It's a start of a new decade, new possibilities arise - will Africa take a greater stand in this decade? New Geeks are born and take on a Digital Mission to change our world as we know it. Geekulcha has set a focus on 'Enterprising Mankind: Social, Civic and Inclusive'. While celebrating Human Excellence, there will be more efforts are being ignited towards a more sustainable Geek Culture.
Meet Gabriel Cassim
My software development journey and love for business began in high school. I made friends with the school's IT administrator and convinced him to start a programming extra mural as my school did not have any technology subjects. If it had not been for Mr Rodney Underwood I would probably have fulfilled my dream to be part of airport ground staff.
My love for business attracted like minded people who also loved business and before you know it we were selling cans of ice cold coke from our lockers. Our USP was that students did not have to walk all the way to the tuck shop to buy one. In addition, we would fill the locker with ice packs so when our customers received their drinks it would be ice cold. We spotted the opportunity one day when we realised that our school’s tuck shop sold 300ml cans for R12 at the time and if we were to buy in bulk we would be able to sell 440ml cans for only R10. It was a bargain very few students could resist.
Fast forward to the year after school, where I did an internship at EOH Digital. The guys there set the perfect foundation for me to grow as a developer. They introduced me to OOP, Agile, Git and so much more. I went through dozens of notebooks there and the knowledge I was able to gather happened to be exactly what I needed to learn to think independently as a developer. Special thanks to Paul Von Zeuner, Matthew McKenery, Theon Kloppers, Leanne Ruffels, Luigi D’Amico and Greg Fullard for making it possible.
Sadly something was still missing. My love for business remained stagnant. I was struggling to see an entrepreneurial future while being an employee, and as much as I loved the company, culture, my colleagues and job, I had to leave and pursue becoming an entrepreneur. It was a risk I was willing to take.
After leaving EOH Digital I went on to register my own sustainable energy multi-technology company, I found a network of like-minded individuals in tech, I sold my first piece of software, I have pitched to numerous panels of investors and most of all I grew as an entrepreneur. My love for technology, design and business was one worth taking risks.
I am a risk taking inventor who loves challenging the conventional way of thinking. I love technology so much that I sometimes make the mistake of viewing people as just another technological system. All in all, I was born to make Tech.
List of hackathons attended
- EOH Digital Hackathon 2017 - 1st Place
- MTN Tadhack 2018
- WRCHack 2019 - 2nd Place
- Umuzi Hackathon 2019 - 1st Place
- MTN Tadhack 2019 - Top 12
- FinChatBot Hackathon 2019 - 4th Place
The story of the Qubit Mafia began at the WRCHack. The awards ceremony had just ended and while I was networking with other individuals I bumped into the team who took 3rd Place. After chatting for a bit, one thing lead to another and a few of us ended up hanging out at a friends place.
That day we realised that we had similar interests and that we were like minded individuals. Not too long thereafter a dynamic team was built and we were off to attend hackathons and coming up with amazing software together. Moral of the story, don’t be afraid to network.
Qubit Mafia Members - Kopano Mariri, Sibongiseni Magwaza, Thabang Thobejane, Lyth Brown and Gabriel Cassim.
Journey with Geekulcha
I was first introduced to Geekulcha as an intern in November 2018. Thubalethu Mambane, a friend and fellow intern back from EOH told me about the MTN Tadhack. Fast forward one year and I find myself at the Geekulcha Water Research Commission Hackathon in Sandton. After a few months of battling while trying to bootstrap my business I finally decided to expose myself to new channels of learning. I needed help. I had been sharpening my app development skills since the Tadhack 2018 all in preparation for the next hackathon.
I went in to that hackathon with no team but soon I met Tendai Maidza and we partnered up and ended up placing second. In the 2 days of being at the hackathon I learnt a lot more about business than I did in the months before.
