Giants in Programming

By James Kimani, Moringa Prep

Hello world. My name is James Kimani. I recently joined Moringa School for the Moringa prep program and I am planning to go back to do ruby on rails and java. This story narrows down my experience in Moringa School and what prompted me to join Moringa School.

I have a degree in procurement. In campus I fell in love with technology. I had interest which slowly grew into passion. This is why I ventured into programming. I strongly believe that any business that does not utilize technology loses profits. A business that does not make use of technology does not fully achieve its potential. Technology allows you to have clients and business partners from anywhere in the world. Technology creates solutions to problems in the society. Technology makes life easier and fun. Technology enables you to work remotely from home. The final and most crucial to me-technology allows you to spend more time with family; this is because you can easily become your own BOSS.

Upon searching for a school in Kenya that provides high quality education and training in programming, I almost threw in the towel until my friend recommended me to join Moringa School. He had heard good things about the school from his friends. It was at such a pivotal time because I was sick of watching online tutorials on YouTube. I needed a classroom setup where I could consult someone if I got stuck and learn more from other people. I applied for Moringa School and I was called for an interview. I said to myself “interview?! This is interesting.” In Kenya if you apply for a course most schools never call you for an interview. You are just required to submit your qualifications and pay the school fees. Moringa School is different. They actually want to know why you are interested in programming, this helps them to know you and help you achieve your dreams.

Rolling up my sleeves for the first day and I will say it was fun! After orientation we were introduced to our very own Technical Mentors. Technical mentors help you in your studies whenever you face any challenge; they are always there ready to help. The kind of learning style at Moringa School is different from the ones people are used to. You have peer programming. This is where you get to study in pairs. You have a partner, who you study together with, do code practice and challenges with. Then after a short duration of time, like two days, you switch to a different partner. It is fun because you get to work with people who think different from you; you are also able to learn more than you could have otherwise studying alone. Moringa School also provides time for you to work alone.

Moringa School has sweet notes hosted online. I must admit it’s remarkable. Their notes are detailed and very helpful. You are able to understand code easier because of its simplicity and do code practice. Moringa School does not condone copy pasting of code because they actually want students to learn. You get to have one on ones with your technical mentor so that they can know how you are progressing. On Friday you do an independent project which helps you put into practice what you have been learning the entire week. We hang with the senior developers who are doing the more advanced programming and they get to advice you, see your projects and comment on it.

I did the Moringa prep program. Moringa prep is an introduction to programming. You get to learn front-end web development using html, css, bootstrap and a little JavaScript and jQuery. You later get to advance when you pass the class and join Moringa core. In Moringa core you get to choose the android package or ruby on rails package. The android package has deeper JavaScript, java and android app development. The ruby on rails basically is a web development framework written in ruby.

My journey in Moringa School was amazing. It stretched my mind and got me to realize that I am capable of doing more than I can imagine. I grew on my interpersonal skills-I am now able to express myself better. This is because you get to present your projects to other people. There are numerous activities in Moringa School which help in growth, some of them are: stand-ups, lightning talks, group projects and independent projects among many others. There is usually yoga in the evening at least twice a week. On Thursday Moringa School invites a guest speaker who is in the industry and they get to advise us. We interact with them and actually get to grow and know what is expected of us. It is a great place to network and meet Giants in programming. One thing that stood out for me was the staff. Moringa school has the friendliest staff I’ve ever meet. They are always cheerful and willing to help. Moringa School is more of a family.

Moringa School teaches you learn how to learn. At first, when I heard this statement during orientation I did not understand it. Having gone through the Moringa prep I actually feel comfortable learning by myself how to code which I actually didn’t before I joined Moringa School. I know how to do proper research, learn a new programming language by myself using documentations and videos. That I would only have achieved through Moringa School.

So, would I recommend somebody to join Moringa School? I already did and they have already joined. I recommended a friend of my mine to join Moringa School Immediately after I had an interview. I know a serious and professional school when I see one. I am sure that very soon Moringa School will be in-taking more than 1000 students in a single cohort because people are actually realising the importance of Technology. If you want to join a programming school and you are not certain which school you want to join, I recommend you to join Moringa School.

