On Monday during the iHub’s fortnightly Show and Tell, we caught up with Topher Kanyuga, a Green member, who describes himself as ‘old’ at only 23. (He is referring to the fact his first interaction with coding was at 18.) Topher wants to set up a Code Camp for kids. His desire is for “kids to be exposed earlier to coding, designing, - all of it!.
His first interaction with coding was at 18. I prompt him that he’s not too old to have started learning – he counters by saying that most of he code basics you learn are concepts young people can get easily if exposed to it. Topher gives the example that currently what is taught in classrooms is outdated and is not as good as it can be in terms of the content itself and how one is taught.
“It would be good if one had a general programming base first – not just a language – this gives you problems later when you need to learn another language,” he says.
He’s willing to work with other members of the community to set up Code Camp for kids. "The techie community can teach kids over the holiday – exposing them to software earlier," he says.
“The earlier you expose kids to code – the more they can also challenge what they’re learning in Universities. And hopefully, this trickles down to the industry,” he adds.
During the Show and Tell, he got to tell us more about his experience at the iHub.
So, tell us about yourself?
I’m still a student at University of Nairobi, in my 4th year – Electrical Engineering.
Wait, Electrical Engineering?
I really like coding and its my passion – I did engineering because I wanted to go beyond just code and go into hardware as well. I started with Java and when I entered University, I discovered PHP and that’s what I’ve been doing since. I wanted to focus on the hardware aspect, not just software.
What Projects Have you worked on?
I’m a coder first. I get someone to do the design, and then I implement the design. I work with a team of two – a designer and a coder. I met the designer through networks at iHub. Together, we all make a great team. Some of the projects we have worked on are:
Hatarisecurity.net and Health-e-net.org – a second opinion site – if you have a medical issue, you can get a second opinion from the site.
Most of the projects that I’ve worked on have been through links from the iHub.
What Value is the iHub to you?
First, I find the networks valuable. Here, you find competent people with different skills. Second, a lot of Internet! I needed fast Internet especially when I was learning how to code, I needed to watch video tutorials and the fast net here enabled me to do that.
Who are your mentors at iHub?
Dennis Kariuki Muniu - A developer and the CTO at BitYarn.
What are you currently working on now?
Its an interesting project – a link that gives you the people you follow, ordered by number of tweets. A HTML and Java Script that accesses the Twitter API. “Though other people have accessed twitter via HTML and Java Script, I don’t know if anyone has implemented the way I have He’s currently working on authorization via twitter .
I’m still learning the Twitter API though!
Topher urges students especially those in software and computer related courses to teach themselves , after all, "University is where you go to learn how to teach yourself!"
What is Show and Tell?
The Show and Tell is a platform where iHub Green members showcase what they are working on or have been working on for the duration of their membership. There was the need for advisors, community and the iHub team to understand more of what the Green members are doing. (Here’s more about the Show and Tell) It is meant to be an interactive two-way feedback where Green members get a chance to voice their comments on the iHub thus far, as well make recommendations on what can be done to enhance their experience in the space.
So far, 22 presentations have already been made. These will be put up soon.