Report On Excel In Your Career Workshop Held On 25th March 2017
Given the advancements in technology and following a desire to position themselves for technology careers after their undergraduate education, students from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Garden City University College (GCUC) requested training in Python and interview coaching (Excel in your career workshop). My colleague Akua Oseiwaah and I were selected by the Leadership of Coders Who Travel Inc. (CWT), based on a recommendation by Afia Owusu-Forfie, to travel to Kumasi on Friday 24th March to hold the Coders Weekend Series and return the next day. She would take the Python Class on Friday 24th March 2017 while I would take the Excel In Your Career Workshop on 25th March 2017.
On the morning of 24th March 2017, I received money for my flight to Kumasi. The Chief Actuary of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust of Ghana (Afia’s former Statistics Lecturer from University of Ghana) provided 46% of the funds and the 54% was provided by Coders Who Travel. Both streams of sponsorship were facilitated by a liaison of CWT: Ama Nyimah Eshun, a former classmate and friend of Afia. Unfortunately, buying the ticket proved to be quite tricky due to differences in bank account details and a hectic Friday morning for me. I had actually been to the hospital the previous day and was still not feeling very well but didn’t want to disappoint the students. In the end, I had to send the money via mobile money for the ticket to be purchased. Akua assisted with the arrangements since she had to arrive in Kumasi earlier than I did. I then rushed to Accra for an internship interview I had at GIZ and then dashed back to the airport for my flight. This was very exciting for me who had never taken a domestic flight before. Thanks to all those who supported this journey. I actually landed the internship and I am currently working at GIZ for my experiential learning. That would not have been possible if I had not gone to Kumasi by flight.
After going through the check-in processes, we set off. I enjoyed the flight very much. The journey took just about an hour which was very brief as compared to the usual five hours it takes to arrive in Kumasi. I took a taxi from the Airport to Kumasi Hive, where my colleague Akua was taking the participants through a Python Class. At the start of the Coders Weekend Series, Afia supported us from behind the scenes with specifications on how the events ought to flow, with PowerPoint Slides for our presentations and connected our members to Dr Jill to provide her Top 3 Career Tips. At the end of the event on Python Labs, she video conferenced into the event to capture feedback from our participants with The;Catch; Up! Finally, Afia was responsible for securing a venue from Kumasi Hive as well as Photos & Videos through her Kumasi Network.
After the Python Class, I shared with them one of my poems titled “I believe; help my unbelief”. It was a prayer which emphasized the need to keep trusting even when things are not going well. I also asked the participants for the Excel In Your Career Workshop to send their resumes to me by email if possible.
Vivian Serwaa Bonsu, an administrator at GCUC, took us to her house where she hosted us for the night. The next morning, she made some delicious jollof for us before we set off for the workshop. We started sometime after noon because many of the participants were not able to come early as scheduled. However, some of them had sent their resumes the evening before.
Unfortunately, my co-interviewer Akua had to leave by 2pm. to catch her flight back to Accra. When she left, Kyerrman, a friend of Afia who was assisting with photography, joined me to interview the ladies.
We had the privilege of interviewing three final year students from Garden City University College who were all majoring in Accounting with Computing. In addition, we interviewed one final year student from KNUST majoring in Actuarial Science and a graduate of IPMC who majored in Software programming. Overall, many of them were quite confident and able to express themselves well. We gave them feedback on their resumes; there were some typographical errors we corrected. This event was even more exciting because we had actual roles to fill: one for a software engineer position and the other for a finance/admin role. At the end of the event, the interviewees gave feedback about how useful the programme had been for them.
After the interview session, we had a google hangout conversation with Dr. Dorothy McCracken (Dr. Jill) of the United States. She shared her experiences with us; telling us about how she obtained a position on a project because she could programme in FORTRAN and encouraged us to take our programming lessons seriously.
After the call, I shared a song; “Try everything” by Shakira and encouraged the participants on the need never to give up but to keep trying. I then left for the Airport and in about an hour, I was back in Accra; tired but fulfilled.
Every Excel In Your Career Workshop is different and very interesting. I always leave having learnt a lot from those I am interviewing. This one was no different. We are grateful to Afia Owusu Forfie, Kyerrman, the Management and staff of Kumasi Hive, Coders Who Travel, Dr. Jill, Vivian Serwaa Bonsu and all others who helped make this programme a success.
It was a really exciting Coders weekend series!