Perhaps the Ethiopian experience when it comes to Information Technology is, in comparison to more advanced nations, nonexistent. Fighting to stay competitive in a global arena in such fields can be worrisome or even intimidating to say the least. But then again when one gets to meet individuals such as Mr. Mekonen Kassa from Seattle Washington, and who works for Microsoft, one of the most successful IT companies in the world, it starts to seep in that it is possible for ordinary Ethiopians to make their mark in this global workforce.
On 27 February 2018 at the Post Graduate Hall of the University of Gondar the Gondar born native, who is now an American citizen, presented in an eloquent manner today’s emerging technological platforms and the skills associated with them. Speaking to a crowd of about 80 up and coming student programmers, Mr. Mekonen shared his experience of over 20 years at Microsoft and expressed his beliefs on where he thinks Information Technology is headed.
Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and services. Nevertheless Mekonen Kassa stressed the need to share his own knowledge and skills that he gained from Microsoft. “I would like to impart some understanding of new techniques with you the younger generation” he stressed.
He started his workshop by sharing some inspiring information about his curiosity to seek something greater. In his adolescent years as a young man he escaped the Derg Regime’s totalitarian country and found an opportunity to seek asylum in America via Sudan.
Once in America the mature Mekonen, now with the American Dream in mind, explored his options and found himself on the doorsteps of one of the most successful companies ever created, Microsoft. He is currently an IT Core Services Engineering professional with the title of Principle Engineer in the IT Department. He also has experience in engineering, deploying, improving, and operating IT infrastructure services.
Since the 1990s Microsoft has increasingly diversified from the operating system market and has made a number of corporate acquisitions their largest being the acquisition of LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in December 2016, followed by Skype Technologies for $8.5 billion in May 2011.
During his power point presentation he focused on the trends of the technology sector. Among some of the concepts, he spoke in-depth about Cloud Technology, Block-Chain and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
By incorporating humor and expertise in his address to the students the man of Microsoft gained a lot of admirers. Mr. Mekonen Kassa also tried to express his delight in where the country is going. “People say that the American dream is the only way one can make a living,” he said, “but I believe there can be a bigger dream here in Ethiopia!”
The Principal Infrastructure Service Engineering Manager also advocated for students to be well aware of the fast pace world of IT. He affirmed, “You can never be complacent in the world of IT, when you believe that you have learned it all the next day shows you that a new update or system has been released. So you must always be on top of your profession.”
Microsoft was founded by Paul Allen and Bill Gates on April 4, 1975 and it is the world’s fourth-largest information technology company by revenue.
By: Samuel Malede| Public & International Relations Directorate