It is a year that the Millennials dubbed as the "turning" year. The year 2017 came with many surprises and history was changed. A birth year for some of the technologies and death year for some, R.I.P. With all the glooms, ups and downs of the year, the Geek Culture life kept on going.
Let's look at the year and the health of the tech ecosystem. We present top 10 tech stories we lived to see in the year that is 2017.
10. The War on Tech
South African has been named number 2 in terms of African most advanced countries ICT but our readiness and ability to embrace and consume tech remains a question. The Uber vs Metered Taxis may have lowered a developer confidence. The tech struggle got real, the emvironment was not always enabling for the young developers.
Uhm, yeah voting is still pretty much manual. IEC is putting on efforts to get everyone counted and located, through their portal though:
We’re asking voters to help ensure free & fair elections by checking & updating their addresses on the voters’ roll at https://t.co/7FpSCpcZuX. Have you updated yours?— IEC South Africa (@IECSouthAfrica) December 5, 2017
9. The Age Cryptocurrency
The years started out with a high popularity gain of Forex Trading, more people took a chance. Most techies in SA utilized a variety of apps, we also saw a rise in pages/groups that seek teach people how to trade with forex.
Bitcoin is also gaining traction in the country. South Africa is set to having a large digital currency setting pace with the rest of the world.
South Africa to Take "Balanced Approach" to Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Regulations https://t.co/bQA2XUATsH— Erik Wp (@erikwp) December 11, 2017
8. The Year in Hackathons
Over 1400 Geeks have taken part in Geekulcha hosted/facilitated hackathons in 2017 and the hackathons have been hosted for various purposes.
Geeks got to walk the talk at the Hackathons and working on growing their skills capacity.
- More Geeks got hired through hackathons
- Study vouchers were given
- New startups resulted from the hackathon
7. Information Security
While South AFrica remains one of the highly targetted countrie in cyber attacks, actions needed to be taken and there has been few programmes in 2017 to address the skills crisis in Cyber Security.
SafeHack hackathon by Geekulcha in collaboration with PwC, Telkom, MTN, mLab SA and the City of Tshwane saw young geeks getting short internship at PwC.
- SS17Hack by ITWeb in collaboration with Geekulcha and Snode, the Vodacom Dome was filled by the ITWeb Security Summit and young Geeks who took part at the hackathon.
6. Data Science Programmes
The Sol Plaatje University just produced the first Data Science degree graduates in Africa. Data is the new oil and South Africa is forging ahead. Here are some of the Data things in 2017.
- The International Open Data Day was celebrating including in Kathu, Northern Cape
- Deep Learning Indaba was hosted in Johannesburg
- Explore Data Academy was launched with BCX sponsoring 300 internships
5. Organized Tech Communities
The culture of meetups reignited further. There is nothing like a couple of like-minded Geeks meeting over beer to talk tech and set ideas in motion.
- Facebook Developer Circles in 4 South African cities
- Engine One Meetups by Lepsta
- Open Campus by the GKSS SPU team
4. Women and Junior Geeks
Girl Power of fleek! The year 2017 saw a rise in a number of females in ICT empowerment initiatives. Biggest females in ICT event of the year was the GirlCode Hackathon which saw the winners having to travel to the US of A. The Geek Raeketsetsa initiative also put in extra efforts in enabling females Geeks.
Future GeekStars also pushed. The gkVacWork programme took place in 4 provinces (Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Northern Cape) teaching over 230 youngsters how to code and build tech startups.
Oh look, the Geek Culture made it into a Grade 10 exam papers.
What a week this was! The @Geekulcha #gkVacWork programme, scholars + project from July 2015 edition made it to a Grade 10 Exam paper. This has been a collaboration with @InnovHub @CityTshwane @mlabsa 🙌✊🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/SBShk70kKa— Tiyani Nghonyama (@TiyaniTee) November 17, 2017
3. Geek Culture on Campus
The tech revolution took prevanlence into universities across South Africa and it was exciting to see the drive. Tshwane University of Technology was amongst the universities with Lab 214 having produced a group called Brain Hackers.
- Former GKSS leaders graduate for second time in 2017 after graduating Cum Laude at SPU
- Geekulcha Student Society expands to TUT
- Top 15 Young Geeks were also featured
2. IoT and Makerspaces
There were not a lot of events for the Maker ecosystem in 2017 but there has been a lot of programmes/activities for the year inluding.
- Tom Van Den Bon - 365 Days of 3D printing, he has been printing 3D objects each day of 2017
- EWB IoT for Social Good Design Challenge ran in 3 cities
- IoT became integral part of hackathons
1. Appy 2017: Breaking the App Poverty
Good news, South African Android app developers can finally sell their apps on the Google Play Store. A variety of applications entered the South African market. MTN Business also announced the App of the Year Award winners.
- Feenix gets students funded for university studies
- Namola App safety went national
- For Women's month, POWA app was launched to help fight gender-based violence
It was a year to celebrate after Geekulcha won the Black Business Quartely Award for the New and Innovative Business Award.
2017 will definately be a year to remember and we look forward to 2018 to make more impact and help the local tech ecosystem grow.