As part of our “Life in a day series” we are highlighting the life at Moringa School through the eyes applicants who successfully joined us. We are excited to let you know what happens in the everyday life of complete beginners on their journey to becoming world-class developers.
MS: Tell us about your path to Moringa School Irene
Well, that is a very interesting story. Before Moringa School I had worked as a Consultant Data Analyst at the UN – working on . Then earlier this year, around March, someone from a company called Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) found my profile on LinkedIn and referred me to a job opening for a Data Scientist at their company. I had the relevant statistical experience from my job BUT the position required coding knowledge in either Ruby or Python – I had NO idea what this was! This was the first time I realized that knowing what I knew wasn’t enough and I needed so much more to stay relevant in the job market. I then started to look into software development and where I could get these Python/ Ruby skills.
MS: Why Moringa School?
Another interesting story! I learnt of Moringa School by chance. It was during the Pre GES conference in July at KICC. Different businesses were showcasing their stuff and, of course, Moringa School wasn’t left behind. As I passed by their stall, Robert (the Social Media Dude at Moringa) flagged me down (ok, I exaggerate a bit…). He explained to me about how Moringa works and what they do. I had not heard of a business model like the one Moringa are running on. Being a product of the 8-4-4 system I know where exactly the cracks in the system are. Moringa School is sealing those gaps rather beautifully, I must say; they teach their students how to LEARN! How to go out and get the answers. This is what I had been looking for and so I decided to try to see whether they would deliver on their word. I started Junior Moringa School in August which is a two-week introduction to software engineering. I enjoyed this so much that I decided to enroll for the full course. And voilà, here I am now building Android apps.
MS: What are you looking to achieve at the end of the program?
I want to have a really good, no, an AMAZING portfolio to showcase all the brilliant stuff I’ve learnt. Also, I want to be able to solve problems using tech; create really cool solutions, both aesthetically and function-wise.
MS: Tell us about a typical day at Moringa School
- Classes start at 8:30. The first thing we do is stuff called ‘toy problems’. These are small tasks that we’re supposed to implement using code. The languages change depending on what we’re working on. Usually it’s python and java. We do the task on our own for 20-30 minutes depending on difficulty then we go through it afterwards. It’s very interesting since everyone usually has a different way to solve the problem so you learn many ways of doing the same thing.
- At around 9:30 we have a tea break. Tea and coffee are provided for free every day while we get mandazis every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This goes up till around 10am.
- The instructor then comes in and delivers on whatever topic they’ve prepared for that day. It’s usually accompanied by exercises we are meant to do in during that time i.e. building an application which has those elements that have just been discussed. After this he gives us a task to do over the whole afternoon and should be completed by a particular hour.
- At 1pm we are usually chased away from class to go have lunch (coding is a very very engaging activity). The chasing works – sometimes lol…
- After lunch we come back and try to complete the tasks given earlier in the day. When the agreed upon hour comes, the instructor will come to check our what we’ve done, answering any burning questions concerning any difficulties faced during the task. Another assignment is then given, one that should be completed by the following morning.
- Let me just say that these tasks and assignments are on things we’ve never heard before but you’re expected to deliver. I have learnt the 1) GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND! and 2) Your CLASSMATES are an even greater asset. Ask and 95% of the time you’ll find someone who has gone through your problem or just knows how to deal with it. This is how Moringa School works; it’s the best way to learn.
- Thursdays are special though: We have a guest speaker – an expert in their particular field in tech – who comes in and enlightens us on a topic of his own choosing. Very helpful, these. Also we have a session called ‘tap out’ where we ‘fungua roho’ and share how our week has been. This helps A LOT!
MS: Is there anything you’d like to build at the end of your time at Moringa School?
Yes. I actually have several ideas at the moment. The most urgent one is an app to help my mum’s business. Really excited to apply all the stuff I’ve learnt in class to real world situations.
MS: What’s the most fun thing that has happened to you at Moringa School so far?
Well, a lot! Every Thursday before the ‘tap outs’ we play games to loosen people up. This is the moment you see people’s true colors away from their dev side. My classmates are hilarious!!! Greatest bunch of people, these. Couldn’t have asked for a better cohort 😀
MS: What would you tell anyone looking to apply at Moringa School?
What are you still doing reading this?? Go finish your application NOW!!!
As for requirements, just bring your curiosity because that is all you need! And a laptop; bring a laptop. And be ready for 20hr days. Yes, 4hrs is a very good night’s rest my friend and it is possible. Just so you know…
MS: Parting shots:
Exactly 9 weeks ago, I thought website and app creation was magic. Today I can perform that magic, albeit very slowly. Just having that understanding that it is possible to learn that much in a couple of weeks speaks volumes about the ability of the human capacity to learn and apply stuff. This is the best decision I have made in a long time and I’d do it all over again.