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The skills of the future (Part 1): Training coders at Muzinda Hub

A few years ago I wrote a Facebook Post on what I called the seven most important skills you need to learn now for the future. Do you remember? Here is my original list:

1) prepare a financial ledger;

2) HTML and basic coding;

3) backing up to the cloud;

4) writing a business plan;

5) setting up a website and domain;

6) selling online; and

7) learning a basic craft skill, such as in agriculture or plumbing.

As I said back then, these seven skills will either turn you into the next Jack Ma, or they will help you get a better job, or earn you more money at whatever you do. This is what you should be learning, and teaching, if you want to build Africa’s prosperity.

When you hear me begin to talk about something, it means that I’m actively trying to do something to help Africa. But before I delve into the subject of Muzinda Hub, our venture to train coders, let me take you back a little…

Bill Gates started Microsoft, the company that would make him the richest man in the world, in 1975. I was 14 years old at the time. I did not hear about him until about 1982, when I was a student of engineering and our professor started talking about the “Coming Age of Microcomputers.”

“What do you mean by “microcomputers!?” we asked, totally amazed at the idea that these large computers that filled whole rooms back then, and where only engineers had access, could be made available to ordinary people.

“What will they do with these computers? They don’t have engineering degrees to enable them to understand ‘machine code’ and other high level engineering languages!”

“It will never work; those American guys are nuts!” someone shouted from the back of the class.

“These guys are designing new types of computer programming,” the professor explained. “It’s no longer about HARDware but SOFTware (the computer programming).

“It’s not electronic engineers that are needed now, but you guys need to think about using your skills in maths to switch to Computer Programming in these new languages!”

Fast Forward: The new age of “software” gave birth to amazing new companies that transformed everything in society.

Fast Forward: This is 2019 (about 37 years since I first heard the word “microcomputer”). As I look back I see the other extraordinary tech revolutions that followed, such as computers getting smaller and smaller until they’ve become the Smart phone. Their software is unrecognizable now, driven from the “cloud” and on “the edge”.

Writing programs no longer needs a PhD in computer science, although those are the best paid guys on the planet right now (instead of investment bankers)! We now talk of kids as young as five years old “coding”! What is going on?!

If I were in an engineering class at a university today, I know they’d be discussing “Artificial Intelligence” (AI).

A new generation of entrepreneurs will now emerge just like Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and Steve Jobs did back in the 1980s. And like Jeff Bezos, Tony Ma and Jack Ma they will create amazing businesses to take advantage of the emergence of the mobile Internet.

AI will eventually lead to robots that walk and do amazing things, certainly in most of your lifetimes. But even before then, today, there are going to be amazing companies that emerge.

AI is here!

And you are probably already using it without really stopping to understand why your mobile phone Apps can do such clever things!

I want you to start getting to understand everything you can about AI. It will create an opening for you, but it will not just happen because you have a nice face! You cannot win in a game you don’t even know exists, let alone its rules!

Now to Muzinda Hub:

As I reflected on AI one day, I thought of my time in that university class discussing Bill Gates and “microcomputers”. Back then it all seemed like science fiction! Computers so small they could fit on a desk?! If they had said even a computer for your pocket, I would have fainted!

Don’t listen to all this nonsense about AI taking people’s jobs! Hundreds of millions of new types of jobs will be created, just like with every other technology before. AI is the biggest technology we have ever had; it’s bigger than all those other technologies put together. 

Muzinda Hub?

Yeah, it’s about preparing young Africans for the rise of AI (well, my own small contribution):

Let’s talk. I want to introduce “Mass Coding” skills to equip us for AI industry.

To be continued. . .

Image caption: In February 2019, Muzinda Hub launched a Code Club initiative, in partnership with Theirworld with an aim to teach 120 young Zimbabwean girls (10-18 years of age) how to code and technology skills! #GirlsWhoCode

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