The Zimbabwean Perspective

A look at our lives and the tech we use in them

Dev Corner Developers/ICT Workers

The Coronavirus Quarantine Period: Time for some personal development

Even in times of panic there’s still something productive we can do…


Of late, the coronavirus has been affecting most of our daily routines, resulting in some companies closing, events getting cancelled or postponed. Following the route of the majority of countries around the world, on Thursday the 19th of March, President Mnangagwa announced the closure of all learning institutions from the 24th of March until further notice.
With the date of the reopening of schools being uncertain, this could have been the time to transition to online classes — which, unfortunately, the vast majority of schools and students are not equipped to do.
The question you could be asking yourself is, “How best can I maximise on this time and how can I stay productive?” You could binge on movies or Bollywood series, read a book or do nothing throughout the quarantine period. The problem with that is in a couple of years all industries will have been impacted or automated by technology in some way and machines don’t wait or watch movies. Artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, biotechnology, mass 3-D printing, virtual reality, deep learning and smart objects will all be deeply rooted in our everyday lives.
Therefore, it is better to do some personal development and acquire some skillsets that will help prepare you for this uncertain future. Whether you are a high school student, college student or a parent, as long as you have some free time right now, I am going to recommend two skills for you to start learning during this period. Considering the current job market, companies are now leveraging technology and requiring less employees but more tech savvy ones, therefore it is essential for one to fully prepare themselves and these skills can be a great starting point.
There are a lot of self-taught software developers out there.  Some work for the big companies whereas some are working as freelancers, and that could be you after this break is over. You don’t need any money, just your focus and determination. Free online and offline resources have never been this readily available and rich in content.
Here are the skills that I recommend everyone to start learning so you can leverage on the technology before it leverages you.
  1. Web development:Writing mark-up and styling  to build a website or application
(HTML, CSS and JS)
  1. Digital marketing: Advertising products or services through search engines, websites, social media and mobile apps
  1. Learning basic Web development HTML, CSS, JS
HTML, CSS and JS are the main building blocks of all websites.
HTML stands for HyperText Mark-up Language. This means it’s a mark-up language thus it provides the mark-up (the structure) of a website. With HTML you declare what is presented to a viewer, not how it is presented.
CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, as the name suggests, defines the styles for the website. It defines how the elements declared in the HTML are presented to the viewer.
JS is JavaScript, it brings the functionality to the website, for example what happens when you click a button or make certain elements behave a certain way.
Here is a metaphor to help you understand. Let’s take a parrot (the bird) as a website.  HTML would be what makes up the structure of the bird, CSS would be what makes the feathers and the vibrant colours and JavaScript would be what brings life to the bird, what makes the bird talk and fly.
There isn’t much to HTML and it can be learnt in a few hours or in a day.
JS and CSS though are a bit challenging and getting good with those can take quite some time and loads of practice.
You might be asking, “So how do I start?” It’s really simple. For starters, all you need is your computer and a text editor (notepad in your computer is an example of a text editor). If you do not readily have internet connection, you can use your search engine to search for “Free HTML and CSS books” and download any that you find, so you can use for your offline reading. Once you get an idea of what HTML, JS and CSS are all about, you can also download HTML5 for professionals, CSS For professionals and JavaScript for professionals. Don’t mind the fancy titles. You can use the books even if you’re a newbie.
If you have an internet connection, you are lucky because you have a lot of online resources at your disposal. I recommend using W3schools, and codecademy. Or you could use YouTube. There are a lot of channels that do free web development tutorials, but I would recommend starting with HTML crash course, CSS crash course and JS Crash course from a YouTube channel called Traversy media.
All of the aforementioned resources are free.
  1. Learning Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is a modern form of marketing businesses or organisations on the internet. It helps them to reach thousands of people and generate lots of prospects. Today Digital marketing skills are critical and in demand not just for those in the field but for companies and individuals too.  According to over 3 million Zimbabweans were active internet users as of 2016, and that number has increased by huge margins ever since. That’s 3+ million people you can reach to market your product or service with just the click of a button.
Here are a few ways you could start learning Digital Marketing.
  1. Get certified in the fundamentals of Digital Marketing (Google Digital Skills for Africa)
Who better to teach you Digital marketing than the masters of the World Wide Web themselves- Google. Master the basics of digital marketing with this interactive Advertising Bureau-accredited course. There are 25 modules to explore, all created by Google trainers, packed full of practical exercises and real examples to help you turn knowledge into action.
This course is centred towards beginners and has an unlimited access, meaning that  you can access course materials more than once. Above all, you get a recognised certification upon completion.
  1. Intro Into Social Media Advertising with buffer
This course is also centred towards beginners. In this free Skillshare course Brian Peters teaches you all about social media marketing from demystifying vocabulary, setting campaign goals, targeting audience segment to interacting and optimizing campaigns for long term success and many more concepts.
  1. SEO Training Course by Moz
SEO is an acronym which stands for Search Engine Optimization. This basically relates to how your website is crawled and ranked by search engines such as Google. These days SEO skills are in demand and you might want to add it to your CV.
This Udemy course by Moz founder, Rand Fishkin is a compilation of his Whiteboard Friday videos which he is well known for. It offers all you need to know to start your SEO journey.
Not a tech enthusiast and still want to be productive during this Corona Quarantine period? Here are a few things you could do;
  • Learn public speaking
  • Read books (Self-development books)
Hopefully you will get to learn some, if not all, of these skills. This will definitely help you out when all this corona business
 is over. Remember to stay SAFE and PRODUCTIVE.


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  1. you be on some dropping knowledge vibes … this is some good literature that will help a lot of people do better by increasing their knowledge base, money making skill set and web design. keep on doing the good work. we need more people like you no cap..


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