Practice makes perfect programmers, not just reading books- johnson
Young computer science graduates and undergraduates respectively, need the opportunity to practise what they have learnt from books, to be more productive and relevant in today’s programming ecosystem, said Yetunde Johnson, founder of Lighthouse Hub.
Johnson who doubles as the managing director of Slingshot Technologies Limited told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek at the Hub located in Obalende, Lagos State, that the country must support initiatives that would enable young IT graduates to have hands-on experience, that will make them more employable too.
According to her, the current ICT curriculum in Nigeria needs critical review to meet the standards of contemporary industrial IT requirements, citing Google requirements for Internship, as showing a wide margin from the curriculum used in Nigeria.
“You can’t use the programming language, for instance, that we used to learn many years ago to teach present day undergraduates.“Also, though the curriculum may be in dire need of review, what happens to present day graduates and those yet to graduate who are following the current curriculum. We cannot just tell them what they have is of no use. How do we add value. It doesn’t make any sense, because if we start reviewing the curriculum today, it could take up to 10 years to get it done”, she said,”We need to put something in place that will add value to their academic training and enable them to become value adding potential employees”.
Johnson said that the Lighthouse Hub, established barely one and half years ago, is attempting to fill the gap by creating an internship curriculum that enables hands-on experience of working with current technology innovations, working within a corporate like environment and adding useful soft skills that are key to business, work and life.
She added they provide an environment to mentor, train and guide IT startups, professionals and entrepreneurs along a pathway to success, limiting their business risk, but encouraging innovation.
The Lighthouse Founder, however cautioned the youths against showing blind eyes to opportunities as they come by, because now a day there are many free opportunities to gain experience and be trained targetted at young people.
She added that IT graduates must understand, though having a degree is an advantage, however, the IT ecosystem is inclined to individuals that couple theory with practical experience.
“We need to give credit to ourselves and accept the little things we make here. The Nigerian raw human resource is incredible when exposed to relevant and appropriate mentoring and training. I know a young man who makes shoes of extremely high quality. For him to make sales, he had to use a made in Italy stamp. Now, the shoes were made in Nigeria but Italy takes the credit.
“This is one reason we are partnering with a lot of organisations to do a lot of things that compliment the skills that young entrepreneurs leading startups and those seeking to be professionals in the IT arena, would need. One of the things we are planning is a six weeks intensive ‘You-Learn’ programme. If you are a programmer you can’t succeed by reading books alone. Our young people need the complimentary practical approach to doing things”, the Lighthouse founder said.
“The Hub,” said Irene Ademola, the business coordinator, “accommodates everybody no matter how large or small your business could be. We have The Hub, the Co-Working Area and the serviced offices. The intention was to use the hub to create a community of those who are just coming up or who are being mentored or interning with us and those who are already SMEs or established professionals.
“They will be given access to an environment that will encourage them to focus on the development of the appropriate skills and business development. . We made it flexible for networking beyond your own ‘kind’ of people- that is, those outside your immediate business circles, but those who could assist you to grow, climb the ladder or to attain success. This is the environment that the Lighthouse wants to create, one that allows the young and experienced to meet, join hands and grow.
“Being a member of the hub guarantees you the platform to access the meeting rooms for an allocated period of time.
“It is our way of making life comfortable for small businesses. You can actually conduct your training/ seminars too. It is a small community with a great vision for businesses in the IT ecosystem”.