I convinced myself a few months ago, that I had potential in building stuff with computer after reading a book. I have loved playing with mobile phones while growing up as a kid, such as tweaking, playing games and fixing issues for other mobile phone users around me and was seen as a computer nerd in my family. I never had access to a desktop/laptop computer while growing up or schooling as a kid and I was still wondering why Jambites has to spent weeks/month training for Jamb.
Backwards to 2015, I was faced with choosing a course to study at the university. As I lack guidance and from a background where I can make most of life choices (if they are not bad) without anyone interfering much. I could only make a choice after googling courses that readily have high compensation and also available in my first choice university. I convinced myself to study Petroleum Engineering since I enjoyed Mathematics and Physics in secondary (high) school and from an oil-rich state, I felt I might easily get opportunities there. Looking back now (after I started coding) I feel I was stupid 🤣😏 I still remember this voice in me, telling me to study computer science and all I could use to kill it was, your sister is studying computer science, we already have that in the family, go for something else man! (so lame).
Though as of the present day, I have no regrets that I didn't study computer science as my first degree, I believe now that, as far as tech is consigned, you can have any degree and have a career in it.
Back to the story, I got admitted to Niger Delta University to pursue a career in Petroleum Engineering, filled with joy, and was ready to bag a first class in Engineering, at least that's what every fresher has in mind right 🤣🤣 Then I met Miene Victor (@douyeszn
on Twitter) who is a coursemate studying Petroleum Engineering and very passionate about tech, I can still remember Victor telling us, he is still coding few days to exams and that all he thinks of is dropping out and taking a course in MIT 🤣🤣🤣
Victor never knew he was digging something in me, we met a couple of times, had conversations, and was not surprised to see him change course to Electrical Engineering after our first year. As it was a public University the norm of strikes in Nigeria Universities was rapid in my school, I think I had about 3 strikes in my first year and was having more in subsequent level, The reason why I am still in my final year 🙈🙈
In one of these strikes somewhere in my 100level or 200level, can't really recall, I read a book by Myles Munroe titled Uncover Your Potential. And that's when the zeal for self-discovery strike me. After analysing myself with the template given in the book I could trace myself back to having passion and potential for/with computers as a kid. Then I felt, this might be something I could be good at if I should venture into it. That's when all the stories and conversations with Victor started making sense to me. "Yo I will build stuff with computer" I exclaimed happily that day.
By this time I am nearly at the end of 200 level in my Petroleum Engineering program. There was a strike again, luckily for me this time, my parents already got me a Laptop so I could easily access Engineering texts, I did some googling and started reading about programming and even took a course briefly on fundamentals of web development from edx.org, I really can't recall why I choose that course but I think it might be from things I heard while conversing with victor, I started reading about how the web was built, how it works and a little bit introduction to HTML, I didn't cover a lot in the course before the strike was called off. While in school at that time, I felt convinced within me I will be making a career in tech but was scared to admit it physically because I wanted to do well in school.
A few days ago there are rumours spreading around campus that there will be a nationwide ASUU strike, I wasn't disappointed, I was happy I will be having an opportunity to dive into coding properly. A day to the strike a friend reach out to me of how he attended Ingressive Campus Ambassadors meetup and how it blew his mind. That conversation was so interesting for me, I regretted missing the meetup, as I had information about the event. I asked my friend Eze if they recommend any learning materials in the meetup and he listed out Solo learn, Freecodecamp.org and Codecademy. I think what sticks in me was Codecademy, ooh no I wrote all down but hit Codecademy first and was amazed how they structured their learning paths and how you can code along.
it's today November 5 2018, the day the last longest ASUU strike before the present day ASUU strike kicks off, and it is my first day starting my Journey in Tech, I am officially signed in, both physically and spiritually 😂 I believe I would learn better by reading instead of videos, so Codecademy is fun for me 🤣🤣 pardon my time switch.
