To what extent is software different here – What is it like to be a programmer in Kampala? (Part 4)
To what extent is software different here?
The difference is in the implementation and deployment. One programmer says, ‘The technical way the bridge is built in Uganda is in many ways the same way a bridge is built in the West.’ In fact, the programmers go to great lengths to ensure that their code meets international standards and that everything they build is tested and conforms to the standards of the world.
Where software differs is in the end user requirements specific to Uganda. One example is language. One programmer explains there are 50 different tribes, each with a different language. It is in the localization process that the programmer feels they can add the most value. They go on to explain that even within the same tribe there are many differences you must take into account.
One programmer explains, ‘End users worldwide are the same. When the I-phone came out anyone could use it all over the world. But what actually matters is the fact that we are just now starting to adapt and adopt this kind of technology. People here aren’t willing to pay the same as they do in the West. So people here don’t really value IT in the same way and do not have the money to buy similar technology. The Ugandan population doesn’t necessarily accept the power of technology.’
When asked what to do about it, one developer explained that they must strike a balance between the functionality and the price. The programmer explains that this creates problems because the user expects certain functionality but they aren’t going to get it for the price they are willing to pay.