Memoirs from the Google Developers Festival (DevFest) Lagos 2018

On Saturday, November 3rd, 2018, thousands of developers and tech-savvy young adults attended the annual developer festival (DevFest) of sessions, workshops, training, code labs and much more.

DevFests (Developers Festival) are community-led, developer events hosted by Google Developer Group (GDG) chapters around the globe. This event is focused on community building and learning about Google’s technologies.

 

Find out what went down at the #DevFestLagos #DevFest18 organized by @gdglagos Click To Tweet

The Devfests which was launched  2007 had its first GDG Lagos Devfest event hosted in December 2013, and has been continuously become an annual event which developers around the globe anticipate.

Each DevFest is uniquely tailored to the needs of the developer community and the region that hosts it.

Just like several other years, this year’s Devfest Lagos was in clusters and had a collaboration of several chapters within the same region. There were several GDG chapters and Developer Student clubs by Google within the southwest region of Nigeria in attendance.

Ada Nduka Oyom – one of the organizers of the Dev-Fest  talks about her experience at the DevFest Lagos 2018:

Ada Nduka Oyom

“Knowing how far the entire team had come in preparations, it’s safe to say every session held was a highlight on its own. From having reputable speakers from Top Tech organizations like Google, Apollo, Andela, Interswitch, PayLater,  etc give insightful technical talks on several Technologies and products.

We also had a panel session on working remotely to help tailor one of the up and rising need for developers in Nigeria and Africa”.

 

“DevFest Lagos is always going to be an annual event and the 2019 event will be taking place on November 2nd, 2019. More information would definitely go out via our meetup page and twitter handle as we approach the date”, says Ada.

According to Ada, the DevFest 2018 Lagos chapter had about 2394 developers in attendance, with some participants coming in from other local GDG chapters outside Lagos.

Haven been actively involved in the developer community for a long while, she can attest to the growing network of developers in the Lagos chapter alone.

“ With several other developer events happening across Nigeria and Africa having attendees of 1000 or less, it’s always indicated the possibilities of us getting more. We just needed to bring them all in one place and that’s what we did”, she continues.

Ada is a software developer and Open source advocate who currently leads Developer relations at Interswitch group. She’s also the founder of She Code Africa and Open Source Community Africa where she’s focused on matters bothered around Women in tech and Open Source respectively.

At @gdglagos we knew we needed to bring all developers together in one place, and that's what we did - @Kolokodess #DevFestLagos #DevFest18 Click To Tweet

Many of the first time attendees were overwhelmed at how large the developer community was, and this was definitely a great networking opportunity for them to network with each other.

Attendees got access to speakers such as Lade Tawak –  a Design Researcher who has experience conducting strategic and evaluative user research in East Africa and West Africa and has worked on B2C & B2B products in various industries.

Lade Tawak

Lade spoke about why developers should be interested in the users of their products and gave practical steps for developers to take when it comes to understanding users.

During her session, Lade stressed about how developers are sometimes their own users.

Sandra Israel-Ovirih

Sandra Israel-Ovirih one of the facilitators and attendee of the DevFest shared her experience and highlights from the event.

“I had an amazing experience cause I got to meet other developers in the ecosystem and also learn about new improvements to technologies and the diverse ways developers are using Google technologies”.

Sandra facilitated a code lab on Firebase, where she taught participants how to use some features of Firebase in their web applications. By implementing and deploying a chat client using Firebase.

 

 

Below are her key highlights from the  Google DevFest.

  • Getting to speak to Kechy Eke, Product Manager at Firebase extensively about a certain side project and getting advice on how I could use ML Kit to achieve what a certain feature of the project.
  • Facilitating the code lab and getting feedback on my talk.
  • Seeing the Number of people gathered and eager to learn how to improve their skills and become better Developers.
  • Seeing companies that leverage on the ecosystem also give back heavily to the ecosystem.
I got to meet other developers in the ecosystem at the #DevFestLagos #DevFest18 by @gdglagos and also learn about new improvements to technologies - @SandraIsrael_O Click To Tweet

Besides learning about new tech and everything she mentioned above, Sandra’s key takeaway was realizing that the ecosystem of developers is growing fast and we need to organize meetups and groups to keep growing talent.

Sandra is a self-taught front-end Developer. She has experience in building beautiful and progressive web apps. She is enthusiastic about solving problems with technology through a combination of technical knowledge and a keen eye for design

Want to connect with other female developers and join the developers’ community? Sign up here.

