Blog: Will a Nigerian Win the Google Code Jam?

(c) Google

Google needs no introduction, and I am almost sure that you no longer search for stuff online, you just Google! If you’re like me — and have read The Google Story — then you would be fascinated each time you hear the word, Google. Well, since I’m not being paid by Google for this blog post, the free ad will stop here đŸ™‚ But what I can’t keep from talking about is the code jam, which Google introduces on it’s codejam website with the following statement:

[t]hink you can compete with the world’s top programmers? Here’s your chance to prove it.

The code jam has been an interesting challenge for the world’s daring code-spinners, and has held in at least Ireland (for the European edition), India and China. On the press page, the codejam organizers said this much about the European jam: “After nearly 10,000 registrants and three intense online rounds, the top 50 finalists persevered and flew to Dublin for the final challenge. ACM members also joined the coding community fun, traveling from countries as far afield as Kazakhstan, Russia, Sweden, Egypt, Spain, France, Poland and Bulgaria to celebrate the success of the finalists. Several of the ACMers had qualified for the Code Jam Finals in their own right, and having them in Dublin added a real buzz to the proceedings”. This year, a global competition is being put together with the following agenda:

  • Registration opens at 9am on Monday, August 14
  • Registration Closes at 9am on Tuesday, September 5
  • Qualification Round begins at 12 noon on Tuesday, September 5
  • Qualification Round ends at 12 noon on Wednesday, September 6
  • Round 1 – 1,000 participants at 10am on Thursday, September 14
  • Round 2 – 500 participants at 10am on Tuesday, September 19
  • Championship Round – 100 participants on Friday, October 27

The website notes that all times are denoted as EDT (GMT/UTC -4) and that the Championship Round date is subject to change with or without prior notice. If you’re wondering what you gain, then check this out:

  • First Place: $10,000
  • 2nd – 10th Place: $5,000
  • 11th – 25th Place: $2,500
  • 26th – 50th Place: $1000
  • 51st – 100th Place: $750

… and of course, the pride of competing with the world’s best and possibly winning! And I’m just wondering, will we have anyone from Nigeria competing? Or win?

Exploring e-Advocacy and Technology Use by Civil Society in Nigeria

Image courtesy Google

I am presently involved in a research effort that focuses on the status of technology use for advocacy purposes by civil society in Nigeria. Doe to the broad definition of civil society, I have chosen to look at specific institutions, including community-based organisations, faith-based organisations, independent media, non-governmental organisatons, social enterprises, labour groups, student/youth groups, professional groups, women groups, special interest groups and political groups.

For the first phase of the research, I need to get some information about civil society organisations, and I have set up a questionnaire page that will only take 12 minutes to complete. Please visit www.gbengasesan.com/eadvocacy.htm to complete the questionnaire, as you contribute to the depth and accuracy of the research exercise. I will be glad to provide more information, should you require such. Please use the reply button (if you’re reading this via eMail), the comment link if you’re reading this on my blog, or use the guestbook if you’re reading this on my website.

Thank you!

Whatever Happened To Careers?

Career!

In the past few days, I have had reasons to share thoughts with various audiences on the central theme of building an enviable career — either as students who need to plan ahead, or professionals who need to review their career path. Each time I seek to get the job done, I am always faced with the reality of the increasing absence of deliberately planned careers: most people are caught in the web of the syndrome we used to refer to as Anywhere Belle Face (ABF) (a rather descriptive way of saying that an individual literally lives based on responses to events and circumstances around him/her without any pre-determined plans, and without a sense of direction in life) while in high school. One major concern I have is the absence of deliberate career-grooming plans among many of today’s young Nigerians: whatever happened to careers?

A job is different from a career. While a job will pay your bills, a career will ensure that you are of evident benefit to your community (immediate, national or global), and will also connect you with a more enjoyable way of earning a living. I have come to learn that nothing excites (empowers, motivates and plants a permanent smile) like doing what you love (and are skilled) to do — and getting paid for it. When I started laying the foundation for a career in the application of ICTs for development, I had no idea that it would be this interesting! I just loved the feeling of inching closer to my planned career dreams, not knowing that the time would come when what I loved (and still very much love) will provide a platform for the development of individuals, organisations, nations and more.

In the next few years, there will be two categories of people across the Nigeria nation and African continent: those who make things happen, and others. Those who will make things happen tomorrow know themselves, they are presently building a career and not jumping at just any available job. I see a new Nigeria emerging, one that will be built on the labours of our heroes past, hewn out of the debris of the present waste and engineered by the strength of the future leaders: the youth. These young men and women will focus on career growth for the purpose of personal development, nation building, regional cooperation and global participation. They may be unknown today, but in the secrecy of their abode, they master the tool that will change their lives and that of their nation – and world! They’re building tomorrow today…