Developer unlocks success formula with phone apps
Posted Wednesday, July 4 2012 at 19:01
Stephen Maingi never went for any specialised computer course beyond ‘Introduction to Computers’, which he took in 2002 just before he joined university. But that course opened his eyes to the vast possibilities offered by computer technology.
Today, he earns Sh100,000 a month in royalties from downloads of applications he developed and that are available on Nokia’s Ovi Store.
“I studied computer packages in 2002 and from there on, I relied on manuals to learn programming,” Mr Maingi, 29, says.
Nokia launched its Ovi Store worldwide in May 2009, allowing customers to download games, applications, videos, images and ring tones to their Nokia devices either for free or at a fee. Mr Maingi started doing business with the company in October 2011 when he contacted their public relations department and was introduced to the team at Ovi store.
But his journey to success has been marked with many struggles.
When he joined Moi University in 2002, Mr Maingi wanted to study Computer Science but this never came to be. Instead, he was admitted for a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics.
While at the university, he relied on manuals borrowed from the library to learn computer programming.
“If I ran into problems, I consulted Computer Science students,” says Mr Maingi, who graduated in 2007.
After university, he started freelance programming, concentrating on developing school management systems for students’ marks and school fees.
“I developed the system for Gatimu Secondary School and Elied Vision Academy in 2008,” says Mr Maingi.
Each school paid him Sh20,000.
He would then visit individual schools, marketing his applications to teachers. However, with no private means of transport and with some health issues cropping up, this process was slow and limited. Eventually Mr Maingi had to get a regular job in October when he became a lecturer at the Kenya Institute of Management.
But his lecturing career was short-lived, lasting a year.
“I had a spine problem and because I couldn’t stand for long, I had to quit teaching,” he says.
His star started rising when he ventured into developing mobile applications in 2009 after teaching himself from Internet resources.
Shortly after, he developed a suite of 14 applications called Kyuste Mobile Suite, which included apps like My.Manager — for adding, viewing and editing contacts; Scriptures — covering a collection of bibles verses; Finance — for personal finance management; Diary — for management of daily and future events; I.Record — for storing important information; SMS.Chat and many others.
Towards the end of 2010, he published the applications with Getjar.com, where users would download the applications and get the activation code after paying for via PayPal.