Friday June 13 2014

from students to innovators

A Thought Works employee facilitating at one of

A Thought Works employee facilitating at one of the Level Up sessions. PHOTO BY jonathan adengo 

By Jonathan Adengo

Students of Makerere University were hosted to a seven-week training programme by Thoughtworks, Kampala. The training taught students the best practices in software building as part of the company’s capacity building strategy.

The training, termed Level Up sought to bridge the gap between the software industry and academics. The candidates who were shortlisted based on their relative knowledge of programming. These were able to get those students who had relative knowledge of software programming.

Crucial training
More than 24 students from Makerere University benefitted from the training that taught them, among other things, to put into practice, what they studied in their various courses. The principles covered included, test driven development, using Github, and android programming among others. Farooq Seruwu, a fourth year student and finalist of software engineering at Makerere University, shares that he learnt a lot about web frameworks which is used for building web applications. He says he is using that knowledge in building his app that will be used for patients with diabetes. “This will mainly help patients to understand the sugar levels,” he says.

Test driven development
Others students like Timothy Asiimwe, a finalist of Electrical Engineering at Makerere, says he learnt about test driven development which can be used to create checks and balances in your work. “While programming, it’s necessary to build tests for every development made. This will prevent you from going back to recreate your work,” he says.

Such training helps to improve the software that Ugandans are building to be able to solve some of the problems we face today.
“We followed up the kick-off with seven Saturdays of training at Thoughtworks Kampala. Each weekend had a similar pattern. We would begin the day with an interactive lecture on a given topic.

In the afternoon, the participants would practice the techniques as a group while working on the class project. The Thoughtworks lunches made for a great opportunity to not just ‘talk tech’ but to also build bonds that we believe will outlast the training,” says Raymond Matovu, the coordinator of the programme.

The background

The projects were meant to count towards the students’ class record. The focus was originally on completion, quality and best practices. The organisation aims to maintain this goal.