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HomeMachine LearningEntrepreneur creates profession pathways with MIT OpenCourseWare | MIT Information

Entrepreneur creates profession pathways with MIT OpenCourseWare | MIT Information



When June Odongo interviewed early-career electrical engineer Cynthia Wacheke for a software program engineering place at her firm, Wacheke lacked information of laptop science principle however confirmed potential in complicated problem-solving.

Decided to offer Wacheke a shot, Odongo turned to MIT OpenCourseWare to create a six-month “bridging course” modeled after the courses she as soon as took as a pc science pupil. A part of MIT Open Studying, OpenCourseWare affords free, on-line, open academic assets from greater than 2,500 programs that span the MIT undergraduate and graduate curriculum. 

“Wacheke had the potential and curiosity to do the work that wanted to be finished, so the way in which to resolve this was for me to actually create a path for her to get that work finished,” says Odongo, founder and CEO of Senga Applied sciences. 

Builders, Odongo says, are usually not simple to search out. The OpenCourseWare academic assets offered a strategy to shut that hole. “We put Wacheke by way of the course final yr, and she or he is so spectacular,” Odongo says. “Proper now, she is doing our first machine studying fashions. It’s insane how good of a group member she is. She has finished a lot in such a short while.”

Making high-quality candidates job-ready

Wacheke, who holds a bachelor’s diploma in electrical engineering from the College of Nairobi, began her skilled profession as a {hardware} engineer. She found a ardour for software program whereas engaged on a dashboard design mission, and determined to pivot from {hardware} to software program engineering. That’s when she found Senga Applied sciences, a logistics software program and companies firm in Kenya catering to companies that ship in Africa. 

Odongo based Senga with the aim of simplifying and easing the provision chain and logistics expertise, from the motion of products to software program instruments. Senga’s final aim, Odongo says, is to have most of their companies pushed by software program. Which means workers — and candidates — want to have the ability to suppose by way of complicated issues utilizing laptop science principle.

“Lots of people are centered on programming, however we care much less about programming and extra about problem-solving,” says Odongo, who obtained a bachelor’s diploma in laptop science from the College of Massachusetts at Lowell and an MBA from Harvard Enterprise College. “We really apply the issues folks be taught in laptop science packages.”

Wacheke began the bridging course in June 2022 and was given six months to finish the curriculum on the MIT OpenCourseWare web site. She took 9 programs, together with: Introduction to Algorithms; Arithmetic for Laptop Science; Design and Evaluation of Algorithms; Parts of Software program Development; Automata, Computability, and Complexity; Database Programs; Rules of Autonomy and Choice Making; Introduction to Machine Studying; and Networks

“The bridging course helped me discover ways to suppose by way of issues,” Wacheke says. “It’s one factor to know how one can do one thing, nevertheless it’s one other to design that factor from scratch and implement it.”

Throughout the bridging course, Wacheke was paired with a software program engineer at Senga, who mentored her and answered questions alongside the way in which. She discovered Ruby on Rails, a server-side internet software framework beneath the MIT License. Wacheke additionally accomplished different initiatives to enhance the speculation she was studying. She created a brand new web site that included an integration to channel exterior requests to Slack, a cross-platform group communication software utilized by the corporate’s workers.

Steady studying for group members

The bridging course concluded with a presentation to Senga workers, throughout which Wacheke defined how the corporate may use graph principle for decision-making. “If you wish to get from level A to B, there are algorithms you need to use to search out the shortest path,” Wacheke says. “Since we’re a logistics firm, I assumed we may use this once we’re deciding which routes our vans take.”

The presentation, which is the ultimate requirement for the bridging course, can also be knowledgeable growth alternative for Senga workers. “This course of is useful for our group members, notably those that have been out of faculty for some time,” Odongo says. “The candidates current what they’ve discovered in relation to Senga. It’s a approach of doing steady studying for the present group members.”

After efficiently finishing the bridging course in November 2022, Wacheke transitioned to a full-time software program engineer function. She is at present growing a “machine” that may interpret and categorize a whole lot of paperwork, together with supply notes, money flows, and receipts.

“The aim is to allow our clients to easily feed these paperwork into our machine, after which we will extra precisely learn and convert them to digital codecs to drive automation,” Odongo says. “The machine will even allow somebody to ask a doc a query, corresponding to ‘What did I ship to retailer X on date Y?’ or ‘What’s the complete worth of the products delivered?’”

The bridging course, which was initially custom-designed for Wacheke, is now a everlasting program at Senga. A second group member accomplished the course in October 2023 and has joined the software program group full time. 

“Builders are usually not simple to search out, and also you additionally need high-quality builders,” Odongo says. “At the least once we do that, we all know that the particular person has gone by way of what we’d like.”

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