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Eric Kalujja
Eric Kalujja

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My attempt at not wasting 3 years doing a computer science degree

I grew up in the Eastern parts of Uganda in a village called Kagongo in Pallisa District. I attended nearby primary schools. As most kids, when asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would confidently say I wanted to be Doctor. This all changed in my later years of primary school.

One of my cousin brothers, who had grew up in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda happened to come back home with a small Nokia phone which could access internet. This is where my obsession with tech began. This same cousin of mine introduced me to draft, a board game that later led me to chess and consequently my critical thinking and math scores increased.

Fast forward to 2016, I'm done with UACE (Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education) and I'm filling my Pujab forms to lobby for a Gov't scholarship to pursue University Education. My Dad insists I apply for Engineering courses but I secretly chip in Computer science on the final day of submission.

Fast forward to 2017, I'm admitted to Lira University for a Bs. Computer Science on Gov't scholarship and its a dream come true. A few months into the program, a friend (GDG lead Gulu) who I met on my way to pick my admission letter invites me to attend a Google Developer Festival dubbed 'DevFest' organised by Google Developer Groups (GDG's) all over Uganda.
Attending that Event was a turning point for me.

I realized I needed to do certain things in order to succeed in the career path I was embarking on. I also realized the classes at campus didn't prepare us for the industry and also a good number of people in the industry did not even attend a single computer science class.

Moving forward, I made major decisions whose sole reason was to not waste my time at campus attending classes. I started engaging more with the tech community in the country, First GDG's, then ALC (Andela Learning Community) and later Salesforce Developer Groups. I started utilizing the free resources on the internet, subscribed to a number of tech Youtube channels, took online courses and in just a few months, I was that Dev guy people reached out to at campus.

I realised I was experiencing what most of my peers were missing out and so together with my friend, the GDG lead Gulu, some of the GDG events and programs were extended to our campus.

In march 2019, I was accepted to participate in the Andela IDI Hackathon, this was my first experience working and collaborating in a team to deliver a product. This was another eye opening experience for me.

2019 was a great year for our Student Developer Community. My colleague, Kalumba Jalaludin (outgoing DSC lead Lira University) and I , after attending Hackathons in kampala and realising the impact they had on us, we lobbied for the University Administration support to organise one at campus. After alot of struggles, not only did the administration come through but also Athena Girls Innovation Compound, a social innovation platform fostering girls to embrace STEM and ICT4DEV embraced our idea and provided resources to make the event a success. Students, from different areas of study came together to brainstorm and come up with tech solutions to a number of challenges facing their community.

With that, Kalumba applied to start a Google Developer Student Club while I applied to start a Salesforce Student Developer Group. Together, we organised events that were focused on equipping students with industry relevant tech skills and the impact has been amazing.

Through our experiences studying Computer Science in a Ugandan University, we started LUAC code studio to help students easily acquire software development skills and experience while still at campus and to not have to struggle doing that after graduating.

A picture of me on a random day at home working…

A picture of me on a random day at home working…

It's now June 2020, I'm working at kubernetsInc as a Jr. Software Developer Intern, very uncertain of when I'm graduating due to Covid-19.

Top comments (1)

bhupesh profile image
Bhupesh Varshney 👾

Thanks for sharing this, such a great journey 🔥 , meeting with like minded people at these meetups is always a great learning opportunity
Do share what are you learning at kubernetsInc (the website is throwing 500 🤔 )