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Where Is The 'science' In Nigerian Computing?

Never having schooled at an advanced level in Nigeria I am at a loss as to what Nigerian universities provide in terms of Computer Science.

Reading these posts (I know they do not fully represent the demographic of the country) my heart sinks when I read these topics.

As an entrepreneur I am constantly in search of the brightest programmers out there - but I don't just want 'code monkeys' - my question is can Nigeria really live up to the Global challenge of churning out the best programmers.

I also realise the absence of Mathematics (even Discrete is fine) in most of these topics - unless I am mistaken.

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The [b]code [/b]is where the architecture of the application resides UML artifacts get outdated super fast. Technical managers and architects should be very skilled programmers themselves -- they should be able to look at the code and see whats going on --  but this is not the case in most cases that is why people need to create other unnessary UML artifacts to communicate with these people.

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@ candylips

I have no idea but it may have to do with the lack of an industry rather than lack of skills but that may just be one of a multitude of factors.

Which brings me to my original question, I refuse to believe that Nigerian graduates are 'dumb' - the major contributing factor must be the quality of our universities and their principals. I have yet to read a paper or get an insight into any research methods used in universities which strongly correlates to the quality of the professors and researchers (note: my opinion). If I am wrong please provide a link, I would be happy to be proven wrong, I may be looking in the wrong places.

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@Baef

It would not be wise to abstract away too much from the underlying subject area - programming or otherwise - it may work as an introduction or something similar but once you start to get into complex hierarchical architectures and multi-inheritance things start to get messy. It  would be an enormous task to design and implement ( not to mention the arguments as to what is the best language to use) and some may argue that why can't Africans just learn as everyone else.

My thoughts were really in what can be quickly (being relative) and conveniently implemented and have a major impact - yet have a valid business case to be run profitably. I was thinking more in terms of '`distance learning' without the distance. Imagine an internet cafe with desks and monitors, as 'dumb' terminals - an instructor projected on the screen, doing exactly what you described but using a simple whiteboard and pen - his annotations printed and handed out. He can be based anywhere in the world - can be done in real-time or off-line (imagine multi-cast algorithmic model). Imagine these centres being located everywhere you see an internet cafe right now, with the added benefit of being centres of excellence with little capital expenditure.

Mind you this will not be limited to programming but one can see how if we need to move the nation forward, in a fast moving world we have to move an extra yard  - right now we are playing catch-up.

Oh and please do not mention UML - I loathe it with a passion - give me DOxygen any day.

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@ Candylips,

Why don't you explain.

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Lol, , i am interested in this thread, i may likely answer a question.

Keep the discussion, its making sense.

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What can be done? I have never, really thought about programming as a particular case, but it isn't impossible to create a piece of software that is similar to current UML outings in drawing and code handling. However, there will be at least two major differences:

[list]

[li]The diagrams would simple and have to be tailored to more explicitly suit logic, instead of the current UML types[/li]

[li]It would contain code quizes and design patterns[/li]

[/list]

These are just tentative thoughts, but maybe you have a better idea or can improve on my suggestion. Lets hear from you.

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Its tempting to debate the finer points of mathematics, logic, computer science, software architect vs software developer vs programmer - but I will rather not. It will not lead us anywhere.

I would like to expand on your statement on the shortcomings of the Nigerian education system - I have seen comments on why Nigeria cannot compete with India et al with regards to producing major software companies. But you seem to have hit the nail on the head, we may produce great programmers, but this is reduced to the naturally gifted - we are losing that competitive advantage due in part to our limited education system. Please correct me if I summarised incorrectly.

My next question is - What can be done about this? where is the business oppurtunity and how can an individual or a collection of individuals provide the change - and produce a force that can be reckon with. I also rather liked the idea of the different way of teaching (diagrams and flow charts).

I want to open the floor and get away from the business of bickering to the business of doing business and finding lasting solutions to our nations ills.

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To me, programming is logic and logic is a much bigger thing than mathematics (it embodies math, critical thinking, argument and inference etc). Even algorithm development is not 100% math, rather it is about how well defined, optimised processes fit together to perform a task. Formal mathematics might or might not be involved in the definition the individual processes.

In Nigeria, where there really isn't much to go by (platform choices, tools, information, connectedness etc), I believe that the best way to drive the grassroots higher, would be to approach programming from a more process centric point of view that can easily be visualised. So that for example, rather than present a rigid calculus equation and a cold academic thesis, we could simply present a graphic of a loop and its conditions. Remember also, that since logic is not taught to any extent at primary and secondary levels in Nigeria, this reserves certain types of thought processes to the naturally gifted only (which is a huge loss).

If you are looking for the brightest Nigerian programmers, I think your eye should be out for mixture of 20% bright and 80% willing to learn.

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I am really trying to gauge what the true population of Nigeria programmers are and at what level, where they learn new tech etc - I do realise this forum does not represent the nation but I can still put the question out there. Unfortunately I do not count as my experience has been mainly western.

With regards to your point about mathematics, I have to disagree with you - it matters ACROSS all levels. For example, in algorithm development and functional languages, it is the ability to transform a mathematical equation into a code that really shines. The invention of the contraption you use to post was only possible because of the mathematician's curiosity - mathematics is intertwined into every programming language.

My point is that, although enterprise software applications is where the 'money' at - grass-roots research is what drives it. Lets not make this post about our personal skills - a wise man knows, even he does not know everything and can always learn.

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You should only expect to see mathematics if the discussion is about very low level stuff. Most folk here are either junior PHP developers, students or good people looking for the next survival avenue (Nigeria is hard). But that is not to say that there aren't people who are battle ready and are equipped with the how's and why's of various architectures (low and high level), various philosophies, all backed by fruitful years of experience at various levels.

. . .Now, which are you? Novice, mathematician, junior PHP developer or guru approaching white bearded nirvana?

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@topic

Have you ever wondered why so many computer science graduates in Nigeria end up as Marketers in Banks

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