@isscitified heading out to the Kimberley of the weekend’s Hackathons. He will be assisting Geeks of the diamond city at #NCDevHack.— Tiyani Nghonyama (@TiyaniTee) November 29, 2019
Let the nation Code for impact. #GKHack19 #PSIConference @Geekulcha @cpsi_sa @Clint4HERE pic.twitter.com/egMPYcpZo3
I knew that the only way that I could survive as an entrepreneur is if I keep learning and implement what I learnt on an iterative basis. Hence after the hackathon I took the check that we won and went with it right up to the COO and CEO of Geekulcha and told them that I want to be a part of the team. I didn’t care If it meant that I would be the waterboy for a bit, I just wanted to continue learning by experience.
Over the next few months I continued to learn by implementing ways of practicing what I’ve learnt. This eagerness to learn is what enabled me to participate in judging at the MTN App of the Year, do a talk on Firebase at Unisa, do a Here Maps talk on mapping intelligence and so much more. Fast forward to January 2020, I was appointed as a Geekulcha Associate Developer.
It is an honour to be a part of the team. In high school I ran for prefect but didn’t get it. Many thought that I wasn’t capable of leading. Thanks to the home of the geeks I have been blessed with the platform to lead.
# Most favourite things of 2019 in the tech space
- Raspberry Pi 4B
- Ionic React
Game Plan for 2020
In the years leading up to 2019, I had only been dreaming of being the person I am destined to be. 2019 was one of the first years that I put an effort into trying to achieve those goals. It has been an extremely difficult yet rewarding battle. I went into last year not fully knowing what I wanted but I eventually made an effort to figure out exactly what it is that I want and as the year progressed I was blessed to have that question answered.
While I was able to achieve a lot, I didn’t get everything that I wanted. However when it comes to the things I needed, the things that I didn’t know that I needed, that cup runs over.
Going into 2020 my game plan is to disrupt - To go all in. There are three main industries that i plan to disrupt:
- Smart school technology
- Sustainable energy technology
- Mobile gaming technology
These three aspects will be my focus for 2020. I'm blessed to have people around me who are eager to help me achieve my goals. Two years ago I went into 2019 clueless and lonely but still ambitious. This year I go into 2020 determined, eager and loved.
Top 10 Open Source Technologies
- Johnny-Five - IoT: http://johnny-five.io/
- Ionic - App Dev: https://ionicframework.com/
- Trello - Devops: https://trello.com/
- Google Calendar - Devops: https://calendar.google.com/
- VSCode - Devops: https://code.visualstudio.com/
- BitBucket - Git: https://bitbucket.org/
- Socket.io - App Dev: https://socket.io/
- Firebase - App Dev: https://firebase.google.com/
- Zoom - Devops: https://zoom.us/
- Heroku - Cloud: https://www.heroku.com/
Message of encouragement - Dear South African Geeks
I firmly believe that the next technological era will take place in South Africa. The internet is young and Geeks get a front row seat on the bus. More so, South African Geeks are extremely creative and know how to make dreams come true, some with very little resources around. Luckily for us all it takes is a laptop, an opportunity in the market and a few lines of code to promoted from a noob an entrepreneur.
Dear South African Geeks, I leave you with this:
- Geeks are blessed - We live in a technological era. Technology is evolving rapidly. There could not be a better time to be in the right place in anticipation of the rising tide.
- The American tech scene is becoming saturated whereas the South African tech scene has just sprouted. So get to work! As a geek, you have been blessed with the ability to invent breakthrough technology right from the comfort of your home. So get your work out there. As Geeks let's use our skills to prove that SA has some of the best inventors.
- Follow your instinct, It will guide you - As a Geek it's not very hard to follow your instinct. Truth be told you unconsciously already have a plan in motion to get to where you need to be. You are already attracted to the language that will manifest the software that will result in your success.
- You are already attracted to the keyboard shortcut, IDE, library, cloud infrastructure, business model or anything else that will one day lead to your success. You already have it mapped out, just follow your instinct.