In an era of expanding job opportunities and lucrative offers, Tonny Oyana, the College Principal at Makerere University College of Computing and Information Science (CoCIS), has offered a crucial piece of advice to students: complete your courses instead of prematurely embracing tempting job offers. This counsel was dispensed by Mr. Oyana during the launch of the Internet of Things (IOT) laboratory, a pioneering collaboration between Makerere University, the Chongqing College of Electronics Engineering in China, and Makerere University itself.
The IOT laboratory, the first of its kind at Makerere, represents a significant educational initiative. Makerere University is currently training students to earn a diploma in IOT in Uganda, while they simultaneously receive a certificate from China. The initial cohort consisted of five students, and the second has expanded to 18.
Mr. Oyana emphasized the importance of persevering until the completion of the course, even when alluring job offers beckon. He advised, “Most of them already got jobs and left the course. Hold tight till the end of the course and don’t quit because of a juicy job offer. You will negotiate a better salary when you are fully qualified so that you can get a better salary because the IOT course offers credible opportunities for Ugandans.”
IOT, according to Oyana, provides students with invaluable knowledge and skills, broadening their horizons for developing cutting-edge technologies to address future challenges. He underlined that IOT presents incredible opportunities for young people, as the ability for devices to communicate with each other and instruct robots is progressively reshaping the job market. Technologies such as phone-to-phone communication, gate automation, and smart appliances that monitor refrigerator contents are rapidly becoming mainstream. Oyana encouraged students to seize this opportunity while it’s within reach.
Lin Yong, the Assistant Dean of the School of Communications and Engineering, explained that IOT is an application field with tremendous potential, particularly in solving issues like traffic congestion, a global urban challenge. Scientifically organized IOT applications can enhance traffic efficiency, with smart traffic lights that sense lanes with traffic and enable smooth vehicle flow, ultimately reducing traffic gridlock and economic losses for countries and companies. This knowledge can also find applications in industries, improving product quality in an agricultural-focused nation like Uganda.
In a constantly evolving technological landscape, IOT graduates have diverse employment prospects. They can contribute to sectors such as agriculture, industry, and communications by developing embedded and integrated systems, thus reducing labor costs and increasing work efficiency through automation.
Liu Ying, the Deputy Director of Chongqing College of Electronics Engineering in China, highlighted that IOT students can also become linguists by learning the Chinese language and culture. This enables them to gain a fundamental understanding of Chinese companies, making them employable worldwide.
Mr. Oyana explained that the qualifications required to study the IOT course include an advanced level certificate, while continuing students who have already enrolled for Bachelors of Computer Science and Software Development can also participate in the program.