This week, I published Edidiong Asikpo's #DevJourney story on my eponym Podcast: Software developer's Journey. Among many other things, here are my main personal takeaways:
- Edidiong's coding story started as a third or fourth choice. She considered becoming a lawyer and a surgeon first, but her life circumstances decided otherwise. She then pursued a computer-science curriculum, but it didn't click right away, until her first internship.
- As part of her curriculum, Edidiong took an internship where she met young and passionate developers. "Without them, I probably wouldn't be in tech today" she said. There she learned to build mobile applications. Realizing that she had the ability to create apps like the ones she was using every day on her smartphone, was the turning point. From there on, she was hooked.
- During her studies, she continued creating Android applications and apply what she learned in numerous projects. At the end of it, she learned Python and dabbled into DataScience. She then realized that she was missing the visual feedback her mobile development past had provided. She thus decided to go into front-end development.
- At some point, Edidiong realized that her dislike for reading and writing was hurting her career. At that time, she used short-form writing (think "aw r u?" for "how are you?") intensively. She realized that by doing so, she was reducing her vocabulary, which made it hard to communicate her ideas. She also discovered that short-form was increasing the likelihood of her being misunderstood. She heard the phrase "you only learn how to write by writing", so she started writing and sharing. Getting traction and feedback on her writing definitely helped in motivating her to write even more.
- Often on her writing journey, Edidiong questioned her legitimacy for writing about one topic or another. She felt like an imposter. She had the feeling that that particular topic had been already covered so many times by much more intelligent persons. She wrote about it anyway and got tremendously positive feedback. People who had never understood the DOM for instance finally got it with her explanation. I love how contextual teaching can be. Your words, in your context, with your culture, principles, and language can make the difference. Don't censor yourself!
- As she was searching for her first job, Edidiong realized that her open-source contributions were a great boost to her profile. During one interview, she spent more time talking with the interviewer about her last pull request than about her profile. As she puts it, "it is a good way to get more experience without having a job". She then got the job and started her first job as a developer relations engineer.
- Her online presence led her to her second and current job at Hashnode. She was spotted by the marketing team there and interviewed as a Woman in tech. After the interview, she got to speak with the founder about her experience and this eventually led them to offer her a position there.
- When you reach out to a potential mentor, give some context, show that you know who the person is and why/how they could help you. Also, show that you did your homework and are not just asking for help. Finally, remember that you are not entitled to somebody's time.
- "You lose all the opportunities you don't take"
- "Writing is particularly important to teach to yourself"
- "I don't think you need a mentor to be a great software engineer [...] but unlike a video, a mentor can reformulate an explanation in a way that you can understand it."
Thanks, Edidiong for sharing your story with us!
Did you listen to her story?
- What did you learn?
- What are your personal takeaways?
- What did you find particularly interesting?