See more photos from the Google DevFest Lagos 2018 below:


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CoLab Kaduna: Growing a community of IT Experts

CoLab is Kaduna’s first innovation hub and co-working space. The goal at CoLab is to grow a collaborative community of programmers, developers, designers, bloggers, graphic designers, photographers, entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and tech enthusiasts generally.

CoLab organizes some weekly and monthly events and programs to achieve these goals. Some of them include:

We want to attract attention back to Kaduna through technology - @CoLab_kd Click To Tweet

Code School

Code School is CoLab’s introduction to computer programming initiative that immerses users into the world of programming for the web with an introduction to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The whole course takes 5-7 weeks to complete and students are able to build simple sites upon completion.

Code School is built around the hypotheses that:

  • It is much easier to learn as a group as against learning as an individual.
  • It is important to learn how to code as part of a team. (This is a critical skill-set that employers look for.)

CoLab for Women

CoLab for Women is a platform that serves as a means to drive the adoption of technology by women and will also be a safe space for any sort of discussion among women.

This particular initiative is organized and run by women only. It has its meet ups once every month.

CoLab Elite

This is CoLab’s talent accelerator program which has been designed to fast-track intermediate developers into world-class talent.

If you already write code but keep wondering how to build projects, work with teams or follow global best practices, then CoLab Elite just might be what you need.

CoLab Weekly meetups

Meetups happen every weekend at CoLab where we cover topics that range from basic to very technical. They are usually free for all to attend.

If you want to learn about business, web or app development, machine learning, digital marketing, network or just play video and board games, you should attend one of our CoLab meetups.

If you would love to be a part of the awesome CoLab community, you can connect with CoLab on social media. Everyone and anyone is welcome to take a tour of the facilities anytime or attend any of the meetups.

Three things inspired CoLab:

 

1. Kaduna is ideal for a startup/technology hub. On the average, there is the better power supply in Kaduna than anywhere else in the country. The cost of living is low and basic infrastructure is available.

Another good thing about that region is that fast internet is esily accesible. Kaduna has a lot of talented young people. The state also has a number of tertiary institutions (which are an important factor in creating a pipeline for talent). It is also in close proximity to two key markets (Kano and Abuja) and can access a third, Lagos via air and train (for people and goods respectively).

2. Over time, the best IT people we had come across – programmers, network engineers, big data scientists, Internet of Things (IoT) hobbyists etc have been from around Kaduna.

However, very few of them understood the value of the skill(s) they had or had ever tried to apply it to solving actual problems.

3. Technology is the single biggest vehicle for taking people out of poverty and poverty in these part of the country is rampant.

CoLab intends to make this push by aiming to achieve 5 things:

 

1. Provide an environment that allows natural curiosity, fosters learning, and inspires creativity and innovation. CoLab has gone all out to make the space as aesthetically motivating as possible within budget constraints.

Given the right environment, smart people interacting with each other naturally tend to create cool stuff -@CoLab_kd Click To Tweet

Currently, CoLab’s facilities include two open indoor workspaces, a private meeting room, a conference room, two Outdoor workspaces (in view), internet, constant power supply and a modern library with paper books and kindles.

 

2. Offer high-level mentorship from both national and international mentors who have made an impact globally. The founders of CoLab believe a well-rounded education is a key to building a successful company.  They want to double down on not just ICT knowledge, but also everything required to succeed.

We currently have the ex-Director of Global Search at Yahoo as one of our international mentors, also the former Vice President of an Investment bank in the UK as another. Some of these mentorships and one on one sessions with mentors outside the country will take place virtually.

 

3. Train anyone interested in the ICT skills that are necessary to compete at an international level. We’re talking Code, UI & UX Design, Blogging, Content Creation, Digital Marketing, IoT etc. CoLab will cover recent tech languages and global best practices.

There is a high demand for these specific skills across the world, yet we have many who could easily fit into such positions, with some training. Most of these roles can be filled remotely, i.e having people work for companies across the world from CoLab… However, we are not pushy about them remaining domiciled here.

 

4. Beyond training, CoLab intends to go a step further by linking its community members with jobs and opportunities, both remote and physical from across the country and globally.

The best way to break the mentality that the only way to earn a living is via a structured, salaried job (civil service, banks, etc.) which is prevalent in this region is to actually link people up with an alternate means to earn a living.

 

5. Lastly, CoLab wants to build an in-house team of the best brains to tackle national and global problems. We want to attract attention back to Kaduna and show people how to be profitable through technology.

Our subscription fees were decided by the public and have no bearing on what it’ll cost to set up fully.

The long-term goal is to make Kaduna as a whole, an IT hub, the go-to place in Nigeria when there is an IT need. Who knows? It may be the next India. 


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