Thursday, February 14, 2013

Allround Automations Developer Challenge in Oracle Magazine – Ethiopia not Included

One of the joys of reading Oracle Magazine, apart from its purely informative value, is that every once in a while you get  a chance to enter in a competition where you stand to win a prize. In the January/February 2013 issue of the magazine (page 3), there happened to be a challenge: “Use Your Programmers Point of View” where you were supposed to extract PL/SQL script from a jumble of characters. The answer code that comes after running the script is then entered into another website.

The Allround Automations challenge in Oracle Magazine

The answer code to the Allround Automations challenge in Oracle Magazine

It is only then that the contestant will be able to find out whether or not they are eligible to enter the contest. And the chances for challengers entering the challenge from anywhere in Africa are further cut down: the only countries eligible are Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon and South Africa.

Only 4 countries out of Africa

This begs the question: “Why?”

Well, the most probable answer would be:

1 – The rest of Africa isn’t considered to be too big of a market for the PL/SQL market. In these times of austerities it seems a good idea to try and tap these markets and ensure first penetration and conquering of the vast market potential. Africa is really skipping a step via the IT revolution that is spreading across the continent – those that aren’t willing to take advantage of it (both providers and users of technology) are in for a DARK surprise.

2 – Logistics are unavailable and Oracle/Allround Automations can’t ship the prizes - 50% discount on PL/SQL Developer, a new iPad or an ASUS TF700. While one can understand the problems that are created by having the hardware shipped the same excuse cannot be valid for the discount on the software.

3 - A third reason may be that the big guns perhaps think that there isn't anyone in Africa that can answer the challenge - in other words, underestimating the technical know-how (which is, admittedly, the main reason for this post). The vast untapped technical knowledge in Africa needs to be discovered and put to proper use. This means that we should all do our best to show our potential.

That having been said, international software companies need to make sure Africa gets the recognition it deserves. In Ethiopia, Oracle usage is rapidly growing. The most respected companies in the country run their systems on or using one form or another (whether in the fore- or background) of the company’s software or applications.

Hopefully, this will change soon.