My advice to an aspiring developer is: be strong, do not be fainthearted and do not give up. You do not need to understand a concept the first time, second time or third time. Just do practice. Success is the sum of small efforts — repeated day in and day out. A ship is safe in the harbour but that’s not what ships are built for. Push yourself; do not be in a comfort zone!

Here’s the Original Link

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A MOMENT CAPTURED

By Newton Karanu, MC3
My history
In my life, since I started having a conscious mind, I developed the urge to seek information. It is all I ever wanted. I felt like I had this thirst that could not be quenched by anything but information. So my journey began. I would go to my dad’s library just to read his Physics, Maths and Computer Programming books in order to try quenching my thirst. This went on for a while until I got to high school. Then my thirst increased tenfold. This was mainly because I felt like the school I was in wasn’t providing me with the necessary information that I needed. By the time I was done with high school, I had finished my virtual degree in psychology as I had read all of the psychology books at home.

One night, while in the library, I got a hold of a book written Fortran. This is where my journey in programming begun. I always wanted to understand what makes computers to work. So I began my first language. It was hectic. I quit in a few days after I had gone through almost half the book and I could not make sense of any of what I read. So I moved on and started learning command prompt. I perfected my skill so much that I started making viruses in high school for the fun of watching computers do other things than what they were programmed to do. I got done with high school and wondered, what next.

Moringa school
Life after high school was funny, everyone wanted me to go to university. As per what I had heard from by siblings, University was not just the place for me. So I started searching. Then one day in the newspaper, I read about moringa school. From the very word go, my intuitively knew that this was the place to go, so I emailed them and asked for an interview. What a shock it was for me when I got replied to that very same day. An interview was arranged and I came in prepared to answer the hardest questions in my life. The person interviewing me, I later came to learn that he was my technical mentor was awesome. He didn’t just ask me questions because they were to be asked, I felt like he actually meant each and every one of them. He cared. Soon after, I got my invitation email.

Moringa Prep
It was the most confusing moment of my life. Having been used to the normal classroom setup, the flipped classroom literally flipped my mind. But I was determined to know what javascript and git were, so I kept on working. Throughout the five weeks of prep, it was the best of times and the hardest of times also. The five weeks felt like five months, but now as I look back, the five weeks were like than 5 minutes. Finally, we were graduating. The best feeling was when I was shaking the hands of my mentor and the CEO of moringa. Later that evening, we decided to take our mentor out. It was the best feeling I had in a long time. I felt like I really belong in Moringa school family.

Moringa Core
After finishing Moringa prep, I went for a 10-week break, before beginning ruby. In that period, I had been shaped by Moringa School to understand that in as much as everyone is diverse, I need to be inclusive of them. I started looking at things in a very different perspective and I liked it. Sooner than later, I was back in Moringa School to begin my core classes. I felt like Prep was baby steps. I was now in a marathon. As I go on with this journey of coding, I would like to pass my gratitude to Moringa School, and tell them that I wouldn’t be where I am right now were it not for them. Live long and prosper!

An Environment to Shine!

Kenn Muguna

To this day, I still remember how it was arriving at Moringa School’s Ngong Lane Office suite on that first Tuesday morning. I had tried my best to get there as early as I could, and from the look of things, my timing wasn’t that bad. Walking in, I caught a glimpse of a lady I later came to know as Rose, doing her best to tidy up space and get it ready for day one. It had been such a long wait since I registered for this first class, and as soon as I got that acceptance email back, I kept imagining how the first day would turn out. As soon as Rose saw me, she ran towards, and with a welcoming smile, offered a list of names & implored that I append my signature next to mine. Later on, I found out that this would be something I’d have to be doing each morning for the next 23 weeks I’d be here.

As mentioned on their website, Moringa school is something that you’ve most likely never experienced before. Everything is different. I, for one, found the flipped classroom setup to be very, very interesting. You see, you’re expected to go through high-quality content that’ll put you on par with what other developers are learning in other parts of the globe. You’re also allowed to go through it at your pace, and it is content that will always be available to you at home, school or your office to go through at your will.

If you’re genuinely thinking about enrolling for the next class, I might as well be real with you and admit; you’ll need some real willpower to get through this especially if you’ve never really had any experience with programming before. If this sounds like you, don’t fret. The prevailing culture here allows you to seek out help from anyone you think might have a better grasp on what you’re trying to understand. The technical mentors here are also quite friendly, and more than eager to see you through.