I started being part of the dev community in school, met person like Timothy Ovie, started using Twitter frequently and engage in the tech ecosystem both online and offline. By this time I was already ending my 300 level, my school rushed the academic session after the strike and internship session was fast approaching.
Before the end of 2019, while working with Cyberlife, I heard of Upwork, a platform that connects freelancers to clients. I decided to try it out and get myself a paid project. God being faithful and graceful, I got invited for an interview after submitting my first three proposals by a company in the UK called WorkClub.
I was onboarded into their team in late December 2019 and started getting my hands dirty with code in Jan 2020, I worked with them for about three months plus before I was laid off in late March or early April 2020 there about as they were highly affected by the coronavirus.
This was the most difficult time in my career, you know that feeling of leaving independently, but now you are broke and has to reach out to parents again to survive, it wasn't easy at all. As a result of the coronavirus, schools close down nationwide. I couldn't access electricity again because I stayed back in school, and was not allowed to access the school library where I do most of my work. The community where my school is located was out of electricity during that period as well. I felt how tough it is to job hunt as well, I submitted a lot of proposals in Upwork without getting any reply, blast a lot of jobs on LinkedIn, Stackoverflow, Angelist e.t.c got tons of rejection emails and interviewed severally. I already knew it won't be easy, I started scaling up my skills along. I would go to a nearby barbing shop during the day to access power and learn node, will come home in the night and submit applications again. I was on this routine through out april and May this year. I got my current role somewhere in the middle of May, it was also via Upwork, I call it (blessing from God).
Honestly, Some days/weeks as a remote dev working with a team in different time zone are not glamorous, most especially when there is an alien breaking things in your country and you are assigned to solve the problem, you just have to. I have been solving one problem to the other since the first day till now 😂 Stackoverflow, Github issues, medium, some programmers groups I am in on WhatsApp and Facebook has been helpful as well. There are days, weeks you will feel useless and depress because you are still trying to solve one problem, others you feel like a hero standing on top of the world who killed a monster tormenting the universe, that's the fun for me. The best thing about my current role is being with a team that is ready to help when you face blockers and are ready to allow you to learn and grow.
My Learning Road Map
- Back-end Learning path: Node → Express → MongoDB → Meteor.
Miscellaneous: There are other things like cli, project management tools, design tools, git e.t.c I learnt along the way, if you are starting too, you will definitely meet them,
Courses: There are thousands of courses both free and paid for developers out there, but I personally stick to a well-structured course/curriculum and not using numerous resources while learning. I felt I won't grow quickly and get confused along the way if there is too much. like I earlier said I learn better reading, so I used Codecademy, Codecademy is now a paid platform, you can go for Freecodecamp.org if you want something completely free, a lot of folks have testified about them as well.
Video courses that help me and I recommend
Modern HTML & CSS From The Beginning (Including Sass) by Brad Traversy.
Mern Stack Front to back: FullStack React, Redux and Nodejs by Brad Traversy.
Node.js: The Complete Guide to Building Api RESTful APIs (2018) by Mosh Hamedani.
Projects: One thing that helped me grow fast was building stuff, Not just coding along tutorial, trying to build something with code, Genesystechhub was a huge contributor to this, they task us with challenges that spur my engineering eye, that's because I tried achieving those tasks on my own and ask for help where necessary, this enabled me to understand the concepts better. Trust me, there is a big difference in trying to solve a problem with what you have learnt and just understanding a concept.
Learning: I currently consume alot about startups and business stories like books, podcasts and videos, I still read and try few things with meteor, spend some time on algorithms and data structure, interested in learning containers and graphql in the next coming months.
I hope you were able to get one or two things from this story of mine, I hope it helps someone out there. Thanks for reading through, you can reach me via Twitter @jsvenger
NB: This story is never to promote any platform or person, but purely about how the courses, platforms, persons and tools contributed to my Tech Journey so far and possibly make it easy for someone out there.