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Opinion: The State of Software Development in Tanzania

Discussion in 'Tech, Gadgets & Science Forum' started by ub16, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. ub16

    ub16 JF-Expert Member

    #1
    Feb 21, 2015
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    TLDR? Summary: We need to up our game

    DISCLAIMER: This post is inspired by just a simple Google search. I'm not perfect in whatever I say hapa chini, I have many shortcomings listed hapo kama wengine ila ni mchango wangu tu kwa leo. Everything written here ni mtazamo wangu binafsi, not representing any organization.

    Source Control and Open Source

    1. According to http://www.codeafrica.org Tanzania has 244 registered github users(as of 1/1/2015) which is 1.98% of all Africans on github; and it's hard to swallow that.

    Github is not the only source control but even ukiangalia presence yetu bitbucket na Github which are the biggest public source control sites tupo nyuma.

    So either developers wetu wana private source control systems in place or we are not using source control kabisa(which is bad, like really bad).

    2. I think kuna so many people who open sourced their projects wakiwa na matumaini ya kupata support from watanzania wengine lakini tumewafelisha. Back in 2009 I met someone who was remastering Ubuntu for Tanzanians akawa anaongezea all important plugins and packages to make it easier kwa mtu wa kawaida kuitumia out of the box,

    He went further kuanza kutranslate it into swahili but hata kusaidia hilo tulishindwa. Many swahili translations groups in open source softwares are flooded with Kenyans(no offense but we are better at swahili than them).

    The same is true to applications developers leo humu, wengine instead of improving what is already in progress wanachukua kilichopo na kuanzisha kingine.

    Disclaimer 1:
    I'm self proclaimed ambassador wa open source software
    Disclaimer 2: Some open source projects failed hazikusikika sana

    3. https://github.com/showcases/made-in-africa , hii website ina projects zilizotengenezwa Africa, more than half are from Kenya, if not all.

    Kwa haraka naona developers wengi wa TZ wanajua PHP(which I suck at it big time) kuna projects nzuri za PHP kama hii ya CodeForAfrica/GotToVote ambayo we can use it mwaka huu wa uchaguzi and for once tukatengeneza(not really, but repurpose) something that is not another buy/sell site


    Online Practice/Competition sites

    1. This is not common sana but I used to use http://www.hackerrank.com and Sphere Online Judge (SPOJ) to brush my skills, and all sites zina leaders board, it will be good to see people from Tanzania.

    Kwangu mimi those 2 sites are the best places to improve coding skills and huwa wanahost competitions time to time. They support many languages pia, you just have to choose your favorite.

    Homegrwon Software and Talents

    1. Kuna application zimekuwa born and made in TZ, some have been brought to life by taking some popular services and specializing them for Tanzania.

    Wanasema "necessity is the mother of all inventions", na TZ I think tuna necessities nyingi that we haven't seen them as opportunities,

    Mfano: Most phones in TZ will never see an OS update because manufactures don't care, it could be an opportunity to make custom ROMS etc Tuna so many other needs that we can count them kama opportunities (some of them are hindered na ukosefu wa APIs <ahem>M-Pesa<ahem>)

    But sio kila kitu lazima kiingize pesa, doing something good for other people counts, unatengeneza jina, portfolios, and maybe tutapunguza kampuni zetu ku-outsource kazi to Kenya or India wakiona matunda ya kazi zetu.

    2. Personal congrats to everyone anayesaidia kusukuma gurudumu la teknohama kwa kufundisha na kutafuta vipaji, I salute you all and God bless you na kazi zenu zizae matunda.

    My last 2 cents: If only JF app for iOS worked ili niweze kupata notification, since November naambiwa a fix is in the works.
     
  2. Mgumu04

    Mgumu04 JF-Expert Member

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    Feb 21, 2015
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    thanx to gives us your views
     
  3. Smartbrain

    Smartbrain Senior Member

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    Feb 21, 2015
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    Kwa uchunguzi nliafanya juu juu nimekundua wanafunzi wengi wa IT wanaotoka vyuon huwa wanakua na mwanga au ujuz mzuri tu kuhusu programming kutokana na kufundishwa programming languages mbalimbali wanapokua vyuoni.

    Ila tatizo ni kwamba wengi wanakosa support ya kuendeleza ujuzi walio nao the end of the day wanaona kama programming ni kupoteza mda.
     
