My Experiences at Developer Conference Zambia 2019 - Mwasile Kowa

My Experience at the Developers Conferene Zambia 2019 - Mwasile Kowa

written by Mwasile Kowa

DevConZM was my first developer conference, and oh my, what a conference it was! Being a tech enthusiast, this was one conference I was not going to miss, so how did I get there? The team put out a call for anyone interested in volunteering at the conference on one of the Facebook Groups and I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I went about with the application and later got a call from Daniel telling me I had been selected to be a volunteer, the excitement!!!

The conference was the second of its kind and was held on the 19th – 20th September, 2019 with the first one being held in 2018. Volunteering at the conference gave me insight on what exactly goes on behind the scenes in putting up such an event.

Banner Image

Day 1

The conference began with the energetic MC Madam Ngosa Chungu introducing Daniel Phiri to give a keynote speech on the State of the Developer Ecosystem. Other speakers on the day included, Dennis Mubamba a Senior Software Engineer at Mika Express who talked about Actors Systems and Asynchronous Software Development. Mwaaba Mugala talked about the game industry and why it’s time for Africa. He noted that not being willing to collaborate and looking down on gaming is killing the Zambian industry. Rahul Sharma an Agile coach at Think Agile came through with a session titled Know it better, to facilitate it better. Rahul noted that we have to create a safe space to learn. Gilbert Mwale, the CEO and founder of eMsika ran us through on some tips for a tech entrepreneur, he touched on the importance of starting with developing and experiencing the process and not rushing into creating the technology required. Other speakers were Shekerrie Allmond the Regional Operations Director for Africa at Virtual Doctors, who talked about the impact of Health Technology. She talked about thinking of culturally specific solutions, and posed a question for all of us - What unique problems do we need to solve? Olivier JM Maniraho a Software Engineer and JavaScript Wiz at The ZIG came through with the presentation on Modern PaaS on Azure talking about the People, Process and Tools with Azure DevOps. Day 1 ended with a networking session. My goodness, I left the conference a changed person.

Day 2

I was up early and ready for another exciting day, who wouldn’t be after the experience of the first day! The speakers on the day included Twaambo Hamucenje, the founder of Mvesesani who talked about building a Zambian Tech Company and staying sane. Twaambo noted that at the time Mvesesani was being formulated in 2014, there were very limited options to purchase Zambian music online. “It was difficult to get onto global platforms like Google Play Music and iTunes” he says. He went on and talked about the importance of sharing the load and finding a partner that can fill in the gaps. Cobus Bernard, a Senior Technical Evangelist at Amazon Web Services talked about Modern App Development in the cloud. Cobus noted that the cloud is a great solution to bring everything together and offers alternatives that suit your needs and capacity. He went on to say the phrase “Let me hope this works” isn’t the best way to develop software. Sekayi Fundafunda Lungu co-founder of MaFashio and Campus Innovation Lead at BongoHive delivered a presentation on creativity for Technology: An interactive session on finding your niche. She emphasized the importance of communication because you never know what can happen when you share your story.

One of the features of Day two was the lightning talks by Maria Situmbeko and Blessed Jason Mwanza who are members of the developers community.

The day was never short of surprises and excitement as we were introduced to the game of kahoot, damn! Such a fun game, and definitely a must for everyone to try out. Networking was the last item of the day, and people took photos. It was such an amazing time.

I learnt a lot from my very first developers conference, and given a chance, I would volunteer again. I am definitely attending next year's conference and I will carry a friend with me.