21st January, 2020
By Julius Masaba
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) worldwide. A content management system is an online system built for web site developers, software developers, programmers, content creators/writers, graphic designers and almost everybody in any field to showcase his/her works, or as a must-have tool for his/her job.
Close to or more than 30% of the web is powered by WordPress; I cannot forget to say including the White House. Most users of this CMS apply it in website building/development, blogging, etc. Some people (who use others like Drupal, Joomla, etc.) actually think WordPress is for blogging alone. Very wrong!
The WordPress Camps (WordCamp) and meetups held so far have demystified that way of thinking.
The main WordPress camp site https://central.wordcamp.org/schedule/ gives a list of all schedule events around the world — cities in US, Canada, South America, Africa, Asia, etc.
This year’s WordCampKampala was the third after the inception of the edition in 2017. I have attended all of them. The first and second as a speaker and the third one (last November) as a volunteer. I do not know how I never presented this time round but I guess I was not in the mood.
However, one of my other friends prefers to call it ‘’giving other upcoming participants to present, not the same damn faces year in year out.” Well, I guess it could the reason.
But as usual, tech events are always graced by complicated developers, coders, programmers, software creators, website designers, etc. The lowest class are the WordPress bloggers, users and enthusiasts who create simple sites or blogs.
But let’s go further, what is ‘WordPress’?
Some people say and are convinced that ‘it’s just another blogging site’. Others say ‘it’s a content management system’ and stop at that. For your information, WordPress is a content management system (CMS) built for website designers/developers, bloggers/writers, etc. and anyone interested in having an online presence.
So, you may ask “What is it……I mean the WordCamp?”
It’s an annual event of not just one day, where a community of people, individuals; from the street guy, students, teachers, writers, researchers, web developers, social media influencers, digital marketers, professionals, journalists, web/app/software developers, programmers, etc. come together to share ideas, experiences, ask questions, learn from each other, network and build relationships, among other activities.
The WordPress Community in Kampala always meets every month, with themes/topics to be discussed stated before the D-day. These meetups are usually held in one location where the space provider agreed to have them. But last year (2019), the community, through one of the Leads managed to secure another venue at Makerere Innovation & Incubation Centre (MIIC Hub).
Attendance is always FREE of charge. The good thing is that one gets to learn a lot of stuff at no cost! However, the WordCamp event (which happens once a year), is always paid for (just a few dollars).
So what happened this time around? Infact, the question should not be ‘what happened?’ but ‘what did I miss?’
Almost everything in the WordPress circles. Rogers Mukalele opened the floor by taking us through our community website www.wcuganda.org that was created the same year. He is also coordinator for the ICT Teachers Association of Uganda and an IT Specialist. Learn about his works on www.mukalele.net. He is one of the Leads that led to the acquiring of meetup space at MIIC.
Rogers also works with Stephen Dumba of ezonewebservices.com, his brainchild geared towards providing computer and technology skills to learners, web development services to individuals and businesses. These two have travelled together, skilling teachers in ICT in various parts of the country under the association. Stephen is a teacher.
Just to let you know, the just concluded WordCamp had more new faces…and more female techies. The ICT teachers were also there, thanks to their interest and cohesion.
Surprising, a lady was the first to present this time. A new face at that. This was none, other than Florence Kyohangirwe, who blogs for social impact and mainly gender, human rights issues, etc. on her blog www.theeascene.com. She is in the PR industry with Kwanza Communications.
We also had other ladies, the most prominent one being Patience Ankunda of Uganda Christian University who switched from doing Architecture to pursuing Computer Science — a promising techie right there! She took us through her story and the repercussions she was expecting. She is also a GDG Lead at the university.
We also had Cerinah Nalwoga as usual, taking us through agile project management for technology teams. She runs www.trillionventures.net, a site built in WordPress. A very resourceful lady, with finance background and training experience. Hire her to train your teams for efficiency and effectiveness.
Most prominent among the women was none, other than Nigeria’s Mary Job of howdoyou.tech. She developed the site in WordPress to curate answers to problems faced by techies in Africa and on their blogs. Her keynote discussion was to encourage women to speak at WordCamps, meetups so as to foster a diverse community. He took us through an engaging session, urging all those present to come back for the next WordCamp with a girl/lady. The challenge is on!
This time I won’t talk a lot about the usual faces like Shafiq Lutaaya, Lawrence Bahiirwa, David Wampamba, Timothy Wasike, Arthur Kasirye of Kasirye Labs, Peter Kakoma (of Kanzu Code), Charlotte Beauvoisin of Mzungu Diary, Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, etc. They are household names, prominent in 2017 and 2018 camp, which I also participated in. Let me talk about the new faces.
