G-Kenya: Day 1 For Computer Science Students

By Joseph
  Published 07 Sep 2010
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Google's 3 Day gKenya event, targeting Computer Science Students, Developers and Entrepreneurs, kicked off yesterday at Strathmore University. The aim of this event is to provide training on localized tools to spur economic development for people in Kenya. The event ends tomorrow, 8th September, with a session specifically forTechnology Entrepreneurs & Marketers. Day one targeted Computer science students like myself, while Day two targeted Software Developers. I attended the Computer Science session held on the 6th September.The day started off with MC'sChewy Trewhellaand Bridget Sextonwelcoming us to the event.Joe Mucheru, Google's regional lead for sub-saharan Africa then introduced the entiregoogle team, with representatives from Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Switzerland, Uganda, the US and the UK attending the event. Nelson Mattos, Vice President, Engineering, EMEA, began with the keynote address. He highlighted the fast growing trends and Africa being the last frontier of the online world as reasons why google is targeting Africa for such conferences. He also announced the launch of the Android market place in Kenya. This should be music to android developers in Kenya's ears. Chewy Trewhella, theNew Business Development Manager from Londonthen ran us throughTom Stocky, the Product Manager Director in Zurich's presentation on Google APIs in action, with major focus on the following:-
  • Map API
  • Google App Engine
  • Google Web Toolkit
  • Chrome Extensions
  • Android
Right before the tea-break, Bridget flashed a Google Nexus one at us as an incentive to come up with the most creative app by the end of the day using any of the APIs. Talk about motivation. Right after the tea break, Paa Kwesi Imbeah, Partner Solutions Organization, London introduced the Google Web ToolKit(GWT) right beforeRobert Ngamita,Data Analyst & Developer Outreach, KenyaandNemo Semret,a googleSoftware Engineer from New York, teamed up to introduce us to Python and Google App Engine development platform.Participants were introduced to basic python syntax and working with the google app engine. Right before the lunch break, another challenge was given to the attendees. Up for grabs were three vase USB speakers such as this one. The challenge this time was to talk to 5 members of the google team ,remember their names, get their favorite google application and the number of interviews they had to go through before getting into google.Congratulations to the three lucky winners. After the lunch break,Dimitris Meretakis, Product Manager for Google’s Mobile products in Africa and Middle East, gave an insightful presentation as to why exactly mobile development is the way to go in Africa.Dave Hotchkiss, Software Engineer, Zurich then followed up with tips for developing in mobile. He gave the advantages and challenges of developing native mobile applications and mobile web applications, as well as solutions to the various challenges faced. Reto Meier, Developer Advocate for Android at Google and the author of 'Professional Android 2 Application Development' followed up with a talk on Android development, and the market opportunities. "Build Local, Grow Global". Avni Shah, Maps Product Manager, Zurich gave an insight on the various uses of the Google Maps API before Angie Cantelmi,Program Manager, Engineering Education, California talked to us about theGoogle Code University and gave us an overview of what resources can be found there. The team of 5 panelists was then introduced to us, inclusive ofJessica Colaco, the*iHub Manager,Wilfred MworiafromAfrinnovator,Chris Kiagiri,Technical Lead for Google Kenya, Alex of XrystalGenius and Ken from eMobilis. They basically gave advice based on their personal experiences on how to make in the tech industry, such documenting ideas, carrying out feasibility studies and research,creating networks to get funding for tech-startups, and most importantly, believing in ourselves and taking risks. Once the panelists were done, it was time to give away the coveted prize everyone was waiting for..the Google Nexus One.A bevy of participants took to the stage to showcase their apps in less than a minute, but the judges, consisting of Nemo, Robert and Kwesi chose three for the audience to pick from. Kwesi and Chewy had a hard time determining who the audiencefavouredmost. The audience was rather LOUD! In the end, it was decided that the audience would stand only for the contestant they wanted to win. The first runner up didn't go empty handed, as he was awarded a vase USB speaker for his efforts. Presentations from the three day event should be up on the gKenya site as of tomorrow evening. Also, all the code and resources you could possible need to get started on developing using the google APIs are availablehere. Make sure you attend the last sessionFor Technology Entrepreneurs & Marketersof this conference TOMORROW, Wednesday 8th September, at Strathmore University. Open slots are still available.
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