DAY IN THE LIFE INTERVIEW: DAVID MUGERWA
We are very excited to introduce you to David Mugerwa, Technology Lead at Hello World
Hello World provides educational resources and Internet connectivity to isolated and vulnerable communities. We do this by building solar-powered, outdoor Internet kiosks— so that underprivileged children and adults can educate themselves, communicate with others, and have a voice in the global community.
1. First can you tell us a bit about your job and what teams you work closely with?
My role as Technology Lead for Hello World includes working closely with Team leads, Engineers and Management teams across the board to ensure all teams are on track with the Project phases.
2. What is the career path you took to become Technology Lead?
This is an interesting path for me, I started mainly training in Technology, Applications and web design. At University I then studied Computer Science. From here I then went on to work in Project management roles mainly within software. The last 4 years I have been a Project and Digital Strategy Manager where I picked up some fundamental skills that further led me to leading Technology here at Hello World!
3. What brought you to this area, what’s your background?
I always had a dream of creating an operating system and this got me started on learning a number of different technologies that would support this, leveraging the knowledge acquired during this time to see how to translate the skills learnt into addressing problems, this led me on a path of designing, digitising and improving systems that I was a part of.
4. What time does your day start, and what does your typical work day schedule look like?
I mainly coordinate with our field engineers to ensure that activities at the hub are moving closely. Once the day starts, I usually attend to the most pressing items for the day.
5. What kind of projects are you currently working on?
We have been constructing digital hello hubs for the past 6 months. At the moment we have completed 14 hubs across Uganda and we are now in a planning phase for cycle 2 of the builds. Apart from maintenance of the existing hello hubs, A key activity has been collecting data on how the hubs are being used and plenty of feedback from the users, we are integrating this feedback into the design improvements for version 3. All this data is being aggregated into a portal i am designing to help the team monitor the hubs for example if we see a drop in the number of users to a particular hub this would usually indicate that there is a technical difficulty and we would investigate to ensure these are fixed and eliminated.
6. What do you consider the greatest achievement in your work to date?
The biggest challenge so far would be a project I worked on before moving to Hello World. It was a data driven project that used satellite data to power advisory services and micro-insurance to farmers. It was very fulfilling to work on this from conceptualisation up to when the product was in the market; from choice of technology stack, product design, staffing for the development team, partner engagement and product delivery. Crunching big data into bits that would be actionable for the end-user. It is always great to see a product work as designed.
7. What is the one app you could not live without?
8. What’s the best thing about working at Hello World?
The entire team at Hello World is working together to solve a big problem. Working to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable communities through digital education; providing them an opportunity to learn, communicate with family and friends and have a voice in the global community ( through internet connectivity). I am truly honoured to be a part of this vision.
The team I work with is fantastic, hands-on, productive and passionate about what we do. It is always very humbling to see communities use the hello hub and the community being a part of the team that constructs the hub is great.
9. Where is the after work hangout?
While in the field, the team usually has small wrap-up meetings based on where we are in the country, we do usually get together to share the day and have a drink.
10. Who is your professional role model?
11. What makes Uganda a good country for technology, startups and diversity?
There is a good community here in Uganda with lots of people working in technology with firm skills. The startup space is growing rapidly with a number of development hubs and the people are also very warm and friendly.
12. Which tech trends are you most excited about?
I have been closely following how big companies are moving into internet provisioning. Exciting projects eg Starlink and Loon that are bridging the gap for local communities to high speed internet.
13. What are the top 3 qualities you look for in an employer?
1. Big dreamers, looking to solve big problems with the desire to achieve great outcomes
2. Transparency is key and something I treasure very much
3. Friendliness and tribe mentality, working with people you enjoy on a professional and personal basis
14. And finally, what is the one piece of advice you would give to a tech professional starting out?
The biggest thing from my perspective would be to study your profession in depth. Ensure you have an open mind and the ability to work on your own. It is very important within Tech to keep up to date with current times and trends. This way you can always remain relevant and have a greater knowledge to produce the best solutions!