Beauty in UX

By Justus Mbaluka, Moringa School Student

4 and half weeks are gone now. Things are now tough, really tough. Two things might have happened. It’s either this new programming concepts I have been learning have erased every basic thing I knew about programs or it finally downed on me that this field is diverse with a lot of new things to learn everyday.

I have been playing around with code, built 3 very basic and WORKING web applications using rails. Check the their code here. These projects have been a eye opener for me in the rails world and despite the fact that I am not fully acquainted with the language syntax, I atleast know what each line of code is supposed to do. Android still remains not user-friendly with libraries proofing to be a tough nut to crack.

Amidst all this crazy code world episodes, the best experience I had in these past few weeks happened on Thursday 16th April. I had my very first client meeting to discuss a web application project he had in his mind. This was a good opportunity to apply UX studies in setting up the necessary ground work for software development. We discussed the program features and how to the design should look like. I listened carefully and took notes, lots of notes to the extend it got scary.

Technology consumers have different mind states. Sometimes they know exactly what they want and sometimes they don’t. It is a bit easier to desing a product for the former but when the latter is the case, things get a bit complex. You have to ignite their “aha” feelings in them or you and your product get toasted, something which happens really fast in the tech world.

Fom these few weeks I have intaracted with UX concepts, it’s quite clear that this is the most important field in the technology. It’s a major determinant of your software success, just like marketing in business. This is because consumers want two things in any product. They want something useful(solves their probems) and easy to use, thats all. This is where UX study comes in handy. Based on your investment in this field, your product will fall into 4 categories;

1. Not useful but easy to use.

In this case, you got yourself a nice application dusting in the shelves of the app store. What happened here is you were such an awesome coder who developed an awesome future cooling system for the eskimos in the polar region. In the end, you got freezed in that cooling system of yours.

2. Useful but difficult to use.

In this case, you will have a problem-solving application. Consumers will try to have it and use it. No one wants a brain torturing experince. They will get frustrated and in no minute dump it for your competitors. In the end you lose market share and your investors come on to you like huricane. Please avoid these state, you succeeded in solving a problem, go ahead and make it easy for your consumer. Get some good designers and a good developer to make it happen.

3. Not useful and difficulty to use.

If you have a product which is not easy to use and doesn’t solve anyone’s problems, keep it in your cabinet as a constant reminder of what you should never do again.

4. Useful and easy to use.

This is the golden trophy. Any product which lies in this category saves the product manager tones of dollars in marketing and product iterations.Users will find it easy to interact with and are more likely to reffer to their friends, afterall, a happy customer might tell a friend…the unhappy one will tell the world on twitter. If your product lies in this category, congrats for being awesome.

Leaving your desk to have some nice conversations with your target consumers will lead to you having a product that lies in the 4th category. For the developers, it will help a lot in making the development process very easy. Once you get it right in the design stage, coding will be easy since you won’t have to re-write your code over and over again.

Study your Users First, the rest shall fall into place.

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IT’S GETTING PRETTY TOUGH

By James Aduke, Moringa School Student Well, I have decided to end my Friday or rather start my Saturday with a quick unwinding. The situation as you can tell from the title is a little bit tricky at the moment. You are not really sure if its getting better or getting worse or better. Despite […]

THE JOURNEY BEGINS

By James Aduke, Moringa School Student

Hello! I’m James. I would love to be a programmer, so I joined Moringa School. I want to know how to make beautiful apps and websites. My first week has definitely been a roller coaster. Moringa School has proven to be the perfect place, despite having found it on Facebook and my guardian had serious reservations about it. But going through Moringa School is proving worth it and is a total change of normal life.  Some of my friends think I am ignoring them.

In one week, I don’t think I have ever pushed myself so hard and gained so much. It’s surprising what one can gain with so much pressure. Despite the loss of sleep, at the end of the day, there is a sense of fulfilment with what you have done. It might get frustrating sometimes when a coma or space in your code prevents from getting the right output. But at the end of the day, it’s worth it because we get to learn from our mistakes. I think it has been an eye opener: the real world is no bed of roses. It needs you to bring your absolute A game to the table.

Although it sucks not being able to sleep for eight hours or more, I understand it’s for the greater good and things will always fall in place. Can’t wait to see what the coming weeks have in store for me. I’d better sign out or I won’t finish my assignments.

