,” she says. She plans on using her developing skillset to find employment post-Moringa.

 

Practical application cements your understanding of fundamental concepts

The practical application of Moringa School brings to life the theory that campus curriculum often focuses on. Campus curriculum is heavy on theory, but not practical application. “With a computer science degree, you have a lot of the knowledge but you’ve probably never used them in a way that’s applicable,” explains Latasha. “You haven’t engaged with projects that implement that knowledge in a way that’s relevant to any software engineering job.” Layering the practical experience of coding challenges and building web and mobile apps on top of the theoretical context creates a more well-rounded programmer, equally proficient in the theory and reality of building web apps.

 

Moringa School helps you build a relevant, active code portfolio

Aside from mastering concepts, Moringa School emphasizes the importance for each student to have a strong portfolio by the time they leave Moringa. “In Moringa School, I have written more code in two months than I wrote in my one year of undergrad,” says Latasha. “We did not build portfolios in campus. We used to do term papers and then that was it.” All the students interviewed mentioned a need to study job-relevant coding languages, such as JavaScript, as the reason for attending Moringa School.

 

Peer learning boosts learning ability

Most students listed the collaborative learning environment as a major advantage for attending Moringa School. “I learn a lot better when I’m around people with the same motivation.” says Mujahid an Entomology graduate from Jamiah University in Zambia. “You don’t really understand something until you can explain it to someone else,” he says. “Moringa School has made me a better teacher and learner.”

 

Benefits of working in groups

In the job market, one’s ability to communicate well and teamwork is as important as the technical acumen. Through interactions with technical mentors and peers, pair programming and group projects, students experience a simulated workplace, where they strengthen teamwork skills and learn how to work successfully with others. “I have learnt so much by working with instructors and my fellow students through their diverse backgrounds and creativity.” says Ahmed. “Moringa School has given me more confidence in myself. You learn so much more than you thought possible in such a short amount of time,” he continues. “Working with other people has helped me open my mind to other people’s thoughts and ideas. It’s even easier to understand the content by learning this way.”

 

Meaningful lessons learnt at Moringa School

 

Ahmed: “Don’t stretch yourself too thin. As a new programmer, it’s tempting to try to learn everything. The thirst for knowledge is real, but in order to retain it all up properly, you can’t try to absorb too much at once. Learn at your own pace. You are bound to learn something new everyday.”

 

Latasha: “Know when to ask for help. When in doubt, just ask! A little collaboration can never hurt. And make Google your friend.”

 

Are you new to the world of programming or interested in solidifying your skills by adding practical experience to your portfolio? Apply now to become a world-class developer at Moringa School and achieve the unthinkable.

Geographic Information Systems in a Nutshell

By Nombuyiselo Murage, Moringa Core Student

In a world where apps like PokeMonGO, Google Maps and Uber exist, there are millions of people like you and me who don’t understand or appreciate GIS. 

You’re probably wondering  right now what in the world is GIS? 

The acronym, GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems; computer-based system that analyzes, stores, manipulates and visualizes geographic information on a map. It is used to interpret data from a location-based point of view in order to understand the relationships, patterns, and trends which enable us to draw meaning from that data. Again GIS, is at times used to refer to Geographic Information Science which is the scientific/academic discipline that studies the data structures and computational techniques to handle spatial data for the implementation of Geographic Information Systems. This area of study while largely an independent discipline, relates very closely with Geomatics, Geography, Computer Science and Information technology. Among its core interests, as defined by British Geography professor Michael Goodchild, are spatial analysis, visualization and representation.

One more thing before I completely lose you, Spatial refers to ‘that which relates to a space dimension’ ergo, spatial thinking refers to interacting with data from a location or space point of view. So simply put, GIS is when you connect data to geography and thus understand it as What Data Belongs Where!This is what we call spatial thinking.

Where it all started

Ahem! *Clears throat*

In 1854, there came a man by the name John Snow, actually a Dr. John Snow. He was neither the warden of the north nor a bastard son and he definitely knew something (see what I did there?). Rather, he was a man of science, a British physician in fact! 

At the time there was a major cholera outbreak that had hit the city of London, England. Dr. Snow began mapping points of outbreaks alongside property boundaries and water lines. When he made this overlay, he made a stunning and quite possibly life-saving discovery; that the cholera cases occurred along the water line. John Snow’s Cholera map was one of the first and most brilliant examples of using spatial thinking to solve a problem. And not only was this the very beginning of spatial analysis, it also marked the very start of a whole new field of study known as Spatial Epidemiology. 

