Ahmad Aminu Idris is the co-founder of Quadrev, an IT company that specializes in hardware programming, telecom and general tech consultancy. Ahmad is a passionate programmer and IT professional with experience in embedded systems and creative computing. The Northern blog had an interesting conversation with him where he talked about the book he is about to launch and other projects he is working on.
The Northerner: May we know you?
Ahmad: My name is Ahmad Aminu Idris, I am 26 years old. I studied electronics and telecom engineering and I am the author of the book that is about to come out Introductory to Creative Computing using Scratch Volume One.
The Northerner: What is Creative Computing?
Ahmad: Creative computing simply means knowing how to use the computer creatively, this can be so many things but in this context it means people becoming creators rather than consumers. This means you can create the games you play, create the cartoons you watch, create the music you listen to, and so on and so forth the list is endless.
The Northerner: Our readers would like to know what is Scratch?
Ahmad: Scratch is a software developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is basically a software for programming, it is an object oriented programming that is so simple. It is a drag and drop software that allows children to learn how to program at a very young age. The age I recommend is six (6).
The Northerner: What do you intend to achieve with the book?
Ahmad: The book is like a manual that has been broken down and made so easy to understand and follow. We want people to understand the concept of programming while having fun in the process. They would be able to animate games and even write stories of their lives using scratch.
The Northerner: There is this high barrier of technology penetration in the north, how does this book help in creating awareness?
Ahmad: It will play a lot of role like I said it has been broken down to the level that even an Almajiri who has never been to the class will understand. We worked with child psychologists to make sure that the content of the book can be easily assimilated.
The Northerner: You mentioned that even an Almajiri can learn from the book, does it mean even the lay man would be able to relate to the book?
Ahmad: Yes 100%, but the only thing that is so far there will be someone that will explain it to them. Eventually they should have a basic knowledge of English language. I would really love it if I can translate it to Hausa or Ajami, I am not there yet but the ideas have come up a few times.
The Northerner: Have you worked on other projects apart from the book?
Ahmad: As a key partner, my company has been involved in a number of projects. I don’t want to say this, but I am not holding back this time. We launched a program for young tech enthusiasts who are willing to push the barrier. We finished training today and came out with four community projects with each projects headed by these youths. We are also engaging less privileged kids especially public schools children to teach them basic coding skills like html and css for building simple web pages.
The Northerner: What are your major challenges?
Ahmad: At Quadrev there some challenges, like many other community based projects we face financial hurdles. All the training we’ve carried out have been from our pockets and even though we have a goal of training 100,000 coders yearly in Kano.
The Northerner: Where do you see yourselves in the future?
Ahmad: Well right now we are doing okay, we have a fleet of drones, they are mainly surveillance drones and they are not off the shelves drones, we made them. Eventually we will also have a technology hub, it will be different from the ones we have now because we would focus on education.
The Northerner: What advice do you have for people out there who are also trying to change the narrative?
Ahmad: The thing is don’t give up. Just find a way, there is always a way no matter how hard it gets.