EAT, CODE, SLEEP, REPEAT…

By Faith Muli, Moringa School Student

Do you know that feeling you get when nothing in the entirety of your life makes any sense? If you have had these feeling before, then you are just like me… well, just like me before I discovered Moringa School.

This is more than an introduction of myself to you. It’s an odyssey through trails etched by code that until recently painted the path least traveled for me.

Ever since I learnt how to use a computer many years ago, the god of code (That Tron guy) kept throwing hints at me that I was born of the matrix. My fingers are even long, thin and fast. A mutation maybe but I like to go with “I evolved into this”. Sadly, I kept taking the blue pill every time I got to that fork in the road and I found myself in the Engineering world.

You see, code has given me purpose. A reason to wake up every morning and wade through Nairobi’s morning traffic for three hours to get to my happy place, a seat at Moringa School.

I think it’s the freedom that comes with every new method you learn. Or the power you wield with every new function you build. Maybe the simplicity that comes with a loop. Any of these is enough to trigger a deep love (just a tad short of addiction) for programming.

With every passing minute at Moringa, I feel like Super Maria gathering coin because I get my life levelled up when I get to a thousand. I feel at home at Moringa School and every day is a learning day. I do what I love and I love what I do. I love the teaching techniques at Moringa and I’d want everyone learning anything to experience the quality of learning at this school. Moringa School is not your traditional school; it is very different from the ordinary 8-4-4 system of Kenyan education that I have gone through. In Moringa I have actually learnt by doing; writing and building programs by myself. Of course I have received plenty of help from the teachers and my fellow cohorts, this has made the learning experience to be easier and fun.

A few weeks from this moment (11AM on 4th April), I will be a code guru (okay guru may be exaggeration) but I am pretty sure that my coding skills would have greatly advanced. I’m sure I can’t be anything short of that now that I am at Moringa School.

Well, I belong to the source now and my basic needs have changed. Eat, code, sleep, repeat…. Sometimes no sleep…

Moringa Experience

class JustusKyalo {
public static void main(String[] args){
System.out.println(Hi, am Justus. I do not love star trek);
 }
}

By Justus Mbaluka, Moringa School Student

See, I love technology. I love those conveniences technology brings to the table, especially in this rising “Internet of things” trend. Shopping at the comfort of my bed by a click of a button (for those us whom shopping is not a hobby at all), getting sukuma wiki prices by sending a text message, paying my landlord via Mpesa and not to leave out that most wonderful product Mshwari (the brains behind this innovation should get a Nobel prize) and the list is endless.

Amongst all these developments, the biggest advancement in tech, in my opinion, has been in the merging of the big data sector and the business world. Business development has taken on a new dimension. Most of the middle level business decisions are now being left at the hands of complex algorithms running somewhere up in the cloud as business owners sit somewhere under a palm tree sipping mojitos and margaritas.

Anyway, that is topic for another day. I joined Moringa School to learn coding and explore my deep love for designing data products. Their curriculum and mode of modelling developers was exactly the kind of partnership I was looking for. Right now, naah!…things are going sideways. Code-academy forgot to tell me that real program features do not come by following a ‘click-and-see what happens’ tutorials. Learning to code isn’t a walk in the park.

You will meet lines of code that look greek-ish to you. Others looking like those characters you get after opening a 2003 doc file on a 2013 software- terrible. Finally, you successfully write that line of code which looks so amazing, showing no errors and then, …click “Run”. Oops, not working. That is the moment you feel like throwing your laptop through the window but then, it’s never that serious.

To top it up, you are now socially heated up with someone somewhere being really mad at you for cancelling that date over the weekend (Frank, you gonna pay for this). Yeah, it’s the first Saturday and you have to come for classes to deal with those daunting lines of code you have been working on over the week. It has to be done by all means possible as the drive and desire to get your first program up and running is so great that getting a 5 hr sleep feels like eternity and wrong. Despite all that effort, you are still free-falling in this code world with every line of code you write feeling like “oh-my, what did I get myself into!!”.

Then Monday comes. It’s the beginning of the second week in this boot camp. Frank is here with one task up his sleeves. “Build this website in 2 hrs”. That’s how self-assessments are done here. 2 ½ hrs down the line and I look at what I have done, and am very happy. A fully responsive site with a header written as Gnome displays there on the screen. That same type of site that took me over 3 days to build with the help of YouTube is now a less than 3-hr task. Those Greek looking Java syntaxes I got introduced to last week are now helping me write simple programs like exam grading and shopping carts. Ruby language is helping me solve toy problems like knowing the exact date when I will be celebrating my 1 gigasecond-th anniversary.

