With a Bachelors of Science degree in Information Technology from JKUAT, Dennis Makori has steadily and consistently built his career in the IT landscape. Through what his peers describe as an admirable work ethic and discipline, approachability and a knack for coming up with productive initiatives, he has navigated through various ranks and has no doubt been leaving lasting footprints in everything he has been engaged with. Makori is currently the Samsung Experience Stores Manager for the East African region, working in the Trade Marketing Department. He features on our segment this week as alumnus of the week through a one on one interview that outlines his career journey, the input of the University in his growth, what prospective and current students have to learn from his story and many more.
Briefly describe your career journey from your graduation to your current position.
I joined Safaricom just before my graduation as a Network planning engineer for 3 months. After my graduation, I moved to Telkom Kenya which I worked for 5 months as a Business Applications developer.
Early 2012, I joined Samsung Electronics E.A for the Samsung Africa Young Leader program. After attending a 6 months training in South Korea (Samsung Digital city) for IT (Business Competence Development) and Printing Solutions, I came back to Kenya in 2012 Dec and joined the Samsung IT department as a Retail Assistant and IT trainer which I did for 1 year till then took up the role of experience and expansion that I hold till today.
Apart from the academic provision, what role has JKUAT played in your career development?
I can’t talk about my career without mentioning my mentor Madam Nancy Macharia – the then Deputy ICSIT Director at JKUAT who has really helped me grow in my career.
At JKUAT, I was a class rep (BSC_IT class of 2008-2011), Was a JKUSO Departmental Rep (2010), Was a JEMA Chairman and was involved in many projects i.e the SwitchIT project. All this projects helped me to become a whole rounded person and to be who I am today.
JKUAT has a big name out here, a good recommendation from the University means a lot to corporate organizations and JKUAT’s recommendation opened the way for me to the corporate world.
Do you think studying at JKUAT has made you uniquely equipped and qualified to handle various jobs and initiatives? If yes, kindly elaborate.
As I have explained above, JKUAT presented a platform for me to test my skills, I became more confident and learnt on responsibility as I took up different roles as a leader at JKUAT.
What are your most treasured memories of JKUAT while you were a student?
Hehe, there’s quite a number, ranging from paying fees during the end sem rush hour- Wah! That was something else. Then there was the affordable food at the mess (chapos). That food is soo cheap. Also standing out were the games- I was a football player. Also being a CU member, I really loved the Christian Union Sunday and Wednesday services. The list is end-less.
In your current position and all other initiatives you have handled before, what keeps you going and what has been your work/life philosophy or principle?
My philosophy is:
‘Be confident at what you do, work hard and Smart, be consistent and have work discipline ‘.
Remember Work will always be there, so have a work life balance and don’t forget God in all you do, He is first and He orders our steps.
What are your career plans going forward? Any anticipated change or advancements?
I have great plans, to be able to empower young people in solutions development and driving the ICT industry towards solution offering. My passion is in IT Solutions and my future is to offer IT solutions to all levels of Business in Africa.
If you were to go back in time and become an undergraduate student at JKUAT again, what would you do differently?
I would focus more on projects, partner with lectures to take my projects to the market and at least have my projects working in the industry before I leave JKUAT.
What’s your word of advice to the current and prospective JKUAT students taking the course you studied at the University?
My advice to students- As I have always told many who we have interacted, don’t focus on job searching but rather focus on self-differentiation. The Question should be, how different are you from the rest?
As an IT Student, develop solutions to current industry problems, No one cares about your grades (they are secondary to what you can do).
Would you recommend to someone the course you studied at the University? Kindly explain.
100%, I would. JKUAT is known for its best skilled IT student products and I would be an example for such a product.
How would you describe the current IT job market landscape. What are some of the opportunities and challenges?
IT landscape has changed from what we knew it to be back in 2010 where we used to focus on networking, Programming and Business application to Telecoms and Solutions driven approach to data and content needs.
Today, SNS, Cloud computing and Business optimization using IT tools is what the corporate market focuses on. CEO, COO and CFOs what to spend more time focusing on the organizations core business and less on IT processes. This presents a very unique opportunity for upcoming IT specialist to outsource their services in both Digital data management and outsourced IT services. We will see many startups coming up in connection to this.
Are there any improvements or changes you think should be effected in JKUAT as pertains the course you studied?
The course, not really, But JKUAT Systems Yes. I think the University should invest more in internal fees payment systems (if not yet done), and Get an eBoard System to interface the lecture to students.
The Bsc. Information Technology course that Dennis pursued at the University is offered at the Information Technology Department, at the University’s School of Computing and Information Technology (SCIT). The department also offers certificate, diploma in IT, Bsc. in Business Computing as well as masters programmes. The department began as JKUAT-MMS IT Centre in 1996 and has since grown and made impressive milestones in both the country’s and the region’s IT landscape.