What They Never Tell You About Being a Developer in Kenya

By Rodgers Gitau, Cohort 7 student

Africa’s Tech Industry is raising. We have all heard the numerous CTO’s give talks about how Kenyan Tech industry is the new niche and how Kenyan developers are making waves in the industry. Personally I have always wanted to be a bad-ass, kicking in the door techie who spends hours in the night fueled by caffeine. I would then resurface with an awesome app that would then mint millions into my bitcoin account as I party till the next genius app idea bug bites me. Thanks to binge watching hours of Betas, Silicon Valley, Mr Robot etc I had always figured with enough work hours, I would eventually become a ninja developer(read hacker) whose might can reach Mt. Olympus and back.

When I finally took the plunge and joined Moringa School, I was all psyched up and spread the word around town that I would emerge in 5 months as the next Bill Gates. After about 7 weeks of being in the program, I have learnt a few hard truths about what developing in Kenya is in reality:

Too much Content

Learning to code is hard work. Unfortunately I happen to live in a digital world so searching for help on the internet yields a ton of information. Most of these tutorials are  biased opinions by other developers. Follow some guy’s opinions and you find yourself even more confused.

My advice read the official documentations then learn by building mini-projects. You don’t have to build a billion dollar idea, just build something that works.

Learning by yourself is suicidal

There are no superheroes in the coding community. Individual work is encouraged but working in teams will provide an even better learning environment. I’ve had to appreciate that struggling and dying like a gladiator is foolish. There always people who have been down the same rabbit-hole and finally figured the path to Wonderland. If you don’t want to to get depressed, consider learning how to disappear completely. As it is said, there is nothing as useless as doing so well something that should not be done in the first place.  Ask for help – trust me – it will save you time and brain cells.

Life happens. It goes on no matter what

While locking myself and emerging in 5 months seemed an awesome idea, I’ve been taught the hard way that you cannot live inside a cocoon. The world is as always was; power fails, internet is still expensive, the landlord will break down your door when rent is missing, insecurity is still real. The technology pace at which the world is growing into is outstanding. Space travel is no longer a movie gimmick any more but a definite trip plan. If you are to survive in this passion fueled industry, you cannot isolate yourself without losing interest.

Have Fun, otherwise what is the use?

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2 thoughts on “What They Never Tell You About Being a Developer in Kenya

  1. ” I’ve had to appreciate that struggling and dying like a gladiator is foolish. There always people who have been down the same rabbit-hole and finally figured the path to Wonderland.”

    Very true Rodgers, and one gladiator is almost seeing his grave here, I hope my time at moringa from tomorrow to next year will save my poor life. I’ve went from yapping about nginx, thin, rspec, Sql, rails, JS et al! et al! to getting back to base with html, css as a normal fallout position. Bouncing back has never been harder.

    I’d rather save my brain cells for now!

    Like

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