There’s something about going through challenges as a group that brings people closer together. I say so because, the friends I’ve made here are friends whom we’ve had to keep up with deadlines, project requirements, errors and so much more, with everyone trying to make sure that no-one gets left behind. If you’re an introvert, or you’re not that good at being social, don’t worry. The atmosphere here will make you comfortable enough to be yourself, and this will allow you to work towards achieving your highest potential.

As I write this, we’re in week 19, and about to start off work on our final projects. We have about four weeks to build something from scratch, and whatever we create is meant to showcase the skills we’ve acquired over our stay here. The mere thought of this is both humbling, as it is exciting because we can’t wait to finish the course and get back out there; back to the world.

If you’re keen on starting up a career in tech, Moringa School is by far your best option, but only if you have the discipline and self-drive to see yourself through.

See you on the other side.

Kenn.

ARE YOU KENYA’S NEXT DISRUPTOR?

Poster CampBuni.jpg

CampBuni is about the Now and the Future of Kenya. We are challenging bright young people to think about sustainable creative ways to solve the most challenging issues in their communities and come up with next gen solutions that will disrupt how things work. By empowering students with the creative freedom to design way into the future, we lay a fundamental foundation for national development.

*Buni- swahili for innovate.How: The Design thinking and entrepreneurship camp for teens aged

How: The Design thinking and entrepreneurship camp for teens aged 13-18 year olds engages students to brainstorm critically about solutions in their own communities and come up with innovative solutions to solve these problems. The camp, taking place at the iHub from 17th-21st July, is one that will convene students from both  British and Kenyan (IGSCE and KSCE) curriculum and have a 5 day crash programme on design thinking and core entrepreneurship skills. The students/participants will learn about current successful entrepreneurs and approaches they took and get mentorship advice—even past the camp—on how to transform their ideas into scalable solutions.

The programme will embrace a STEAM theme(Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) approach. During the summer camp, students will engage with some tools and games like Arduino, Makey Makey, and  empathy exercises like the blind-fold Arrow and Cogwheel game to aid in learning of the creative process.

During the programme, participants will be challenged to come up with ideas and develop them along the programme’s five-day timeline.

CampBuni’s set objectives/goals for this camp are to:

1.       Have participants merge academic concepts taught at school with design thinking skills introduced at the camp to develop real life innovative solutions to problems faced in today’s world.

2.    Have participants be in a position to generate ingenious solutions from scarce resources.

3.    Outstanding confidence presentation/delivery skills of their projects solving different problems

4.    Exposure to seed-funding opportunities to grow innovative projects into fully fledged social ventures solving today’s and tomorrow’s problems as well as opportunities for higher learning to advance them.

5. Instill a solid entrepreneurship and design thinking platform for the participants that will come in handy.

6. Introduce open source prototyping toolsg. Arduino and Makey Makey kits that they will use even past the camp to prototype their solutions.

 

At CampBuni, we are not only interested in generating solutions to big problems. We believe important change can happen on small scale; even the biggest projects begin with small steps. The most important change a country can achieve—something CampBuni looks forward to inspire—is towards a creative and innovative mentality. CampBuni is about that proces!

The campBuni team leverages the fact that yes, there is a widespread need to supplement the framework captured in the Kenyan curriculum with social entrepreneurship and design thinking skills, and as such facilitating sparking of creative and sustainable solutions through a strong supportive platform.

Application of these skills learnt will enable effective replication and re-thinking of some of Kenya’s and the world’s biggest soutions. Most importantly, CampBuni promises groundbreaking ubiquitous and feasible innovations in the Kenyan innovation space that will address pressing needs in the their local communities, having a special focus on technology, energy and agriculture.

The camp, taking place from the 17th-21st July at the iHub will cost Ksh. 4,000. This cost covers for snacks and food for participants, materials that will be used by the participants, tooling fees, giveaways and certificates to the participants. Apply now!!

To book a slot fill in this application.

To sponsor a student or spaces fill in this form.

For more information/inquiries about campBuni contact us at events@ihub.co.ke with the subject line CampBuni.

 

 

 

SLAYING CODE FEAR

By Oduor Jagero

I have always wanted to code. Or at least know what code is trying to communicate when I see it.  The ability to know what a div does and what bootstrap accomplishes has gnawed at me for about eight years now.

