Oyewole Abdul-Muizz, the Chief Technology Officer, Majadtek-Pro Technology Ltd, is an enterprise solution architect in Cloud, Web & Mobile technologies. The graduate of University of Ilorin (B.Eng., Mechanical Engineering (Design) also obtained MSc, Information Systems Management at the University of Salford, Manchester, United Kingdom. He speaks about finding a career in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
What are the technology solutions your firm specialises on?
We specialize in enterprise software development (ERP, CRM, Management Information Systems etc), financial technology (fintech) including e-payment services integration, cloud computing, cyber security, ICT training and consultancy.
We decided we want to be known as a big player globally in those landscapes, then chart our course and spur into action. As a Nigerian start-up, part of our vision was to develop local capacities. We were not just concerned about building a global brand but have a team of local experts with global recognition. So we began clamouring for equipping Nigerian youth with ICT skills.
What value does your firm add to the country’s economy?
As a startup, we are already creating impact although very little but in our own capacity. Our areas of specialization are of very high demand globally. It is on record that in the year 2019 and 2020, Cloud Architecture and Cybersecurity are at the fore-front of highest paying ICT jobs. This is more evident now that every organization is trying to move to the cloud in the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. This should be a big lesson for us as a nation. The earlier we move the better. Again, we need to go back to our schools; from primary to tertiary.
Nigerians stand a better chance if given the opportunity and the right environment. Rather than build many Hushpuppies and Woodberries, we can build more Pichais and Nadellas.
What is your message to youths hoping to build a career in ICT?
My message to them is; start learning now and don’t stop doing so. It will pay in the future. Don’t complain. Whatever opportunity you have, grab it. Over twenty years ago, I can remember, I shared a Pentium IV desktop computer with about 25 of my colleagues in the whole faculty of Engineering while in school trying to develop our ICT skills with little access to facilities. Today, I have been opportune to participate in ICT mentorship for upcoming developers in global events like the Google Africa Developers Scholarship, Technovation Challenge among others. We all can get there. Just start and keep learning. The sky is just the beginning.
What are the challenges you face as a start-up owner?
As regards challenges we have faced, they are so numerous. We can only confirm that doing business in Nigeria is still not very favourable to start-ups particularly in the ICT industry.
While we appreciate the efforts of the Ministry of Communications and Digital economy towards accelerating broadband penetration nationwide and the start-up bill currently designed to help address a lot of these issues, the bill needs to be given wider stakeholder engagement with increased publicity.
It is equally obvious that state governments have not really complimented this effort enough.
Affordable electricity and internet access are also very basic for any start-up in the ict industry to survive.
Another big challenge is the copyright, trademark and patents registration process. An average Nigerian innovator is afraid of applying for a patent here in Nigeria. Some take their patent registrations to the US and the likes just for this reason. This is not good enough.
Despite these numerous challenges, as a start-up, we were never discouraged. We believed we could make a difference. And we shall keep on driving our vision.
What should the government do to help start-ups like yours?
First of all, existing laudable programs should be sustained. Secondly, we want to see a full implementation of the local content policy enforced on all MDAs and the private sector. We have laws that can really make a big difference but implementation has been very low. Again, we need to revisit our curriculum and re-engineer it from the ICT perspective.
Thirdly, fair play opportunities should be given to start-ups to compete with the big players in Government projects. I wish to see a change in approach to bidding that will encourage startups to participate in projects.
There is so much to do but we need to sustain existing efforts and bridge the gaps as fast as possible. I will leave the rest aspects for some other time.