2 weeks are now gone and I have successfully built my first simple android App. With this learning curve here at Moringa School and the new working culture (fast-paced), my expectations have been exceeded. I am left with imaginations of my programming capabilities at the end of the 12 weeks which I look forward to.

My sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims in the Garissa massacre. We are with you in prayers during this tough times. Take heart.

 

Check out our progress in Moringa here or follow me at twitter.

Another bold step forward…

By Felix Too, Moringa School Student

It’s now close to two weeks at MS and I can say it exceeded my expectations in almost every aspect. The experience here is different, fulfilling and quantifiable. It might seem a bit exaggerated but once you here, you can attest to this.

Of course the comparison is with my experience in college. I studied Software Engineering, and without any skepticism, while at MS, I am at the right place at the best time. Having worked at a fast paced environment for the past year, I decided with my employer that it was time to add a twist to my career. It was a normal working day earlier this year when I was summoned and offered the opportunity to study at MS fully sponsored. Mark you, it was a choice I was to make. It wasn’t mandatory. I was to give feedback a few weeks later, but I decided to give it back at that moment.

I knew Hack Reactor before, and when I learnt that MS adopts their model and even instructors from them, I had no room to think about the opportunity, because I knew I was joining a world class, different and an invaluable kind of school.

Okay, let’s get to how it is here. I remember clearly on the first day, the instructors took the shortest time introducing themselves and so did we. Then they dived into the course work like they were already out of time. One thing I noticed here is that time is one of the major resources utilized with strict attention- I mean accurately strict. The instructors are not only oozing with immense knowledge in their fields but also their techniques of teaching is extraordinary. The way complex and ‘scary’ topics in Software Engineering are introduced and taught is just amazing. Again I should say, that while here, the concept implementation is all yours as the student. This is a powerful ignition in a field like this, giving people an opportunity to solve the problem their own way.

I know I will still write a much more detailed and categorical article. I was a bit confused on this one, on where to touch on or not. But at the end of this course, it’s certain that I will deeply appreciate the opportunity which is actually more invaluable than I thought.

Cheers!

Moringa School…Why?

By Cornellius Ngondo, Moringa School Student

Hi, my name is Cornellius Ngondo, former student at Multimedia University, a developer by calling and a mathematical genius(..or not). Three things I love in this world: code, cars and canned soda and this being my very first blog post I’m going to let you in on the first one only.

Moringa School…anyone?

When I first heard of it I was like “I am not a biologist! I’m a developer!” until I made a quick peek on their website. You have heard that it was said ‘Never judge a book by its cover’ but I say ‘Judge a developers’ school by their website’. It was love at first sight and a deep conviction whispered to my heart “Dude! You need to be here!” I spent four years in campus taking a bachelors in mathematics and computer science and trust me writing a single line of code was like telling me to climb Mt. Everest on a t-shirt! i was an academia but when I first entered Moringa School I realized what I had missed all my years. It was right there.

See those years you spent on campus? scratch that! MS is nothing like that. If you think MS is a walk in the park, you’re wrong! This is a race on a F1 track only with supercharged V10s at the starting line. You’ll feel the heat from day 1. See, universities tell you “Read, read, read!” but MS tells you “Do, do, do!”. This is boot camp for coders, a pilgrimage for developers with untapped potential. There are so many “Google coders” out there and trust me they’ll disappoint you at one point in time. Fashioned with brilliant instructors, this 12-week curriculum is not your usual program. It’ll change your life and in addition your perspective to programming as a whole.

Facts

Let me give you another reason of why MS. The world is going nano. By nano I mean small. Developers are working so hard to maximize speed, accuracy and efficiency but at the same time minimize space and that’s why mobile technology is one of the fastest growing industries in the tech world. In the near future, your phone will be capable of amazing things and I want to be part of that growth.

Last word on Friday

Two weeks down the line and there’s one word that still fuels my engine: passion. You have to know what you want when you come here. Have pre-defined goals that you wish to achieve and also the hunger to grow in knowledge and skills.

One word that describes Moringa School: Brilliant. This is what this country needs if we are going to have a Silicon Valley.

Quote: “Without passion you have no energy, without energy you have nothing.” Donald Trump.

 

Peace.

Cornellius.