I started out as a curious mind who didn't want to waste his one year mandatory service to his country.
With nothing but a curious naive mind who wanted to build his own product or startup...(silly me), I have grown into a developer who is confident in his lack of knowledge and who has a desire to learn and keep on learning. So here's a very brief summary of how I went from zero ability to employable ability.
I studied microbiology and graduated top of my class, but in this four years, I wrote my first code in Java, the university made it compulsory to take a course in IT and as an avid gamer, i thought to myself, why not learn how to make your own games, lol.......(😭😭😭) silly me again. I might probably explore this more later in life.
After graduating university, I started to brainstorm on ideas that could solve problems, you know the way Bill, Mark and Jobs started out. The few developers i knew were either not passionate with the idea or i couldn't afford them, not even if i sold my kidney (😂😂😂)...
So i took it as a challenge, or let's call it perfect timing, the hotels.ng remote internship and andela + google scholarship program opened and I applied. I dropped out of the hotels.ng internship as i couldn't cope with the demands, it was too advanced for beginners. I went ahead to complete the andela scholarship (rushed it) just to get the certificate.
I called a meeting between me myself and I and we all agreed such learning strategy would in no way build me into an in demand world class developer.
Electricity: This is a major difficulty for code newbies or developers generally in my country Nigeria. I always had to find the nearest hub that could accommodate me in order to have access to light and this was no easy distance to trek.
Data: Another difficulty faced by developers. While the web is full with unlimited learning resources, access to these resources like YouTube contents, online free courses or even taking courses on udemy and other learning platforms involved investing a considerable large amount of money into internet subscription. Apart from the cost, you had no guarantee on the speed of your internet connection, I always had to hang my phones on the window and had four different sim cards of network providers and a lot of switching between sims just to be productive.
Lack of a mentor or guide: I pretty much started learning on my own and often found myself stuck most times for days or struggled with concepts at that time. While this may be a very good thing for some devs, I find that having a mentor/guide helps make the process of learning easy. Someone you feel very much accountable and someone who helps directs you on the content to focus on and not to focus on because i made this mistake. I just accumulated tutorials and courses that to be honest, wasn't needed.
Faulty Laptop: During the early stage of learning, my laptop finally gave up the ghost, and efforts to resurrect it all proved futile. For a month all i could do was read some very few blog posts and all. I got lucky and a friend borrowed me a slow hp compaq 6910p windows 7 laptop. I used that till i left the state to go home and decided it was time to get myself a laptop worthy of development. Sadly enough I got scammed of the money (1000+ usd) by the seller and i was back to square one for four months. I didn't do much but along the line, I met a very close childhood friend/senior who i discovered had left medicine to become a developer and boy o boy, he is great at it. I got lucky again after months of depression and reaching out to people in the developer community if anyone could at least loan me money to get a laptop. While no one responded to any of my messages, another friend repaired hers and loan me to use which i am currently still making use of. After that, I focused all the energy and depression into making up for the months I couldn't learn.
Gems who have contributed to my growth
1- Segun Ola: The childhood friend who I talked about previously? yea thats him. I am really surprised he's not yet spoken at tech conferences, man is a genius at what he does. Changed my whole perspective on CSS and accessibility to be honest.
2- Prosper Otemuyiwa: Mentor from a distance, man has been instrumental in my growth without him even knowing. One of Africa's greatest developer exports. Developer influence, giveaway god and overall baby boy developer mentor. Man donated a udemy course into my life and it has really helped me become a better developer today.
3- Pascal Obbap: Pascal was my colleague at the university we worked as a graduate assistant during the one year mandatory service. Our relationship has grown from just colleagues to a guy I admire a lot. Very smart and intelligent, always ready and available to answer my annoying questions. A real community builder and developer advocate.
A lot of people have in one way or the other helped me become better and I am super grateful to have come across them.
Advice to upcoming Devs
1- Be consistent
2- Be patient with yourself, you are not dumb
3- Take your time too, they'd always be a job waiting for you
4- Reach out to people when you are stuck
5- Have an open mind that seeks to learn
6- Be very very helpful
7- Practice, practice, practice, code code code.
8- Watch tutorials but also build build build
9- Practice problem solving too, don't just know the language, know how to use it to solve problems
Today i started work as a full time front-end developer and I am grateful for everyone who has contributed towards making that happen. It is the ideal work environment i could have dreamed of, i would be working with React, React native, php and node.
While I may not be able to do so much for the developer community in my country at the moment, I feel it's important to light another person's life just the way my life got light from the gems above. I would be contributing an amount of my pay towards course giveaway, internet subscriptions, answering questions, explaining concepts or contributing to a cause just to see other people grow.
I still have a lot to learn, so so much and though it scares me, but I do look forward to the challenges that lay ahead. I am also very open to opportunities that helps me grow and help people out.
I would also be writing more, and releasing more content that is focused on explaining concepts that shouldn't honestly be complicated to help other newbie or devs understand better and become world class devs. Please do follow back and feel free to reach out anytime.
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