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Letter From A Techzim Reader. Thought We Should Share His Story

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We don’t say this enough but we appreciate all our readers here. We don’t always meet your expectations but that is what drives us to work everyday. We appreciate every form of feedback we get. It’s humbling when that feedback is to the effect that we have been a positive influence on you.

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This was the case today when we got an email from Gift Marimo a self taught developer. It made us call him and ask for permission to publish his email. Here’s what he wrote us:

Hie Techzim.

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My name is Gift Marimo. l am 24 years old and l am the founder of a software development company called Codel Systems with a website (www.codel.co.zw). l am a self-taught software developer who started the journey of software development early 2016. I started Codel in mid 2016 and incorporated it in mid 2017 here in Zimbabwe.

Currently Codel is employing 5 software developers including me, 1 marketing personnel and 1 graphic designer equal to 7. I decided to focus more on latest technologies like blockchain, IoT, AI, Machine Learning, Big Data. On blockchain Codel team is developing a framework that can allow local developers to build blockchain and Decentralised Apps (DApps). We are doing this because we want local developers to have access to locally developed intelligent frameworks whether virtually or physically, but most preferable is physical access because we still have a challenge of developers who are not capable to deliver high quality modern technology apps.

We are also doing thorough researches on key sectors that blockchain can be used to improve the sectors. One of it being healthcare sector, we are documenting decentralised solutions that could cause the improvement of our healthcare sector. l worked in healthcare sector for over 20 months as an IT technician and a web developer and the conditions there as far as infrastructures to record crucial data on real time is concerned are really not impressive at all. We are also working on solutions that can connect Zimbabwe and Africa to the internet of things (IoT).

I believe that access to updated information and libraries should not be that expensive especially access to educative information. I am not happy with our education system, its way too theoretic. STEM has been introduced but can we talk of “Technology” without introducing coding as a compulsory subject from early learners like zero grades? Coding is like any other native language like Shona or Ndebele hence the need to introduce it to learners at early stage just like teaching the toddler to say “Sadza – Tada”.

5G is around the corner, it will improve the speed of connectivity by a remarkable percentage as compared to the current hence we should be ready to embrace that and use it to implement improvements in our education systems and businesses. I believe that Codel will become successful on its plans to develop education systems that will connect every learner from down to top everywhere regardless of geo-location. I believe that we are the key objects that can thrust our economy forward by changing the operating models as Zimbabweans.

Currently we are building 3 mobile applications, I will come back with detailed explanation when closer to launch date. The one is a partial solution to transport problems, the other one is the solution to financial service and the other one is a pretty solution to general retail space. What we are trying to achieve is just bringing convenience to everyone through executing operations on finger tips. We want to push mobile economy to the limits so that everyone learns technology by using it. The platforms will create employment and give a lot of value to end-users. Since there is no longer a need to carry a computer around – mobile phones are becoming better than computers, we have to bring even complex operations to a mobile device so that everywhere could be a workspace. Well enough of introducing Codel.

My main concern as a software developer is having more developers who are capable of developing our nation through software. Every business has became a software business, whether transport, retail, food, healthcare, education, agriculture. Business models are being re-written by software and the journey is just starting. The journey is not short and will never be easy but it can only be achievable by having equipped people ready to make the journey a reality. The biggest investment I prefer to be done is the investment in young people especially those in the tech space. When they are fully equipped with – especially software development skills, ideas will never end. I also mentioned the issue of investing in young people who are in tech space when I attended a Youth Forum which was held at Rainbow Towers in February this year and i will continue to mention the issue.

Let me cut my story here but I want to end it by thanking you Techzim team for giving us a platform to get latest tech news. I started following Techzim around 2013 and that is when I started to have an interest in technology due to your rich posts. Keep up the good work team, Africa needs people like you.

Thank you Gift, we wish you well and we look forward to be publishing the amazing stories around the work you are doing. Thank you Techzim community…


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15 thoughts on “Letter From A Techzim Reader. Thought We Should Share His Story

  1. I feel humbled by Gift’s feedback and somehow compelled to share my own testimony through following Techzim. I will not say a lot today, but TechZim, you rock! you ignited the creativity in me as well, may be not just me but in others who have not shared their testimonies. THANK YOU!

    1. Thanks a lot Charles. The feedback really helps: all of it, good and bad. In fact we don’t believe there’s anything called bad feedback. We need the feedback because sometimes all we do is shoot in the dark and hope we are being helpful or relevant.

      Hope to hear your story soon and perhaps share it with the world if you’d let us

  2. Coding coding…software business is easy come easy go its an ove subscrbed industry….if you have done harware design ie embedded systems u will know from a business perspective software is much more volatile than hardware whichis why predoninantly sofware companies like google and microsoft buy into hardware because they know relying on software alone is tricky. So to all techies out there invest your brains into harware as well and mags must focus on hardware as well.

    1. I strongly disagree with you Tawanda. As connectivity increases software is increasing in importance. North America alone has a deficiency of close to 2 million developers that’s why if you check Techzim articles over the past 3 months you will find multiple of them talking about different companies from across the globe looking for developers to outsource jobs to.

