*Note: This blog post is NOT sponsored by ANYONE.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve happened to interview a few bright young men and women for an intern position at the company. At first, it was a frustrating process. We had set up an online test, which allows applying interns solve a puzzle, which tells them how to apply for the position – this was a pre-application tree shaking process, to ensure the people who apply have the basics of what we need. Unfortunately, we had applications from Kenya, Ghana and Uganda, and ONE solitary application from Nigeria.
Safe to say we were floored by despair.
However, our head of admin heard of this career fair at Babcock University, which promised recruiters a rich pool of ready-to-go interns and employable graduates. He attended, but not with a lot of hope. The experiences from the last couple of weeks did not help his faith. However, when he returned, there was a great news. He said that Babcock University is the Nigerian equivalent of Canaan, and he, had returned to tell us that the campus is indeed crawling with code milk and tech honey.
He had a couple of applications in the following days and called a few in for interviews. I met two of them, but in the combined one hour I spent with these two graduating students, I felt a little bit of hope.
The first candidate, a six-foot-0ne lady in heels, was the first university undergrad who told me she learned C++, Java and AJAX in university. Her resume read like someone who really should work for us, and she had built real life things, which fitted into our worldview – build things. When I looked at her final year project, I saw a bit of myself there. I had built a ridiculously complex project in my final year (actually, I spent three years building it, and merely presented it as my project, since I didn’t want to bother with a boring theoretical thesis) – and when I was done, no teacher agreed to ‘supervise’ because for one, I was not a computer major, and two, they could not wrap their heads around what I was doing.
Anyway, I was so impressed by the *can’t mention name* project this lady was developing, decided it was worth putting money on. So we offered her the job immediately. I was impressed with the passion she showed, and her love for coding, but even more impressed that she was a lady (I had not met a female core developer in Nigeria before now).
When I met the second candidate, a smart talking guy (and by now, I’d raised my expectations for Babcock students), I was not disappointed. He was sharp, knew what he was talking about and had built some experience as well, despite only having learned programming in school.
So I thought, maybe there’s something in that Babcock. I don’t know about how they run other faculties, and may have to go there so see for myself, but for the guys in that Computer Science Faculty, there’s something being done right.
They could do more – for example, they could give the students more exposure; they could setup space for tech companies to come wokr with their students,to transfer knowledge, and maybe hire their students as interns; they could offer courses around product design and development – but in this difficult environment, I have met students who’s aptitude suggests that Babcock University is building the right foundations.
So if you are hiring interns for tech, Go Babcock!