  4. deejaywillzz

    deejaywillzz JF-Expert Member

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    Feb 21, 2015
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    Bila kusahau wengine wanatoka na ujuzi wa theory sababu walikuwa wanasoma ili wapate 98%,100% na sio ujuzi wa ku apply in real world.

    Na wanakuwa wamekomalia walichofundishwa bila ya kuanglia upande mwingine wa shilingi ili wanape opinion tofauti kwa source nyingine.
     
  5. Msamiati

    Msamiati R I P

    #5
    Feb 21, 2015
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    ub16 Nakubaliana na wewe kwa 100%, tena ukizingatia kuna fulsa nyingi sana kwenye hii industry ambazo bado hazijatumika hapa TZ. Ahsante kwa kutuamsha ngoja tujiongeze.

    Ila ushauri mwingine mtu kama wewe unaweza ukaanzisha Community based project ukatuinvite baadhi yetu hapa jukwaani tukawa na thread yetu stick, pengine tukifanya project moja kubwa, itaongeza hamasa kwa wengine.

    Halafu hili ndio tatizo lengine watu ambao tayari tupo kwenye field hatuna maajabu, inawapunguzia morali waliopo nyuma yetu matokeo yake kilasiku tutaendelea kuwa vilaza na tegemezi, Kama wakenya hawatuwezi kabisa.

    Let us team up.
     
  6. Mgumu04

    Mgumu04 JF-Expert Member

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    Point kubwa watu aji ogranise pamoja as a community na watengeneze team ya developers shida ni kwamba wengi wanapoanzisha hata hizi team huwa wanalenga big output/matarajio makubwa kwa kampuni itamletea utajiri mkubwa ndani ya wiki moja.
     
  7. ub16

    ub16 JF-Expert Member

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    Feb 21, 2015
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    You just nailed the snake's head, that is the biggest problem.
     
  8. zech

    zech JF-Expert Member

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    Feb 23, 2015
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    TL;DL unedited as well so may contain redundant text and pointless shit
    ub16 It is not easy to have a "digital economy" if almost 100% of your programmers are still coding in PHP and Java.

    Don't get me wrong i love Java a lot but it is too 'enterprise-(ish)' i mean what can you do quickly with Java?, yes you could make android apps but you have to be so bold to start a non android 'product' on java, first because it will take too long from concept to shipping, and you know start-ups thrive on shipping time, If a product take too long your team will lose interest.

    Java is perfect for enterprise applications but in my time doing java i have never had that 'open source' contribution mentality simply because somehow i felt like java is more suited for private projects that belong to clients, this could also be a reason we don't have many 'githubers '.

    Android development would thrive in Tanzania if our 'telecom operators' could have marketed their payment systems properly, Despite vodacom's claims that there are millions of m-pesa users, there's still something missing which could really attract developers. They should market their m-pesa/tigo-pesa etc in similar ways Safaricom did in Kenya.

    eg In Kenya you can go to a bar, buy beer and pay with MPesa, or you can actually go to a nightclub and pay entrance fee with mpesa, that sort of availability would open up a lot of application ideas.

    PHP,I Know i am going to upset a lot of guys here but PHP's weakness is its simplicity and its support for 'bad habbits'. Most of you (php guys here) actually learned php without even noticing that you were actually learning a programming language because php was not properly designed,

    and when you were learning it, you probably never even come across anything related to 'version control', so this itself is also the main reason we have 1.98% of github users while you can see we have so many php guys. MOST OF THEM DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT GIT IS.

    PHP also doesn't inspire a "start-up culture", it kind of makes you wanna design websites and not real products, that's why you will see web designers hand code their portfolio sites with php and it feels okay to them.

    In my opinion if you are just creating a normal website for your company why handcode it with php while you could use a cms?(i don't mean downloading wordpress themes) if there are going to be more features that a cms can't support then maybe you can handcode it.

    People do this because with php thats what it makes you feel like doing, it doesn't make you feel like you are actually a software engineer who can create amazing products. Just ask yourself what was your process of learning php?

    most of PHP learning involves, first have wamp/lamp/xammp then create a folder in htdocs/www directory, create index.php, go to php myadmin, create db, create a connection.php file, ..... and most of us followed similar paths when we were learning php

    Here's the path you go through when making a rails project, install ruby, then install rails, understand what application server & web server you are going to use, database engine (mysql/sqlite3/postgres/mongo etc), create a new rails project, initialize a git repository, commit your changes and push your code, then write failing tests, make them pass by writing code etc etc,

    you can see that just from the beginning some proper practices are being instilled in you that's why you will never see a person create a personal site using rails unless it is just for the sake of learning, It would be an overkill, same process applies when you learn Python and Nodejs.

