Parents, teachers, school counsellors: technologists don’t need computer science degrees. They can be self-taught. Some programmers, data scientists, AI and machine learning experts, especially those who don’t have access to formal college and university programs, have taught themselves using free online resources, online courses and project-based learning.

In this PreparationTech interview, Deborah Carter, NewTechKids’ Founder and MD, interviews Babusi Nyoni, an African design strategist and innovator who is entirely self-taught. After graduating from high school and lacking the funding to go to university, he immediately went to work in jobs ranging from a security guard, electrician, house painter, cybercafe attendant to a wedding photographer before deciding on design.

When he discovered that coders weren’t translating his designs into tech the way he wanted, he took matters into his own hands. He taught himself to code, create data sets and develop machine learning models, using free training resources on YouTube.

The rest is history. He has made a name for himself as someone who takes technology developed for one context such as entertainment or advertising and re-deploys it for more useful and impactful context. Case in point: re-purposing a South African dance app which helps people improve their moves to help African doctors in Zimbabwe better diagnose Parkinson’s, a nervous system disorder which affects movement. (For more about his project, read this Financial Times article.


About PreparationTech

PreparationTech is a series of online video interviews which educates parents, teachers and school counsellors about the study/training paths and career opportunities which are available when kids learn computer science and programming and how to think critically about the implications and ethics of technology.

Interviewed by Deborah Carter, NewTechKids’ Founder and MD, inspiring technologists and professionals whose work intersects with technology share their personal stories: childhood, hobbies, school activities, higher education, and career paths. They also provide insights and advice on how to prepare kids to thrive in a world of rapid and constant technological development.