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Meet Wahabu Kamukama

Self-employed Land Surveyor

Land is a very contentious issue in many countries with Uganda not being an exception. To ensure that it is well-demarcated, boundaries are well set to minimize conflicts, surveyors play a very pivotal role in that regard. To understand fully who a surveyor and what they actually do, we caught up with Kamukama Wahabu, a freelance surveyor and this is what we asked

In a nutshell, what you do as a Surveyor and what motivated you to pursue that career path?

Surveying to me came as a calling. It's a course I did at University on government sponsorship. So far, I am 4years into the practice is this profession.
Surveying is broad having areas like cadastral surveying, engineering surveying, hydrographic surveying, valuation surveying, quantity surveying and so forth, but my biggest area of expertise is cadastral surveying I thus would love to take a minute expounding on the said discipline. Cadastral surveying consists of land administration calling it land registration or land titling. Processing of land titles. Talk of boundary opening or finding out the extents of registered land on the ground. Then we can talk of area verification to mention but a few. Engineering surveying, on the other hand, involves topographic surveying, leveling, computation of volumes of Earthwork, setting out extents of structures, etc

What was it like finishing school and getting into your first jobs?

For starters, I am self-employed. I thus do not know if am fit to answer this question for it is specific on how got my job and yet surprisingly am not employed. But to share how I came to this, allow me to tell you that my journey has been rugged one with hills and valleys.
I have been employed mainly in the private sector and only to realize that most of the private employers capitalize on exploiting their employees in the form of meager pay, or poor working conditions, underutilisation of their skills like they will sign you to be at the office at 8am in the morning and sign you out at 5pm both for when there is work at the office or not.

Now for a hard-working Kamukama (muntu wawansi) would like to move out and do other jobs when not occupied at the office. And this propelled me to get self-employed for almost all my employers could not allow me to live my life freely.

Anything cool about this kind of work? Are there challenges

Yes. It's a paying job. It's a job full of challenges that keep you alert. Because of the rapid advancement of technology, a surveyor is expected to keep learning every other time, because the instrumentation used at work changes year in year out.
Going to the fact that surveying tackles challenges related to one of the factors of production, land. We are at close range with different kinds of people.
So a surveyor is expected to be an excellent communicator both to secure a contract and also to explain findings to the satisfaction of the client lest you fall for the lynching that is always broadcast on the popular or even rather famous "agataliko nfuffu" news bulletins

What skills does one need to be a Surveyor, how important are those skills and how can someone perfect such skills?

1. A surveyor needs to be skilled at communication. This can be perfected over time. Those still in high school endeavor to be in debating clubs, Rotaract clubs so that you grow up a confident, eloquent citizen.
2. A surveyor is expected to be excellent at computer usage. When fieldwork is done. The data collected ought to be processed on a computer to maps. And all this is done on computers using a number of softwares. Disclaimer, you don't need need to be a computer wizard. But in case you are, the better
3. A surveyor needs to be a scientist. This may not necessarily be a skill. But those in lower levels of education need to know that to pursue surveying, they need to do well in science subjects.
4. A surveyor needs to be good at conflict resolution. Over time, a surveyor has presented a case of land encroachment. We do the survey and find that indeed there is an encroachment. So the surveyor should be in a position to advise the client going forward to that the findings do not spark killings.

How did school (High school and University) prepare you for the career you are pursuing today?

I did PCM/E at high school. The subject I do not apply readily is chemistry but the rest at play. In addition to these subjects, I apply more of the geography in this field. So a student in O'level can think of doing a combination that has physics, maths, geography, economics etc.

Coming to University, I did a number of modules or course units and all are indeed applicable in the field. Yes, I was a student leader more so at the University and this has helped me sail in this ocean of working environment.

Has Wahabu had any rewarding events so far, if yes, what are some moments that made you proud to be a Surveyor?

Generally what keeps me moving is having the ability to solve a land problem for the client to their satisfaction. That is more rewarding to me. The certificates and awards I have are not so much dear to than solving a societal problem

So what is the future like for this career field? What trends are you seeing that are going to define the field 5 years to come

For this profession, a lot is being done. For the years to come, mark stones shall electronic chips that they can be traced. Surveying is going to make some of us go to the Moon for surveying. Hahaha

Finally, what advice would you give someone who dreams of walking on the same career path you are on?

Have an open mind. Be prepared to read extensively. Be a person who not only understands what is read but contemplates on them too.

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