This year Tech4Africa is running a Hackathon on the two days prior to the main event. The Hackathon is aimed at imparting workplace skills around collaboration, and instilling the notion that a simple utility value product can be shipped in two days when a team pulls together.
And he’s the rub: Tech4Africa is challenging all tech teams from established companies to send at least one person to the Hackathon, to share their skills, even if for a few hours.
The founder of Tech4Africa, Gareth Knight, says: “Our contention is that the Europeans and Americans are going to figure out pretty quickly that the African market is going to be big enough to target once the $50 smartphone reaches ubiquity, and indeed some of them already have, but they’re not local and they don’t understand the local market, so there is a gap.
That said, we also think there is a lack of skill around technical execution in the African market. So whilst the Hackathon doesn't solve it, it will give the participants the confidence to build and release something, so we start the cycle sooner.”
So whilst the Hackathon isn’t aimed at experienced developers, there is definitely a need for skills to be shared in much the same way this is done all over the world. You just have to think of the PayPal & Skype mafia to understand how important it is for anyone to gain industry knowledge from people who have already done it.
Unlike most Hackathons the format will be different and the attendees will all work on the same project, but within their different skill sets and abilities, so there are plenty of opportunities for experienced developers to pass on their skills for the next generation of hackers.
To support this, Microsoft are sponsoring Azure cloud instances which will give the developers the ability to push their code live, as well as FREE online training. Tech4Africa will be running Google Hangouts beforehand to help the developers get up to speed.
Says Knight: "It’s pretty simple: as an organisation we’re not about ivory towers and fishbowls, we’re about merit, earning success, and acknowledging the realities of the market we live in, so we’re going to welcome anyone who has something to learn, and everyone who wants to share how they’ve learnt. I built my career on that principle, and so we’re hoping that the established tech teams can see the value in it too."
Anyone interested in participating need only register for FREE on the Tech4Africa site.
The Hackathon website can be found at http://bit.ly/Tech4AfricaRHoK, the main website at: Tech4Africa.com and anyone can register at http://register.tech4africa.com. Tickets are R500 for the main event on the 7th & 8th October, and R350 for the Startup Day on the 9th October. The Hackathon is FREE, and dates are 5th & 6th October.