    So what am I trying to say here? I think PHP guys need to get out of their comfort zone and learn a real language, Java guys too (but in their case they should learn a more modern language that can help them think differently and create products other than bible & dictionary android apps, we have plenty of those already for christ sake!).

    As a programmer you have to be a polyglot. If i am in a community that's filled with php developers there's a big possibility nothing is getting done,

    however if you are in a community where you have some nodejs, ruby, python devs you know for sure that first of all these guys went out of their comfort zone to learn these languages because the are not taught in schools and that's a sign of a great community that can actually push the nation forward.

    Most of these guys actually are also very active and are contributing to OSS, I have a friend in Arusha who is even contributing to the Ruby on Rails project and he's Tanzanian.

    NB: Governement intervation could also work but making swahili the main teaching language in schools is a punk move. It only shows that we are going to have less developers because?, just try coding in swahili plus so many other things that are worth a new post themselves.
     
  9. Stefano Mtangoo

    Stefano Mtangoo Verified User

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    Feb 23, 2015
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    Lets see Edu Syllabus for our colleges and you can't blame them!
     
  10. zech

    zech JF-Expert Member

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    So what are your views on the government's decision to make kiswahili the main teaching languages in all levels? What do you think will be the impacts of this? do you think it will make us better or worse? Do you think its appropriate to ask here or do you think this itself deserves to have its own thread?
     
  11. Stefano Mtangoo

    Stefano Mtangoo Verified User

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    Summary: The Policy is a failure!
     
  12. ub16

    ub16 JF-Expert Member

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    zech couldn't agree more, especially about getting out of comfort zones to learn new languages and thinking different + doing different things.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2016
  13. n

    nijothemaster JF-Expert Member

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    Mimwenyewe naelekea hukohuko..(ntachukua course hizo)...lkn ninachoona mtu mwenye ujuzi wa IT si wakusubiri ajila au support kabla haja fanya kitu kwa bure(kujitolea)..haina tofauti na usanii...kipaji matters sio kazi hiyo.NI GAME..we have to play smarter..but watanzania kwakua tunajua kidogo tu tunaona tunajua vyote...we are 1000 feet back in technology..twende mdogo mdogo tu tutafika, teknolojia sawa na upadre nikujitolea kuweka maisha salama ili twende mbinguni...TUJITOLEE TU KWA LILE TUJUALO KURAHISISHA MAISHA ILI TWENDE MBINGUNI....narudia tena IT,computer science and engineering ni USANII...hivo tucheze na game linavo enda...........by computer engineer to come
     
  14. S

    Software Engineer JF-Expert Member

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    Feb 24, 2015
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    Duuuhh,
    Hii mada ni very interesting.
     
  15. Third Eye

    Third Eye JF-Expert Member

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    Jul 3, 2017
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    I found this thread today, July 3rd, 2017. What was written a few years back it is still relevant in today's software company in Tanzania. I work in one of leading software and marketing company in Tanzania.

    What I noticed is;

    1. The majority of out of college students are not practical trained, to find a decent programmer, they must have been a bit curious and learned for themselves. Hence, the fix should start at the education systems.
    2. We must be able to differentiate the software programming/development and as a business. Developing a product is one thing, to market your product is as challenging as finding a virgin Uwanja wa Fisi. Most of these programmers, either want to do it solo or with their fellow programmers. The problem with this practice is, for a successful business you can't be good at developing, good at marketing and able to look after the company money by yourself. It just doesn't work that way.
    3. Lack of investment in Tech industry. It is hard to create a better product if you have unpaid bills. And as for all software business, they take the time to complete and even longer to bring in sales.
    4. Nobody cares about programmers. It's hard to get best talents if there is no even a competition to assess them. There is a need to at least have some competitions and opportunities for young talents because that way we can attract even more people to join the club.
     
  16. Upepo wa Pesa

    Upepo wa Pesa JF-Expert Member

    #16
    Jul 4, 2017
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    Very interesting topic.
     
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