      Every other product/service is interfacing with customers via software. Just by looking at AirBnB, Uber, Spotify, Netflix…. you see the trend of where things are going. We haven’t touched on IoT yet.

      By saying companies like Google are going into hardware I suppose you mainly say that because of the Google Home right? The Google Home or Amazon Echo, Apple Hope Pod… are not so much about the hardware but about the software. Things are going to voice and that is what these companies are actually building. Their business model is not to sell speakers but to integrate the home through voice recognition and responsive software.

      1. All I can say is that software alone (mobile apps and websites) will not solve our country’s problems. We need infrastructure and hardware. Otherwise without the infrastructure, we are just pretending.
        Africa needs more than just software right now. That’s just the truth.

        1. Yes infrastructure is important. I maintain disagreement with Tawanda though in that he says software development is oversubscribed. He also says software is not sustainable as a business. Not true

        2. I agree with you. Personally, I think we need more startups in Food processing, agric mechanisation, mineral processing and civil engineering than in I.T. Most of our big problems are due to our lack of exports. I’m not saying I.T will not solve this, but there has been to much emphasis on I.T startups as we try to copy Kenya and Silicon Valley but yet we could be the centre of agri processing, mining and manufacturing innovation. Such startups could greatly improve our exports.

          1. With this I agree totally. Tech enables business to scale in new and exciting ways but it is not necessarily the solution itself. I see IT as a cross cutting issue and every business as a tech company.

            As much as Uber is a tech company it is a transportation company and Amazon a retail and logistics company. Tech just enabled those businesses to scale in a huge and global way.

            If we are to be an agro-processing powerhouse then we must leverage ICT to distribute better than everyone else not just produce more than everyone else

  3. This is one of the numerous articles of late I’ve come across where coding and s/w in general are being touted as the “solution for the future” etc with others even suggesting toddlers should be trained in it. I think this is downright naive and dangerous. Not everyone should be given the keys to the global nukes!!
    I don’t know how many readers out there are aware that s/w development is now modelled along proven hardware manufacturing processes because of the reliability & flexibility of the latter compared to the former? S/W failure is much more prevalent & costly than H/W failure and interfacing the two seamlessly is where the future lies. So, in my view, cutting code, whilst important, will be meaningless if a developer is very deficient in understanding the operation of the underlying technology. Currently, this is the biggest challenge the world over. There are a lot of “average” developers but industry requires above-average well-rounded knowledge and skills, i.e cutting code plus other add-on skills like analysis, testing. design, code review, project management, documenting etc. I wish this would come out more clearly so that the ignorance is dissipated somewhat. I can give some few examples – a developer who 1) doesn’t know the role of an operating system, 2) who does not understand the SDLC 3) who is not skilled in analysis or design 4) who does not have troubleshooting skills to support a product. The recent challenges in the Zimbabwe mobile & financial sector clearly reveals this s/w deficiency very profoundly.
    On another note, if “programming” taken in its simplest form, means writing an application that directs robots to pick-up iron rods in an assembly plant and arrange them in one part of a warehouse and the programmer fails to debug the program and the robots end up slamming the humans in that warehouse with the metal rods, who will be morally liable for such gross incompetence?….just like the autonomous vehicle which hit a pedestrian recently…..the struggle out there is the fact that people are equipped with highly advanced technology in their hands but with bottomless ignorance of using it.

    1. This is turning into quite an interesting debate. Maybe one that we should cover more extensively.
      The problem with a debate however, is that it then introduces an ‘either…or’ mentality. I think you nailed it Sagitarr when you talked about the integration of software and hardware and other skills like project management. Nothing in the world is really mutually exclusive to the rest of the world and maybe we should stop the siloed view about things.

      PS: I still disagree with Tawanda though…

  4. you know what Tinashe, l started to think exactly as you replied to Tawanda before l read you reply to him. you are on point and thats actually what is happening. the whole world is running on software, even infrastructure isnt that much important because of IaaS. you can run the entire ERP system on the web. lets focus on creating software because we know that there are low barriers to entry in software development that hardware development. you can come up with the best SaaS at absolutely no cost.

  5. My point is not meant to say hardware is not important but i am saying software can lift us as far as our economic situation is concerned. look at India, those guys has learnt software development and India is starting to get better, yes of course not because of software only but software contributing. Big number of workers on Google, Facebook and so on are Indians, obviously they are returning money back to their economy and building it. That is another way of building the economy. I didn’t hear much about shortage of hardware developers but companies around the world are always cry about software developers including Zimbabwe.

  6. Agreed. S/W engineering is one aspect to develop the economy. If we take your Indian example, Gift, remember they have also made inroads into Space Technology and Automobile Technology? H/W engineering is usually years ahead of S/W engineering but yeah, for every H/W engineer, there will be hundreds of S/W engineers. You will find that out at University. In industry Mechanical and Electrical/Electronic Engineering graduates find it easier to enter the S/W engineering field than the reverse. Just bear in mind that electricity has to be generated and is a very fundamental part of S/W engineering we almost forget about it or take it for granted. Software relies entirely on hardware to be productive.

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