Why programming is not everyones piece of cake

With the digital age of computers, new solutions have to be carefully thought, designed and then developed to meet the demand of clients. Majorly this is done through software development. Basically programming. This is usually a process of writing and implementing sets of computer instructions to allow a computer do certain tasks. Not as easy as it sounds, furthermore everyone gives instructions every day.

All my schooling life, having loved networks and system support tasks, it never crossed my mind that I could sit a whole day doing a job in programming. It is now one of my many interests though. The reality dawned on me when I was introduced to the World Meteorological team of developers who are developing a climate data management system called Climsoft. I have been part of this team for a couple of weeks now and this week's task was to demonstrate how possible it is to embed a map on a windows form with markers showing locations as it happens in Google maps.

It has been a challenging learning experience to find out this is possible. I had to research on the possibilities which exist on this task which took a number of days to come up with a solution. I was also involved in other activities at African Maths Initiative including giving talks to students and running the African data Initiative campaign. Therefore I had to cover up for the time at night, sleep late, wake up early to make sure this is done.

Having a great mentor Ian Edwards, the UK Meteorology department software consultant, I was able to figure out what I could use to accomplish the mapping task through his help. I settled on using the GMap.Net.

This came with many challenges, starting from setting up my Gmap.Net, working late and a demanding steep learning curve since this is a language I'm learning as well. Further, when writing code all day, if nothing is working right it gives you multiple headaches. Through this experience I have realized that being a programmer requires you to be creative, patient and be ready to learn all the time as well as being a real smart problem solver.

A one in a life time experience at African Maths Initiative

Finding something to do is the first thing that comes in the mind of every final year student once they complete their studies.  It has not been easy for me as well and I was walking around with my head filled with thoughts of the same. Luckily enough, I met people who changed my thoughts completely, to finding somewhere to learn and build skill sets: The African Maths Initiative.

It was a learning experience every day I spent time at the African Maths Initiative office working on different things. Among the things I am currently working on is the development of a climatic data management system called Climsoft. As an Information technologist, software development is one of the things you can’t avoid. It happens to be among my interests. The whole of this week, I have been tasked to come up with a demonstration of how to use Maps on a desktop application on a programming language I rarely use, Vb.Net. Through my long volunteering experience at African Maths Initiative, I have gained the trait of learning how to learn. The most invaluable skill I got now. Over the whole of this week, I have been able to accomplish the task and I feel happy to make a contribution to a mega project that will impact the whole world, everywhere the software will be used.

More to that I have been able to learn much more that will build my skill sets to make me more competent in the things I do. More to that I feel humbled to be making contributions to things that will have an impact to somebody’s life somewhere in a positive way. I hope to do much more, learn more and impact more lives.