Open space for technologists, investors, tech companies and hackers in Nairobi.


iHub By Jessica Colaço / June 5, 2011

iHubber: Charles Kithika


In a quest to tell the stories of the people and the projects that make the iHub community what it is today, we have a series of blog posts that have been running every week. These are stories about The iHubber - The People and The Projects we see at the iHub on each passing day! This week, we talked to Charles Kithika. An innovator at the iHub and a hardcore techie.

Briefly tell me about yourself, How your day starts and How you get your inspiration?
I am a software developer. I completely suck at design so I usually outsource that to people who know what they are doing; I however do pride myself in a few Photoshop skills like cropping photos.

I start my day from around 6.30am – 7.30am depending on how late I slept the previous night. I’m not much of an early breakfast person so I never eat breakfast at home; I prefer a snack or a cold Coke later on in the office. I usually start off by responding to emails and scheduling my tasks for the day and meetings if any, then lastly follow up with the rest of my team on what is pending, what needs to be done etc. I get inspiration from seeing other people’s work and how they are making a difference in business and in people’s lives.

When and how did get into programming?
Surprisingly, I wasn’t much of a coder in university up until my final year project where I began to take it seriously and quite enjoyed it. My first job was the eye opener to the software development business; I had to learn on the fly most of what I know today, more like baptism by fire. It was a great learning experience though!

Tell me about you latest projects
I’m a techie at Rupu, where we support businesses in marketing their products/services online and at the same time give some amazing discounts to new and existing customers. I work alongside some brilliant minds so each day is a new learning experience.

What are your guiding principles?
I believe in getting involved in a project that you believe in, that way you give it all your attention. Secondly, sometimes saying NO can be the best decision to make. This can be because you have enough on your plate or you do not have the technical skill-set to undertake the project.

Whats the one aspect of programing you give the highest priority to?
Always trying to see where I can improve the user experience – if users don’t like it, there is something that you are not doing right.

Whats the one thing you wish programmers would understand in this industry?
For some of us programmers/designers, being nocturnal is not our fault, blame it on the passion.

What do you love the most about being a programmer? And what led you to start using the iHub?
I love being a programmer because you develop applications that other people use and seeing them enjoy using your applications gives you a very satisfying feeling. Being at the iHub is a great experience because I get to meet individuals who have done some amazing work and it is very inspiring to see how they do it.

I first came to the iHub for an Ushahidi Dev meet-up, way back before Pete’s Coffee. It was the first place where I had been to with so many developers/designers in one place at the same time. I learnt quite a lot from the meet-ups over time and soon became a regular at Pete’s Coffee.

What can other programmers do to take advantage of the iHub space?
The iHub is a great place to network with like-minded individuals; I’ve met a number of very talented people and quite exceptional ones with amazing visions of what they love doing and projects that they are involved in. I’d really doubt it if you told me that it can’t be done at the iHub! I believe the perfect learning environment is one where learning is done through and with the help of other people - interacting with them or even working on similar projects. In this respect, the iHub is a really awesome place!

What one piece of advice would you give someone wanting to start a career in design/programming?
If a single bone in you is iffy about coding or designing, don’t do it! And if not then do it because you love it and not because of the money.

What trends do you see being big in 2011?
Mobile is definitely going to be a big trend this year, the mobile device has become more than a tool – it’s a way of life. Everyone in tech is thinking of how the mobile device can be integrated into every aspect out our lives.

Author : Jessica Colaço

Jessica Colaço is currently the Director of Partnerships at iHub. She was the Founding Manager between 2010 and 2011 at iHub and Research Director between 2011 and 2013 at iHub Research. She is passionate about Innovation, Research, Mobile and Robotics Technology, Mentorship and Entrepreneurship in Kenya as she uses her position at iHub to court local, regional and international stakeholders to adopt Kenyan-made and African-made solutions. As an upcoming angel investor, she courts local and international investors to invest in great tech ideas and companies at idea and concept stage. She is also a Mobile and Robotics Tech Evangelist, Co-Founder of WMIAfrica and AkiraChix, ISOC-Kenya Chapter, Treasurer, ACM-W Nairobi Chapter Chair, TED Global Fellow 2009 and upcoming Guitarist. She was named one of the top 40 women under 40 years in Kenya's business scene by Business Daily on 2009, 2011 and 2012. Her endeavour is to put Kenya and Africa on the map for technology achievements and spur innovation within the country and continent! She blogs at:

  • Tayiana at 15:45:56PM Sunday, June 5, 2011

    amazing interview thanks for the advice

  • Billy Kaye at 06:52:20AM Monday, June 6, 2011

    Nice to profile the first friend i ever made at the iHub when i travelled miles from uganda to see this amazing meet up place……we taught each other a lot in one day.

  • Kagai Macharia at 08:15:24AM Monday, June 6, 2011

    Good job Charles. With the group on IPO coming soon, there are huge prospects for deals. One question: How are you funding your business? Are you bootstrapping? You have angel investors? Or a VC?

  • Miriam Wambui at 12:12:25PM Friday, June 10, 2011

    Thanks for the motivation!! Really needed it.

  • Charles Kithika at 02:14:17AM Monday, June 27, 2011

    Apologies for not following up on the comments. Thanks for the comments guys.. @Kagai, yes we are working with a VC.

    @Billy, hope everything’s well on your end.

    Charles K.


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