This  period leading up-to the 1950’s, was largely characterized by hard copy paper maps which were at times drawn on transparent paper layers placed on light-tables to allow for easy identification of overlay areas.  As time went on, technological advancements such as development of computer graphics as well as advancements in data storage on mainframe computers, meant that maps could now be draw on a computer screen. This led to the entry of GIS computer packages which was the period of GIS commercialization where the idea of GIS was perpetuated by organizations for other big enterprises and government organizations (it was not yet adopted by the large masses).

The Rebirth. This was the period from the late 1990’s leading to the 2000’s, where widespread user adoption of GIS began. This was largely attributed to the widespread availability of Personal Computers (PC). Additionally, advancements in technology such as expansion to software solutions that handle both vector and raster data coupled with the recent availability of the global positioning system, (GPS) gave users access to more tools than ever before. This period really highlighted the importance of spatial analysis for decision-making.

Now…

The open source phenomenon. This is the period from 2010 moving forward. The most distinct characterization of this period is the open source movement which was made possible by increased processor capacity, advancements in graphics and mainstreaming of cloud architectures that allowed for huge amounts of GIS data to be stored online. This saw a major shift from enterprise-level companies producing GIS software to GIS users making their own software in an open collaborative way.

There are still a lot of exciting opportunities coming up for new ideas and innovations including venturing into the virtual reality space such as the game PokeMonGO and other advancements in real-time GIS. It has made our lives simple and effective and we love it. Imagine a time with no Uber or Google Maps to help you to get to where you are going. Or logistics systems for managing shipping cargo all across the world.

What I can say Ladies and Gentlemen is that GIS is everywhere.“As long as we can find meaning in data patterns and interactions in terms of what relating to where, we will always have GIS with us.”

The Adventures of a New Developer

By James Muriuki, Moringa Core Student

Oh my goodness! What the heck did I get myself into?”

Its two weeks into Moringa core – a 15 week Intensive to say the least program that is trying to turn me, a complete noob into a software engineer. The Moringa prep starter class held a few weeks back did help, but doesn’t come close to the intensity of what is being covered right now. But where would I be without Moringa?

The Discovery

 Let me tell you a little about myself. Straight out of high school I had no intention of going to university I was hell bent on making it on my own in life. So I went from being a student, to becoming a waiter at a local restaurant, to starting a jam business, to learning Chinese, well only for a month all in a period of 7 months.

Then a high school friend mentioned to me about a tech school called Moringa. I honestly thought it was a tree that had come for career day a year earlier. The program runs for a short period so I thought, wait school for 6 months and you get the actual skills that are in demand sounded too good to be true. So for the next one week straight since I was broke and had nothing, and I mean nothing going on with my life, I went on a research spree from talking to guys on social media to reading all about this mysterious school. And I found everything to be true. I went to the website applied did my interview and I was in.

Moringa Prep

The first day of Moringa Prep was…umm… different. This was no ordinary school. There are no lecturers, no textbooks no boring classes. The content is provided beforehand and we are supposed to work on it in groups. We were immediately hit with new content and for some strange reason we understood it and day after day the content was retained in our heads. For those who didn’t understand anything there was always a technical mentor in the room. Moringa became my home. And apart from the learning I got to meet amazing people from very different backgrounds and I got the strongest support system ever. Bi-weekly talks, occasional events and most importantly Yoga provides a nice change in environment to help you relax.

Moringa core

 The learning curve is steep. You will doubt yourself the whole time the way I am right now but the secret is not doubting yourself, it is finding a way to work through the doubt. To finding that inner drive that can make you succeed. I have a very long road ahead of me. But it’s an adventure all new developers have to take. Through my friends including the technical mentors, who are probably the most awesome people I have ever met, the road gets easier, the workload becomes a bit bearable and even if I get to the brink of quitting I know I will stay just one more day.

Moringa Chronicles

By Ruth Gitau, Moringa Core Student

#Episode 1, Believe in Yourself

It was early Wednesday morning, only two weeks into the program when I dashed to the washroom, looked at my reflection in the mirror and asked myself, “what am I doing here? Have I made a mistake? Do I deserve to be here, do I really have what it takes?”

We highlight and celebrate peoples’ success without understanding the process they went through to reach their pinnacle of success. We turn a blind eye to the pain of it all.

