Interview with Javon Davis, Jamaican Software Engineer

We interview software engineer, Javon Davis, a past participant in the Calico Challenge. He speaks about his impressions of the Jamaican software industry focusing on how both employees and companies can become globally competitive given the online resources now available.

Javon also discusses job search strategies to be recognized by international companies as potential employees or contract customers. He explains the concept of new massively open online courses (MOOCs) offered by leading universities and their impact on education and the industry. Social media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter are also shown to be valuable tools when seeking contract or permanent jobs.

The discussion is engaging and informative.

Can you Market a Nonprofit on Social Media?

The Palisadoes Foundation was conceived by a group of Jamaican technology professionals interested in assisting in the continued development new and existing technologies in Jamaica. We know Jamaica can produce world class software engineers and have been proving this in our outreach activities since 2014. A signature program of our nonprofit is the annual Calico Challenge where software engineering students in Jamaican universities are awarded an internship to work on open source projects over the summer under the guidance of an industry mentor. Students are paid a stipend based on the achievement of predefined goals. To date over 18 students have graduated.

Even with our success, our public awareness and donation base needs to be improved. Our presence on our website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram needs to be more effectively used to target persons interested in our philanthropic goals. We are seeking a part-time contractor to assist us in creating and implementing the marketing campaigns to do this.

The person will need to present a plan that outlines:

  • Recommended approaches to improve our existing portfolio of social media properties.
  • Strategies to be used for each type of social media platform based on the audience each attracts.
  • The appropriate use and creation of audio, video and still images
  • Expected quarterly targets for success based on either experience or data found on the web. This would include, but not necessarily limited to, the numbers of followers and inbound donation dollar amounts.
  • The categorizations of posts for each platform. We have seen where tailored combinations of industry, technical, career and fun categories of posts are required for success on each platform.
  • Social media calendars with weekly targets for posts for each identified category
  • Ways to attract influencers to the cause
  • Maintaining private and public donor relationships
  • The sources to be used in re-posting the content on social media.
  • A reevaluation of our blogging strategy to see if there may be ways to make the content more engaging, if at all.
  • Methods to create a steady stream Jamaican imagery of software engineering students and professionals for use in our posts with targets.
  • Possible new approaches to email. We have a general monthly newsletter. We are open to having more targeted email audiences.
  • Promoting opinion pieces found on the Internet related to the Foundation’s work
  • Ways to better use our LinkedIn company page and interest group with over 800 members.

The person will need to be based in the Kinston corporate area of Jamaica. Please contact us though our website if you are interested in making a proposal.

Jhamali Vassell – Palisadoes Student Volunteer at UWI

My name is Jhamali Devante Vassell. I went Glenmuir High, established in 1955, and remains one of the top performing schools in Jamaica. I currently attend the University of the West Indies(UWI), Mona, majoring in Computer Science and Electronics.

I became a volunteer for the Palisadoes Foundation September 2017. I became familiar with the organization through the Calico Program, a venture started by the them to help students gain experience in software development and get a feel for the industry at a professional level. Currently, my task is being an intermediary, along with another student, between the Palisadoes Foundation, and UWI as well as the UWI Computing Society. So far, we’ve mainly assisted, in confirming and organizing events, and relaying necessary messages from the Palisadoes Foundation to some personnel at UWI or the Computing Society.

My interests are varied, but my main goal is to get into the field of robotics and AI development. Though most people are still skeptical about smart machines, I believe they are necessary for continued advancement, which may eventually become stagnate due to human limitations. If designed well, machines would be able to complete tasks with more precision and speed than humans, allowing the research and development process to go by more quickly. I’m also interested in is robotic body parts for the disabled, such as spine alignment technology, new limbs, and even eyes.

Currently I’m mainly focused on low level development, embedded systems and communication between them. I’m hoping to eventually go to Japan, where Robotic development is occurring on a large scale, and at a fairly fast pace.