Kenya’s Moringa School wants to take code mainstream


moringaKenya’s Moringa School wants to train world-class developers from its Nairobi facility as demand for rockstar developers doubles up in Africa.

Now calling for applications for its second cohort Moringa School offers a 12-week course where students learn HTML/CSS, Java (for Android), Ruby on Rails, UI/UX, and business fundamentals as well as git, agile development, source control and other skills necessary to become strong mobile and web developers.

The code school welcomed five students for its first cohort and wants to triple up the numbers from five to 18 in the second one.

Speaking to TechMoran, Audrey Cheng, co-founder Moringa School said, “We chose these 5 after interviewing over 120 applicants, and intentionally decided to keep our numbers small for the first class to really give these students individualised attention as we strengthen our curriculum. For our second cohort, we’re going to have 18 students.”

Though still in its initial stages with a number of challenges, Cheng says the school is focused on her mission.

“I’m really passionate about our mission,” Cheng says, “for I believe the next generation of tech leaders can and will come from Africa. The high amount of untapped potential drives us to work even harder on our data-driven curriculum, lead by top instructors here in Kenya. Our current students have already built websites and apps in the first 3 weeks, and we’re really excited about their progress and want to bring this education to more East Africans.”

According to its data, some of the students in its first cohort joined with the intention of gaining the tech skills necessary to start tech companies, while others joined with the intention of working as a software engineers.

To fulfil the students dreams, Moringa School is working with both local and international trainers who intensively teach and ensure all the gaps are filled. Some of the teachers include two ‘Hackers in Residence’, Oleg Yanchinskiy and Rick Avendano-both from Hack Reactor (US), Samantha Merritt,who also works at the iHub’s UX Lab, Moringa School co-founder Frank Tamre who’s teaching Java for Android while Alvin Kato and Raphael Mutiso teach Ruby and UI respectively.

bg_wrapper2xCheng says they have spent a lot of time in their first cohort fine tuning best practices and the structure of their curriculum and it makes sense to keep the group small, so they can iterate quickly and address challenges immediately as they come up. The team also has group feedback sessions with the students every Friday and take their input to ensure that they are getting what they want from the school.

Moringa is filling a gap left by NGO-tuned Nairobi Developer School and supplementing local colleges and universities which emphasize on theory than practical programming skills. According to the 2011 Julisha Report, most local talent is concentrated on IT Support at 27% followed by Applications Systems Analysts and System Engineers at 13%, therefore, Moringa School and others such as Andela, SAP and TechnoBrain among others aim to help fill this gap.

Apply here to join Moringa School’s second cohort!