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We have no shortage of talent in Zimbabwe, in fact we have some of the smartest people in Africa, but when it comes to proving it with results, we fall short. The solutions we are rolling out of our development houses are not of the standard one would aspire to. Why is that? I think that there are three main factors which are affecting our developers and hindering them from producing the quality of solutions we see on the internet.
Most artistic genres are characterized by some sort of tutelage or mentoring. The best way to learn is from someone who has done it right. As a development community, we could benefit by learning the ropes from more experienced people. This is why it’s important for organisations to send their developers to conferences and training sessions. There, they can form critical relationships and networks. Theoretical knowledge from Google and stackoverflow can only take you so far. It helps to have someone you can Skype with and have a 30 minute discussion about the best way to implement a multi-tenant database or something like that.
Our local developers lack just about all of the resources that they need. It is a well known business principle that you have to spend money to make money, but when it comes to developers our companies are reluctant to loosen the purse strings. It is shocking that in this day and age, you will find developers from some noteworthy companies working on a $300 desktop with 2GB of RAM and really bad internet. Companies have to appreciate that they need to invest in their developers in order to get results.
The organisational structures in most companies do not provide critical support roles for developers. Roles like architects, IT project managers and designers are often non-existent and you will find the developer wearing all three hats. Local businesses need to appreciate the importance of these roles and how their absence is contributing to the quality of the products they get. The problem with our software cannot be solved by addressing these three issues alone, and they are not small issues we can solve in a day, but addressing this or at least having a discussion around it would be a great start towards achieving that objective. We need to have a candid discussion about how we can advance our technology space to global standards and nurture developers who can produce world-class solutions.
These solutions will also help developers get used to international practice as they brace themselves for the job opportunities that will be coming their way going forward.
About Guest Author Munyaradzi Mafi
Munyaradzi Mafi is a moody millennial who is passionate about developing awesome software and teaching others how its done. He enjoys reading, writing, founding startups and sharing knowledge on everything and anything. When he isn’t wrecking havoc, he fools around with AI, Mobile Apps, Enterprise Apps and other buzzwords he finds on the Internet.
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