My Journey from Uganda to San Francisco – the Hub of the World’s Technology Innovation

By Kunal Shah, MS in IT Management Candidate (’18)

Uganda, my country of origin, is a fantastic place. What makes Uganda so exciting is that it has a diverse group of inhabitants that include people with roots in other countries. You could even say that Uganda is more diverse than the San Francisco Bay Area with British Canadians, Indians, South Africans, and those from other African countries all making a contribution. The government is pro-business and there also has been significant investment in nonprofits. My high school education, which was modeled after the Geneva system, included direct volunteer service to the indigenous population. When you think of it, I have been given a chance to think about software development from multiple user perspectives such as those from developing countries like Uganda.

I learn from professionals about the experiences and skills they picked up leading companies or teams in the technology field.

After living in Uganda through high school, I moved to Dubai to study at Murdoch University Dubai for an undergraduate degree. I am now a graduate student at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, finishing an MS in Information Technology. At GGU, I learn from professionals about the experiences and skills they picked up leading companies or teams in the technology field. Working on an information architecture project for a San Francisco nonprofit has given me a chance to use some of these skills.

An International Tech Student in San Francisco

I am living in SOMA (South of Market neighborhood), which is walking distance from Google and companies such as Weebly, LinkedIn, and CBS Interactive. My roommates are also part of my education because they are international young people who are in the tech world. One (Andres Ramos) works for Medium.com – an innovative platform started by a Twitter co-founder.  An engineer from France (Quentin Benhayia) is working as a developer for a streaming service company called DaCast. Another roommate of mine works for an organization called Lever and graduated from California State University, Fresno.

The Importance of Values

In Uganda, technology and infrastructure are very lacking, along with access to water and good housing. However, I believe that new, innovative technology can make a worldwide impact and make the daily lives of the people in Uganda and other developing countries better – not necessarily a recreation of Facebook, but something innovative that has not been thought of yet.

I admire my family, and they have been my greatest mentors. They came from nothing, doing odd jobs when they first arrived in Uganda and then progressing from there. However, money shouldn’t be the driving factor in business.  Living in a developing nation like Uganda has taught me the importance of morals and core values. Despite not being as rich as the U.S. by far, the indigenous population is deeply rooted in their nation, and they have great unity.


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