The year 2016 sparked a revolution in the Nigerian technology space as there was increased interest in computer programming. Computer literacy was listed as one of the tech trends for the year 2017, and there has been a lot of activity on that front.
Going forward, more Nigerians are going to desire education in the areas of coding and software development and definitely want to learn programming.
There are many ways to learn programming, some are location-based, others are paid and partially free.
Andela is an accelerator that trains Africans to become world class software developers within the space of 4 years. The interesting thing is that they will pay you while you are learning.
Andela was one of the first to take the bull by the horn by addressing the issue of a developer dearth in Nigeria and other African cities; Nairobi and Uganda.
However, there is a general misconception that freshers are accepted into Andela to learn programming without any prior knowledge of coding. This is true and untrue at the same time.
Applicants are offered a home-study course that basically details introduction to software development. This is intended to help newbies get a feel of the program before getting in. But considering that the time provided to assimilate the material is too short for an actual newbie, it may be best to go through the self-tutoring route for a bit before applying to Andela.
Andela fellows cannot leave before a 2-year period of the general 4 years of training.
Actually, it is assumed that it will take 2 years to pay back the cost of training ($15,000), so a contract is drawn up to deduct the balance if you leave before 2 years is up. If you leave after 18 months you only owe 1/4th and after 2 years (24 months), you owe nothing and are free to go.
Andela’s application opens and closes through the year in windows called Cycles. The current Cycle closes on the 10th of March 2017.
Switch is one of the newest additions to ICT education and software development in Nigeria. Focused on “[tech] talent discovery, acceleration and placement”, Switch appears like an Andela of sorts, except they are different in many ways.
Where Andela offers a 4-year training and retainership, the Switch Fellowship runs for 1 year and 3 months — 3 months of intensive training followed by a 12-month placement in companies where fellows further their skills and build portfolios while getting paid.
Located in the heart of Yaba, fellows at the academy get free lunch everyday and stipends to cover transportation and accommodation.
Admission into the Switch Academy for the 3-month intensive training is free, applicants only have to be “smart and talented”. After the 3-month period, a percentage of their salaries is deducted over the 1-year placement period.
Considering the prerequisites, the Switch fellowship is not for you if you do not have a prior knowledge of coding skills.
Moat Academy wants “to bridge the gap between the academics and the [tech] industry by making many unemployed [persons] to become employable applicants”.
Based in Lagos, Moat Academy claims to train developers from ‘any background’ to inculcate globally acceptable best practices.
Applicants go through a 10-week intensive bootcamp which involves project-based tutorials. Regardless of its intensity, the training period is short. However, Moat Academy has adopted a hands-on approach to its training methods. Participants are made to work 7 straight hours everyday and commit to an extra 4 hours at home.
Application for Moat Academy‘s last cohort ended in February, but you can check on the website for the date of intake for the next cohort.
Projaro is a startup located in Abuja that recruits trains and empowers software engineers to become “world class” in 1 year. If you are around the Abuja area or Northern Nigeria in general, Projaro is for you.
Even though it was originally open to applications from intending software developers with zero skills, Projaro now admits to preferring applicants with a basic knowledge of programming.
After applying to join the fellowship, successful applicants will pass through a week-long boot camp which will be the final decider.
The Projaro Fellowship is very much hands-on with in-depth projects, tutorials, webinars and workshops for the fellows through the period of the training.
For the 3 months, fellows will be trained in the aspects of software development and technical leadership, and the next 3-month period will be dedicated to real projects that may include personal projects.
During the last 6 months of the Projaro fellowship, the fellows will be paid for working on clients’ project remotely, full time or part time, depending on their choosing.
With a goal to “catch them young”, Sevocoder is an initiative of the nHub in Jos, Plateau State targeted at secondary school students. The program aims to produce 2,000 developers from Plateau state in a few years time by teaching children and young adults how to code.
Targeting young school children was a plan to bridge the skill gap in technology especially programming.
Currently, Sevocoder enrols its applicants solely from secondary schools in Jos. However, there are plans to extend the programme to individuals and parents who wish to enrol their children in the program very soon.
If you live around Jos and are interested in Sevocoder, contact the nHub.
Relearn by CcHub
This is a program by the Co-Creation Hub targeted at children and teenagers from between 5 – 18 years of age in Primary 1 to SS3 classes. Relearn by CcHub uses technology to enhance education, teaching youngsters basic software engineering, software development and coding skills. The programmes are not free; they cost from between ₦25,000 to ₦55,000.
Weekend Club; As the name implies, the Weekend Club is a 2-hour class on Saturdays for 5 to 18 year-olds who do not have time during the week. The program runs for 6 weeks.
After-School Club; On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students in Primary 1 to SS3 get to spend a 1-hour period at the club learning computer game design and animation, coding, web page design and programme electronics.
Gap Year Club; This is designed for students during the 1-year period before university and after secondary school. They get to learn basic web development and programming.
Students are taken into the programme on a quarterly basis. Registration for the first quarter of 2017 is currently closed. However, if you are interested or have a child who is, you can enter them into the cohort for next quarter. Registrations will begin in April.
One common trend with fellowships that exist in Nigeria today is that most of them do not give opportunities to people who want to learn programming without any prior knowledge. The ones that do still have a high preference and bias for a previous knowledge of the topic, no matter how small.
You can actually teach yourself to code without leaving the confines of your bedroom or signing any contracts with anybody. All you need to make this happen is an internet connection and a computer (preferably a laptop).
The path to learning software development is rough and paved with stones. But according to the experts, to be a self-taught software developer determination, grit and the ability to keep on learning are qualities that should be imbibed and developed.
Software development is an expansive field, figuring out what part actually interests you will be a good place to start.
Some resources to get started include;
- Khan Academy
- W3 Schools
- Free Code Camp
- Software development blogs
- Developer groups and communities on social media