University students in Kenya build apps using Oracle APEX during Oracle Academy coding bootcamp

December 16, 2021 | 4 minute read
Jane Richardson
Senior Regional Director, Oracle Academy, EMEA
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Oracle Academy, in partnership with Strathmore University @iLabAfrica Research and Innovation Centre, organized a five-day virtual bootcamp for undergraduate students in Kenya to help them learn to build scalable and secure enterprise applications that address UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), using Oracle Application Express (APEX).

More than 500 applications were received, with 200 participants shortlisted and selected to attend the two-day virtual bootcamp. The event concluded with a three-day virtual hackathon event. More than 56 universities in Kenya were represented, with the top five schools with the most participants being Strathmore University, KCA University, University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology.

In his opening remarks, David Bunei, Oracle Country Leader, Kenya, said, “The Oracle APEX boot camp will give many of these young student developers an opportunity to build secure scalable applications in a short time to solve real world challenges.” He noted that the platform is used globally by more than 50,000 customers.

Bekere Amassoma, Oracle Academy Program Manager, Sub Saharan Africa, gave an overview of the Oracle Academy program. She said, “Oracle Academy is Oracle's global philanthropic educational program, which aims to provide students with hands-on and practical skills to become career ready. We are dependent on technology for convenience, security and entertainment, among other things. Oracle Academy supports the IT sector by helping fill the skills gap between the need for IT workers and IT jobs worldwide.”

Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director of Strathmore University @iLabAfrica, said, “Participants should make use of this great opportunity by Oracle Academy and @iLabAfrica. It is an area that can make a tremendous impact on solving some of the problems that Africa faces. The projects developed here will go a long way to create solutions to local problems, develop skills, and offer job opportunities.”

Oracle Academy volunteer Chaitanya Koratamaddi, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle APEX, presented on “Beginner’s guide to Oracle APEX.” He said data is the world’s most valuable resource and the most critical and valuable asset for any organization. Data-driven organizations are far more valuable because of their insights from data analysis.

 

He added that a low-code development platform (LCDP) will help solve some of the challenges faced by organizations. LCDP is a software that provides an environment programmers use to create applications through graphical user interfaces and configuration instead of traditional computer programming. LCDP is easy on-ramp, super productive, accessible, scalable, extensible, and has rich functionality. Research by Gartner noted that “By 2024, low-code application development will be responsible for more than 65 percent of application development activity.” He mentioned that business analysts, non-IT professionals, IT professionals, database developers, database administrators, devops professionals, and students all can use LCDP.

 

Salim Hlayel, Product Manager, Oracle APEX, took the participants through a practical hands-on session on Oracle APEX Shopping Cart. The students accessed the APEX platform via the Oracle Academy Cloud Program. He concluded by urging the participants to keep on practicing and creating other applications using APEX.

The three-day hackathon saw participants build scalable and secure enterprise applications that address UN SDGs using Oracle APEX. They received mentorship and technical support from @iLabAfrica and were judged by a team comprising of subject matter experts in software development, information systems security, entrepreneurship, and innovation, who reviewed their final project solutions.

At the finale of the bootcamp, 16 unique solutions that met the UN SDG were built using Oracle APEX, with three winning awards for the top solutions.

First place – Equators Group
This group’s solution addressed SDG Goal 10, to reduce inequality. The team noted that traditionally, small-scale farms in rural areas in Kenya have limited access to financial services such as loans and other investor financing, due to their inability to collect, record, and store credible financial information. Most loan applications require business owners to provide information such as proof of sales through submission of invoices and receipts. To address this gap, the team built an Oracle APEX application with capabilities to collect, record, and maintain financial records. The information then can be certified and provided to a funding agency through the application with necessary approvals.

First runners up – SDG17 Group
This team addressed SDG Goal 11, on sustainable cities and communities. Their solution provides universal access to safe, inclusive, and accessible green and public spaces for women and children, older persons, and persons with disabilities.

Second runners up – Keating5 Group
This team built a platform where people can sell/buy raw plastics, scrap metal or recyclable items. Their platform creates job opportunities and contributes to reduction of air, water, and land pollution.

The students left the bootcamp with skills and knowledge on Oracle APEX and could not wait to express their gratitude for the opportunity.

The Oracle APEX bootcamp was an amazing experience for me. I got to know how to navigate through various tools and create web apps in a short period of time. Thanks to Oracle Academy and @iLabAfrica for that opportunity!” said Melisa Michuki, a second year computer science student at the University of Nairobi.

“The experience was very informative. I learned a new technology and received all the motivation and support to try it out,” added Loise Nyambura, a fourth year student from Zetech University.

Kevin Odhiambo, a third year computer science student from Kenyatta University, said, “It's a tool people should know exists. It really gets things done.”

Oracle Academy remains committed to computing education and provides educators and their students with free relevant resources for teaching and learning. This includes curriculum, learning resources, Oracle Cloud technologies, software, support, and professional certification resources.

Link to publication: https://ilabafricastrathmore.wordpress.com/2021/11/30/university-students-build-app-that-offer-soultions-for-africa/  

 

Jane Richardson

Senior Regional Director, Oracle Academy, EMEA


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