Doubts, fears and feelings of unworthiness are some emotions we face at some point in life. Scratch that. We face these emotions when we are doing things outside our comfort zones. Mine came within the first two weeks of Moringa. You know that feeling all too well. One minute you’re high and the next you’re low.

Welcome to the life of an amateur programmer. You get fascinated at how things have been built. You get a high from creating your own stuff. You own your work and take pride in it. Yet there’s the other side of it all where you code and get so many errors while coding to the point you enter the button with bated breathe. Yet, the red errors still appear in your console. Fret not, that’s normal and it’s the one thing every new programmer should be told. It’s normal to get errors in your code. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your coding skills won’t either. It takes time, practice and commitment. And it’ll get better. It always does.

Sometimes, it’ll get rough. Really rough. The kind of rough where you want to throw in the towel. But it’s in these moments that you have to remind yourself of a couple of things:

  • why you love to code. This is your fuel.
  • It’s okay to feel melancholic, acknowledge the emotions and continue on with your journey,
  • stick with your dream, persevere and hang onto that thread and when you get to that point where you can’t hold on anymore,
  • have people you can lean back on. People who fight for you and your dreams when you don’t want to.

Humans learn the most valuable lessons at the face of adversity. So take it all in stride. Trust the process. Believe in yourself. Believe you can do it.

And remember, there’s always a silver lining. A light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps, hanging by the thread will lead you to be the next Mark Zuckerberg.

 

 

 

Programming Simplified

By Alvin Aringo, Moringa Prep Full-time student.

Computers are everywhere. Nowadays, nearly everything requires some sort of programming. And yet very few people know how to read and write code. In fact, few people know what programming is.

Programming is basically explaining to a computer what you want it to do for you. You are probably teaching the dumbest thing in the universe how to do something. To the outside, it seems like the most boring thing in the world. But soon enough you will know why programmers are fascinated by this art.

Programming is one of the only thing in the world where you can sit down and come up with something new from scratch. Anything you want. To somebody who does it, it is the most interesting thing in the world. It is a game much more involved than chess, a game where you can make up your own rules and where the end result is whatever you can make of it. Creating code is just a different way of expressing creativity much similar to playing an instrument. The only limitation is your imagination…literally.

And it is funny how the world stereo typically thinks of the programmers as anti-socials who lock themselves in their rooms converting coffee to programs. In truth, programming is about collaboration. All great things are built in teams. We collaborate with other smart people, testing our ideas. And stimulating each other. That’s what makes programmers successful. It’s not some flash of brilliance by someone who codes 24 hours a day for 3 weeks. The magic happens when we are all on the same page collaborating and building something together.

Software is really about humanity than any other thing. It’s about helping people by using computer technology. Programming is more about breaking down real world problems and creating solutions for them. We are more of superheroes when you think of it.

There is a much greater need in the world for people who can write code than there will ever be supply. Whether you are trying to make a lot of money or change the world, programming is an empowering skill to learn.

From Moringa School to Craft Silicon

By Jay Kayitare, Cohort 5 Graduate, Current Craft Silicon Android Developer
I graduated from Moringa School on May 6th this year. I remember it was on a Friday. The next Monday, I had an interview at Craft Silicon. I applied there based on the recommendation I got from MS. The interview went well. I believe being from Moringa was definitely an advantage. The next day I received a call from Craft Silicon telling me I got the position of mobile developer. I was not the only one who was hired. Out of my cohort, two other developers were hired by Craft Silicon. On Wednesday, we all reported to work for our first day.
I admit starting to work as a software developer was very intimidating at first. I had never worked for any tech company and I was not sure how my skills would measure up to the challenges of the real world. There are lots of challenges I faced when I started working that I never faced in Moringa such as dealing with clients and bosses, tight deadlines, etc. It was also hard to stop relying on tutorials and start figuring out things on my own. Moringa felt like a sprint, a race against time. Working can be more like a marathon. The pressure is there and it is constant.
Attending Moringa School is what allowed me to start viewing myself as a software developer. It gave me the grit, resourcefulness, drive and patience to handle the reality of the job. I came out of Moringa with the confidence that I can do anything I am asked to do at work, that given enough time, I can handle any challenge. I have had an easier time facing seemingly impossible deadlines, projects that are slightly above my current skill set, and several other challenges I have met in my workplace.
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Jay Kayitare, Cohort 5 Graduate, Current Craft Silicon Android Developer