Let me put that into perspective. Even though my background is writing, I run a company called Komedia (koamedia.co.ke)  and the founder at summit.cmsafrica.org. They are both in the area of Tech. So imagine a guy who has found one of the biggest tech events in East Africa and ran a tech company doesn’t know jack about CSS and HTML. Don’t even talk about Javascript and other languages.

So when my clients bring me that something has crumbled on their site (which my company built), I have to call a worker, and if he is unavailable on the phone, I have to go on my knees and pray that something gives.

Well, mostly something gives. But at times, I get worked up and end up feeling like a fool. So for the last several years, I have toyed with the idea of learning these things. But like a teenager in the middle of a dark street, I have been immobilised by fear – the intense fear of learning code.

I paid a subscription at lynda.com thrice, but each time I started looking at the mix of red and green anchor tags and other dark-and-mean looking things, I would just give up and look at my subscription expire before my eyes without learning anything. I thought of doing something different; looking for someone to teach me or joining a brick-and-mortar school, but fear – damn fear. Fear is crazy, fear is bad.

What did I do next?  I retreated to where fear had condemned me.

I had heard of Moringa School a few years before. But I am a busy guy. I travel a lot and have meetings all the time. I did not have the time to get into a boot camp sort of life. And I did not want to create that time. Surely that is not my life; that is the life of boys and girls who have just finished school. And even when I sat my first class and looked around – at boys who had just finished high school – I hated myself for getting into this. I almost quit when our technical mentor Moses Okemwa stood before us and gave a pep talk about the course that we were going to start in a few minutes.

My first morning at Moringa was surreal. It reminded me of my first day in high school. Moses Okemwa is a funny guy; he tried to make us feel good. He did not allay my fears. But he us told that all is possible  – if you believe.

That day, I wrote an HTML document from !DOCTYPE to the last HTML tag. I ran it, and it smiled back at me on Google Chrome. I spent the first week playing with CSS, the colour codes, rows, containers and all the crazy stuff I have seen online schools.

By the end of the week, I felt free, free from the fear of code, free from my unbelief. And the fact that I could get under the computer hood and hide in the terminal and do magic and things pop in the name of folders, files, and push them to a  remote server, has been exhilarating.

Moringa Prep will come to an end in under two weeks. I am not going out of this school a pro – no far from it. But something revolutionary has happened to me. I am a new person. I am going away believing that a foundation has been put down, a formidable foundational brick has been laid and going forward, I will continue putting them bricks one by one. I know I will reach the ceiling and shatter it on my way to the sky.

Yoga and IT

Copy of Newton KamauBy Newton Kamau, Moringa Core Student

I love bringing the experience of yoga to programmers. As a developer and yoga teacher, I find many parallels between the journeys of coding and yoga.

For starters, my first yoga class was a whole new experience, the teacher would call out yoga poses, and I had no idea what it meant or how to even do it, so the best I could complain the minute I got into the pose. My first day at Moringa I remember the teacher talking about things that were so new to me. Github, reports and such like words scared me for the better part of the first week.

As a Yoga teacher, I believe the way I show up on the mat reflects how I show up off the mat, despite the struggle of catching up with the content and working on the independent projects. Yoga is always challenging and demanding; This is in terms of efforts and concentration, same thing and remembering the phrase “where your eyes go, your energy flows” it guided me to stay focused.

The way Moringa School teach was a new experience learning new concepts weekly and applying it on our IP was just like going to an advanced yoga class, learning a new pose and practising it through till  I am able to teach it to my students. The moment I started to grasp a few things here and there, I was able to flow with the content just like mastering the yoga sequence and knowing how to do things on my own.

As yoga is about community, at Moringa the same applies through what is called “forced interactions” though officially it’s pair programming where you work with your partner. It will help you come to an understanding as you may be better or worse than your partner just like you will find in a yoga class. I have been able to work with people at different levels and abilities and the dynamic way people handle their businesses so as to say.

A yoga teacher is there to guide you get in and out of the pose while you do all the work and sweat it all out. Unlike other learning institutions, where we have a teacher walk in and give you “theories”, at Moringa the same applies in that there are technical mentors who help and guide you through what you should cover while you learn how to work almost on your own.