Showing posts with label computer science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label computer science. Show all posts

Monday, October 8, 2012

FASMICRO's Ekele shares some thoughts

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.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

First-ever Barcamp Sunyani -- The experience

The first-ever Barcamp event in Sunyani ended almost three hours ago – boy was I blown away (no hyperbole intended). Ideas. Energy. Networking. These were all in full supply at the event, which took place at the FFRT (KNUST-SYI).

A barcamp is simply a FREE networking event that brings individuals together to brainstorm and find solutions to problems affecting their communities and propose ways of developing their communities and the country as a whole. A novel idea, don’t you think?

I attended my first-ever barcamp event in Kumasi, three weeks ago at the KNUST campus. What makes today’s event even more remarkable – apart from the organisation – is the number of ladies present. These ladies were bold and they cogently defended their ideas in a clear manner. Women of substance. Wow. The event also had a number of highlights:

1. A discussion on whether Sunyani is a worthy candidate as the capital city of Ghana? A number of positives and negatives were identified, but in all, we realised it could be the capital of Ghana if enough thought, energy and planning is employed by our leaders.
Sunyani – better known as the Sun City, is simply a town to love. ;-)
2. A representative of the Youth Council implored us to really take part in the on-going biometric voter registration and actually go on to vote. No sitting on the fence. From his speech, I learnt that the word ‘youth’ is not found – not even once – in the 1992 constitution! Can you believe that?
3. Mr. Agbozo, a lecturer at the Catholic University, gave an insightful talk on Entrepreneurship. He shared the results of a survey he carried out in his class based on priorities and surprisingly, achievement was at the bottom while love was fourth. Even learning didn’t place. (No surprise for me.) Good news though is that, barcamp participants decided to change their attitude. This I believe would diffuse and take our youth by storm. Go Ghana!
The next speaker was the General Manager of Eusbett Hotel, Mr. Mensah. He also gave a lot of insight into where Sunyani has come from in terms of development and the opportunities still lurking around. I bet you a number of his ideas would see fruition by the close of the year.
The BloggingGhana crew was also there to talk on their #iRegistered campaign which seeks to cover the registration and voting processes via social media (blogs, tweets, Facebook, Google+, Instagram et cetera.)
4. During the breakout session, a number of topics were discussed:
  • How to develop the Sunyani Township?
  • What GTUG is all about?
  • How to keep Sunyani clean?
  • The (correct) use of Social Media
5. A GTUG coordinator, Jojoo Imbeah, demonstrated how culture can be fused into technology. He actually used the Mozilla Firefox browser in Akan!
6. The last, but definitely not the least highlight was when participants ended the event by singing the national Anthem, “God Bless our Homeland Ghana…”
Participants are of the view that, barcamp Sunyani should be held frequently. Taking into consideration the number of barcamps in the country, I would propose that it is organised twice in a year.
God be the oga, oshe!

Monday, August 29, 2011

ICT-related Reality Show?

For the past 5 years and over, 'reality shows' have become a main feature on Ghanaian television stations -- and enjoy massive patronage from the general public.
These reality shows, which are aimed at unearthing talents are mostly directed towards one industry -- the music industry. A few of them have targeted the football, business, comedy, and recently, body building.
I really don't have a problem with these reality shows, I only wish there was one geared towards ICT. This would go a long way of unearthing potentials in individuals which would further aid in the development of the burgeoning computer software industry in the country.
Recently, Google had a doodling competition for children in Ghana. The winners had their doodles displayed on the Google Ghana search page! I was thrilled and prayed for a day a reality show related to ICT would be organised in Ghana -- maybe by me -- when I can afford to. :-)
A cue to be taken is from Estonia -- the home of Skype -- and Garage48, which is a two-day workshop for computer programmers, who organise themselves into groups, and come out with a product at the end of the workshop. A workshop of this sort was organised in Accra early this year, and some innovative products were created.
To really develop and believe in our ICT infrastructure, I believe we need to empower ourselves an especially the youth, not just in the arts, but also in the sciences.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Am I ready?

A lot of young CS grads in Ghana – myself inclusive – hope to have their own start-ups after school. Others just want to be employed so they earn some income. The job market, however, is very competitive and the barrier of entry for start-ups is pretty daunting.
The real barrier in my opinion is the fact that most of us want to be perfect before we start our own enterprises or even bid for projects. How do you become perfect without practice?
I remember instances where I did get some projects to work on. I was scared of failure because I thought I was not ready. Guess what, as I started to work on the project, my skills sharpened and I gained new insight into Software Development.
Then comes the next fun-killer, (some) organizations not trusting in the abilities and skills of their young interns/employees, when they design software in-house. These organizations do not even test the software to ascertain its good and bad parts. They only want to buy software they feel is complete and professional – from well established vendors. Sometimes, these ‘so-called’ professional software do not even meet the requirements of the organizations!
This attitude dampens the spirit of these young, enthusiastic interns who literally ‘kill’ themselves to develop something.
It’s about time we start believing in our own folks’ abilities and inculcate the habit of testing in-house software so we get the right software to meet our requirements.
To my fellow yet-to-be developers/entrepreneurs, let’s not be afraid to be ‘thrown into the pool’. With determination and self-belief, we would stay afloat and conquer.
Let’s do it.