There was a gentleman who presented about time management in project development, Abubaker Suleiman Tsamiya. He is a healthcare provider and thus created Petograph (a gadget that detects pre-eclampsia in women), a motivational speaker and software content developer. I first got to know him in the WordPress meetup last year when Rogers was launching the community website.
We also heard from Alex Agaba presenting on how to use HubSpot to grow your business. HubSpot is a CRM tool and also one of the gold sponsors of the WordCamp. He has been with us since 2017. We were also treated to a mini-panel discussion on security by speakers answering questions from the audience.
It had Ishimwe Joseph Patient talking how to automate WordPress tasks and waste less time, Kiberu Sharif talking advanced security panels with Marvin Alinaitwe of Ronzag Group co-founded by Lutaaya Shafiq. Sharif is a WordPress theme and plugin developer working at A11 Media Uganda. Ronzag Group runs potustimes.ronzag.com.
There was also Nixon Kamugisha, a technician at Uganda Christian University. He’s is a computer scientist with experience in networks and systems engineering plus systems development. He was also in the advanced security discussion panel. He works with Earthug Consults Ltd.
I cannot forget the contribution by David Okwii of africastalking.com dubbed ‘‘Demystifying Software Development Culture”.
He focused on the things that software developers need to do to be effective and efficient via practices like collaboration, seeking help from fellow devs, documenting projects, always seek to up your game as a dev to stay relevant in the market, et al. David has expertise in PHP, Python, Golang and works on sitemonki.com at currently.
The list of speakers was quite long and this necessitated having separate (e.g. two speaker sessions running concurrently) depending on the level of competence of the audience (beginner, intermediate/user or advanced) and their interests.
For example, David Okwii’s session took place in one room and Stephen Dumba held a session on creating a website in WordPress in another…and many beginners left the camp with a website on how to build one. What a resource!
As I said earlier, there was diversity this time. I cannot forget the contribution by a one, Bernard Mukasa of Ortus Africa. He’s a lawyer, Commissioner of Oaths and Intellectual Property Head at the firm. No wonder he fed us on insightful IP stuff. It was free information to take home after all, talking about what IPs, Copyrights, Patents are.
It was quite an illustrative discussion and questions were asked and answers given in detail. As I said, WordCamps always give an opportunity to one or two people from another industry to help answer some of the disturbing questions in the tech industry.
You should also know that owning tech creations is one of the menaces in the industry. Innovators create products or solutions but do not know that they can legally own them by patenting, copyrighting their intellectual products (apps, devices, etc.).
Anyway, I may not tell you all that happened in the two days of the camp, but the above can give you a picture of what you missed. Of course you missed the food too. Learning minus feeding the brain cells makes them tired; and trust me, an empty stomach will tell the brain “Please, don’t understand anything until I have filled myself with some food”. Fact!
On the second day (last day), there was closure with a panel discussion to crown the event. This is done to always give an opportunity to those who did not ask questions to ask and the panel members to participate in giving feedback and detailed insight into some of the issues affecting members in their use of WordPress products.
The panel included; Dr. Wolfgang, Stephen Dumba, Joseph Ishimwe Patient, Timothy Wasike, Marvin Alinaitwe, Suleiman Tsamiya and Shafiq Lutaaya assisted by other knowledge members of the community. Unfortunately, the panel lacked a lady representative.
Also note that these camps are usually paid for, just a few dollars. Volunteers are usually given a free pass. So next time you feel you want to lend a hand, just sign up when the time comes. There are also sponsors (Gold, Silver and Micro).
To be one, please contact one of the Community Leads — Lawrence Bahiirwa, Rogers Mukalele or Arthur Kasirye. You can also register via www.wcuganda.org/register/ or via our WhatsApp or Telegram link on top of the same site.
Through the site, you also to get alerts/notifications about upcoming meetups. These are absolutely FREE to attend, and the places are Hive Colab on Kanjokya Street, Kamwokya and MIIC Hub at Makerere University’s computing/IT block. We have also managed to get another venue in Jinja.
What a milestone! Thanks to the team.
As usual, the camp is sponsored by top tech brand such as BlueHost, WooCommerce, Jetpack, GoDaddy and HubSpot. DigitalBlend in the silver category and Sadja WebSolutions in the micro category.
For details, visit https://2019.kampala.wordcamp.org/
You can also follow us on Twitter @WordCampKampala.
I can’t wait for the next #WordCamp!
I don’t know about you.
About the Writer
Julius Masaba is a private investment researcher and business consultant. He also works with Ablestate, https://www.ablestate.org/ and a WordPress writer/blogger on startups, entrepreneurship, business and finance. He loves tech.