Why Ghanaians Should Learn to Code: Q&A with Dayo Osikoya of The Code School

MEST | Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

The following is an interview with Dayo Osikoya, founder of The Code School. Dayo explains why he started an intensive beginner-friendly coding school in Accra, and why all Ghanaians should learn how to code.


1) Kindly introduce yourself, Dayo.

I’m Dayo Osikoya, and I’ve been a software developer for over 9 years. I’ve developed software solutions for various companies, including e-commerce companies, telcos, and payment systems. Most recently, I was a consulting Billing Application Support Engineer at MTN Ghana after a 2.5-year stint at MTN Nigeria.

I’m currently the founder of The Code School, Accra Chapter Director of Startup Grind (a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs), and the Ghana community lead for Meteor, the best web and mobile framework for idea prototyping and app development today.

Before my career in software, I taught primary school, an experience that made a huge impact on me.

2) What is The Code School?


The Code School is an intensive beginner-friendly coding school in Accra. Our first course is a 12-week course on web and mobile app development, creativity and entrepreneurship. Classes started on Monday, January 19 at iSpace, Osu, Accra and it costs 2,000 GHS.

3) Why did you decide to start The Code School?

I decided to start The Code School, firstly, because there’re lots of idea people on this side of the world, but very few people who’re capable of implementing those ideas. The Code School is set up to provide people with the requisite skills to bring ideas into reality.

Another reason The Code School exists is that there are tons of opportunities in the tech space in Africa; both in the creation of products, services and jobs, and as a very effective solution to the problem of youth unemployment.

Finally, I love speaking and teaching. I come from a long lineage of teachers, and The Code School gives me an opportunity to share everything I’ve learned about software development over course of a decade.

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4) Why should Ghanaians learn how to code?

Firstly, coding is a very lucrative craft. At a time when too many Ghanaians are without decent jobs, being able to code is a skill that is in very high demand.

Secondly, technology will eventually make many current jobs obsolete. People with the skills to fit into these roles will have a big advantage over others.

Finally,  there’re so many problems in Ghana and Africa at large that technology can solve, but no one seems to be tackling. There’s a real opportunity here for people with the right skills, and it would be great for an indigenous African company to provide these much-needed solutions and reap the benefits.

5) Within the last few months, we’ve seen coding schools open up in various parts of Africa, such as Andela in Nigeria and Moringa School in Kenya. What do you think is behind this trend?

I already mentioned the employment benefits that come from knowing how to code; I believe that’s one reason we’re seeing coding schools emerge in Africa.

Another reason is that our educational system hardly teaches practical skills.

Most of what is being taught in a lot of African universities today – especially technology-related courses – are either too theoretical to be useful in the real world or just plain obsolete. Our universities need to evolve and hopefully, one day, a different type of university will emerge, one that approaches the teaching of every single discipline from the standpoint of technology.

6) What is the general profile of a current Code School student? What sort of person is attracted to this program?

If I were to profile our current cohort, I would say young, curious, motivated, and hungry for more than what they are currently getting out of life. One conviction they have in common is that knowing how to program computers will offer them more opportunities.

7) What opportunities will become available to someone who goes through The Code School?

As trained developers, Code School alumni will be able to find well-paying work at top technology companies.

We also hope they’ll work on their own ideas, because we’re not just teaching them how to code, we’re also teaching them how to learn and find solutions to problems. Knowing how to find solutions is an invaluable asset for anyone in this age. The answers are out there, you just have to ask the right questions.

Our alumni will also be first in line as The Code School evolves and expands into areas like startup incubation, venture capital sourcing, and recruitment.


8) What are your goals for The Code School this year? How do you see it growing and evolving?

This year, we’ll be hiring more instructors. We might also expand our course offering to include Systems Administration.

As we grow and evolve, we’ll add advanced technical courses like Software Testing, Design Patterns, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. We’ll also add non-technical courses like Design, Problem Solving, Critical Thinking and How To Build A Startup.

Finally, we also have plans to advocate for the inclusion of hands-on computer science education in Ghana’s primary and secondary school curricula. We intend to play a role in implementing the required objectives like teacher training, and ensuring that the knowledge being transferred is always up to date.

9) How can the various members of the technology and business community support The Code School? Are you looking for partnerships? If so, what kinds?

One major focus area for The Code School right now is communicating the reasons everyone should learn to code. We’re working on our own strategies but would love ideas or support on how to achieve this.

We’re also keen to find a partner who can help host our school in their space as we grow bigger, either space rental at very considerate and flexible payment terms, or an investment in kind.

10) Is there anything else you would like to add?

Software is eating the world by automating all kinds of routine jobs. We cannot fight it and we should not be complacent, else we’ll be victims of this movement. Instead, we should upgrade our skills because coding, not simply knowing how to use a computer, is the new fundamental digital literacy.