1.) You recently participated in a hackathon. Not an overnight or a weekend hackathon but an entire 5 week virtual hackathon. Quite something. Tell us about it . What is the Game of Learners?
Joshua Ndemenge: Game of Learners was a five-week virtual hackathon hosted by the Microsoft Africa Development center that aimed at equipping students technical skills relevant in the software engineering industry. It also aimed at equipping the team lads who are beta or Gold Microsoft student ambassadors with leadership and program management skills. This was a fun, collaborative and interactive virtual hackathon.
2.) Must have been an illuminating experience! There are so many people who wish they would have got a chance to participate. How did you get to hear of the opportunity? And what qualifications does one need to participate in such a challenge?
Makena: I saw the poster about GOL on a tweet by one of the Microsoft Students Ambassadors. In the application they did not ask about my qualifications.
Joshua Ndemenge: As a Microsoft Student Ambassador my role (together with the Other Microsoft Student Ambassadors) our role also included working with the Microsoft Africa Development Center to help plan for the hackathon, this included coming up with the hackathon challenge, helping craft the rules and regulations prepare the registration form and finally choose the top 20 out of the hundreds of applicants. We also served as team leads.
3.) I believe it wouldn’t be far fetched to call you tech enthusiasts. What areas of technology are you involved in?
Makena: Currently my focus is Machine Learning and Mobile Development
Newton: Am more into Artificial intelligence and internet of things, currently.
Julia Muiruri: My interest lies in Web development, majorly Fronted with React and Angular Frameworks
Joshua Ndemenge: I’m interested in AI and IoT and also a .Net Dev
4.) Did you get to use the technologies you are conversant with during the hackathon or did you have to learn new things to be apt for the job?
Julia Muiruri: Before the hackathon, I was learning Angular but after meeting my teammates for the first time and having our first discussion, it was resolved that we build the Frontend in React. One of my expectations from the program being learning, I took the challenge head on and begun digging into the new framework and amazingly we presented our product built in React among other technologies.
Joshua Ndemenge: I did use my .net skills in my project
Makena: I got the opportunity to do both and my willingness to learn even under pressure went a long way in this.
Newton : Yes, actually, I was exposed to my techs, well mostly, the AI was a drive for me. I also learnt some backend and learnt a lot on databases, something I had earlier on overlooked. This experience led me to fully appreciate that one doesnt have to know it all, You just have to be humble enough to accept that you will never know it all and ready to learn anything at anytime.
5.) Briefly describe your innovations for the hackathon
Julia Muiruri and Newton: PROJECT NAME: MIZIZI
Mizizi is a Swahili name to mean Roots. We decided to use this name because our application is meant to prescribe local remedies and medications first, before it can recommend a user to a doctor.
Medical care is an essential service in all parts of the world. In Kenya accessibility to health care is hampered by various problems.
Mizizi is a platform that provides users with up-to-date and accurate information on their healthcare needs. We provide a first aid section for providing visual guides on performing timely first aid procedures from the comfort of your home. Mizizi also provides a way of finding chemists through the ‘Find a Chemist Feature’.
Safely storing our user’s medical history information, a user has the ability to print a medical report and present it to a doctor when needed to give a summary of their previous health status.
You can find the prototype here 👉🏻 https://mizizi-cf0dd.web.app/
Joshua Ndemenge and Makena : TEAM RemD https://stdntpartners-my.sharepoint.com/:w:/g/personal/josh_cardif_studentambassadors_com/Ecidf90glPRMgJ0DdST8QF4B_J7yXSDoJM93_1xU-w5k9g?e=CdAGvk
6.) Online classes have been some sort of hell on earth. How would you describe the remote working experience? Was it also some kalittle hell on its own?
Makena: It was my first time working remotely on a project . I’d say it does have its challenges such as connectivity. However, I found it more flexible as it allowed me to juggle between school and GOL. It also allowed me to work with my team mates who were located in different parts of the country.
7.) Alot of people are afraid to immerse themselves in such challenges because of the fear of bringing baggage to the team due to skill insufficiency or lack of confidence in their ability to deliver. What would be your advice to such?
Newton : Initially, I feared the same. But I had an amazing team which appreciated my contributions. This kind of psyched me up. This competition was more of a learning opportunity than a competition, Imagine being in a class and working in groups for a science fair project, each of you know little but together, something wild and unexpected comes from you because of the contribution of each member.
Joshua Ndemenge: In challenges like this we’re are always looking for people with a drive to learn. As long as you can learn you’re good to go.
Makena: Well first I’d say it’s time to face your fears. The reason some feel this way is because it’s actually true (dont lie to yourself) ;Acknowledge that you need to up your game or skill set. Then do the next beat thing which for some may be an online course or reading a book. But remember textbooks are a reference and competitions are where all the actual learning happens .
8.) Well that’s some light. Thank you for that . Would you say that Dekut has aided you towards the progress that you’ve been able to make in the technological field? And if so, how?
Newton : When all is said and done, I must acknowledge DeKUT as it had really been the source of my journey through tech. I first came across tech in my second year during a speed governor project and that marked the start. The institution gave me an opportunity despite the fact that I knew nothing about tech.
That will be all. Thankyou for taking time to have this. It has been a pleasure.
Congratulations on your performance and to team RemD for winning the Microsoft ADC Game of Learners hackathon ✨