I am simply writing my thoughts as they pop in my head. Am not being graded or looking for compliments here. So here we go.
I have been in the IT industry for roughly eight years, and within that time I have seen the positive and negative. During the early 2000s, there was a belief that “computer science” paid well. As it is with the law of gravity, what goes up must always come down. People thought by simply having a degree in this field you have automatically won the jackpot. Nobody taught about the discipline involved in learning the basics of coding, or the fundamentals of proper business practices. People expected everything for simply showing up.
One thing I have seen about the culture of Tanzania clients is that they expect more for less; and sometimes for nothing at all. Be it in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Dodoma or Mwanza, there will always be that middleman who knows everything about what you do, but can’t write a single line of code. The culture of having a “dalali” or middleman has crossed over to the IT industry to a point where getting a client becomes virtually impossible. As a web developer, you are forced to negotiate with two sets of payments, one for your business, and the other for the “dalali”, or the guy who will make everything fall in place. Otherwise the deal doesn’t push through.
Clients usually have the tendency to be energetic and enthusiastic on the first meeting. Once they get more information, they disappear. There is always that one competitor who can snatch your clients but ends up doing a very poor job. Trust me, I have seen that countless times.
The other thing I have notices is those guys who call themselves IT experts. They always seem to have ideas. In fact, they have so many ideas up their sleeves and when you ask them why they have not implemented them, their excuse is always the same. They have no time, or they are too busy on projects. There are those who have no skill whatsoever on any programming language, and they use the sweat and effort of other proficient programmers to launch products or projects and demand all the credit. Trust me, I have seen such people in Tanzania.
I have also seen the thinking spectrum of people in the field to be very limited. Don’t get me wrong, am not claiming to be an expert or any different. I know my limitations, and I do all I can to better myself. However, if you get 100 programmers and ask them for an idea that will change their financial situation, I guarantee you, over 90% of them will say they want to create a “Facebook” lookalike web app. That is what I have seen young people do. They normally pick up where someone else left off and try to blow up from that.
Am not saying using a shortcut is bad, but the context really matters. In this field, I highly recommend to have an original idea basically done from scratch with a programming language you are most familiar with.
The other thing I have noticed is how in Europe, a young man can innovatively create a smart bicycle at the same time someone in Tanzania has no idea how to inspect a simple web page, or even create something useful that can provide a solution for someone. How is it that we are so back down the line? How is it that today in 2018 someone is learning the basics of a simple JS program, while there have been modifications, versions of it that have created solutions elsewhere.
My thoughts are simple. Why are we so slow? Why can’t we believe in something bigger than what we see? Why can’t we be more innovative and create something fresh, new and original. Why do we settle down with bits and pieces of the left-overs from what others have created? If I am able to speak to myself without uttering a word, and imagine something out of nothing, then it shows that I am on the same platform as the richest man in the world.