In my previous post, I shared my experience at the Embedded Systems Training that took place at the KNUST. Apart from the learning experience and exposure I got, I also got something far more valuable – the friendship of the trainer, Ekele. In our numerous conversations, a lot of topics cropped up and they were duly digested. I however want to share a few of Ekele’s thoughts pertaining to Embedded Systems mostly. Enjoy.
Me: How did you get into this field?
Ekele: In my first year i Senior High School, electronics was one of the subjects we were taught. Our electronics teacher did a very good job activating my electronic curiosity. When teaching, he would bring LED, transistors, resistor e.t.c to the class and show them to us. He told us where they can be applied – in T.V, radios e.t.c. So, I fell in love with electronic components.
Me: What have been your challenges and triumphs?
Ekele: When I started learning about micro controllers, I discovered I couldn't get a programmer. I searched and searched in the market. I finally got a circuit diagram from the Internet and built one. Even today, there are some components one will need and would just have to order it from the USA or another developed country.
I get a burst of joy when I write a long code for something and at the end of the day, I get the device/equipment working. For instance, the first time I wrote code for a digital signboard, it took me a long time (more than a week) to get things up. Sometimes I don’t think about food and people around me will start complaining. They will ask me what I am doing that will make me not to bother about my food. And I will answer, "You will not understand." When they finally see me clapping and grinning from ear to ear, they know I have just achieved something.
Me: What is the future of embedded systems in Africa?
Ekele: It is a virgin field in Africa. It is a core requirement to become a technologically advanced country – that is my opinion. If people can start building hardware on the continent, gradually we will not be third world any more.
Me: Your advice to graduates who complain of unemployment?
Ekele: I believe every student should acquire knowledge that can be converted into a product/service. By so doing, they can easily start a business after school. Start doing something on your own; people will notice and start to contact you. Why wait?
Me: Advice on how to succeed in a chosen field?
Ekele: You have to strongly believe in what you do, you have to constantly acquire more information in that area and you have to look for ways to solve problems with what you do.