One on One Session with Beth Wangari – Africa Code Event participant

  1. What inspired you to participate in the program.

When I learnt about this great opportunity I swiftly presented my application stating my passion for coding and zeal to learn new Microsoft technology. I also have friends who have participated in various international conferences. One of them travelled to Mexico for the Internet Society 2016 and another in Grace Hopper Conference (GHC 2016) in USA, this made me desire a similar experience.

  1. What did you learn?

At the Hackathon I learnt how to code using C# language, mobile app design thinking, user interfaces, and I even had the opportunity to understand more about Model View Controller. After these lessons we were put into groups and tasked to develop solutions that address SDGs with the skills earned. In our group we developed an application called Jamii App. Jamii App is intended to help countries achieve SDG 11 by providing university students with volunteer opportunities so that they support sustainable cities and communities, it achieves this by creating awareness of volunteer opportunities to university students.

  1. What were the other participants like?

We had girls from South Africa, Egypt and of course Kenya. The participants from these countries were very friendly and ready to share. Although there was a little language barrier, we learnt to get along and appreciate one another. They were also very inspiring, and they encouraged me come up with unique solutions to problems my country is faced with. As a result of our interaction I was also highly motivated to learn more about Microsoft and their work here in the country.

  1. How helpful was the training to you?

My time in Egypt was worthwhile; as I was able to network with experts in the field of Computer Science. Based on my skills and interests, one of the presenters advised me to focus on being a software engineer rather than a developer because when you are an engineer you get to understand the problem and use engineering principles to solve them. This was a good insight. They also could not emphasize enough the need to understand one computer language and perfect on it.

  1. What is it that was unique during the training and the visit as well?

It was my first time to board a flight; the experience was amazing while the service was outstanding. During training, the ideas from participants in the different countries were original and quite unique which was very rewarding. After the training we had the opportunity to tour different sites. I had the chance to ride in the Red Sea and desert, it was just spectacular!

  1. How do you plan on using the skills at your place of work or community?

I want to write a blog to document my experience in Africa Hackthon event and also share the skills earned with friends and associates at our technology club meetings.

  1. Would you encourage other women to pursue Computer Science related fields?

Of course I will. And I will refer to Nelson Mandela who said when you educate a woman you educate the whole community. Computer Science gives women an opportunity to be part and parcel of the changing world and also allows them to create technologies that are beneficial to the society.

I greatly thank Microsoft Corporation and ACWICT for the life time opportunity. I will cherish the experience and ensure to share the lessons learnt widely so that I too can inspire and mentor others.