My Journey Into Tech.
6 min read
Today I can proudly call myself a software developer, though I am still a student, I can proudly interact with the different programming languages that once upon a time looked like greek to me because yes AltSchool Africa, amazing communities, beautiful tech spaces, and the most amazing mentors have helped me get to the stage I am at right now and I know I can certainly apply for a role as a junior developer and do an amazing job.
How did I get here?
Well, it hasn't been the smoothest ride, but looking back I wouldn't have it any other way. The only knowledge I had about computers was from my computer lessons in high school which by the way, I only took because I hated business, home science was too much, and french was too hard for me. I never thought of taking my skills further, it completely never crossed my mind to get into tech. I remember telling myself that tech was for geniuses like my sister.
I never knew what programming was but I used to see how much of a hassle it was, seeing my sister behind her laptop every day trying to write things I couldn't understand. This made me not want to indulge myself even more. Fast forward to campus, into my third year doing a degree in finance, AltSchool Africa was launched and a close friend told me about it. They sat me down and told me how beneficial this was going to be. Let's just say they convinced me because here I am today in my last semester of the one-year program at AltSchool Africa and also my last semester in Uni
My first 'HELLO WORLD' was written with the help of my sister in one of my "trying to figure this out" days on w3schools and I was so excited even though it was just basically following instructions. With that, my interest grew and I was ready to learn more about programming.
My first project was an assignment where I was required to create an 'about me' page with HTML and CSS and at some point, I was scared I wouldn't be able to do it. I remember crying because my work didn't look as good as what other people had done but in the end, I did manage to get it done and was proud of my progress.
Balancing school and my tech career.
No one really prepared me for how raw this was going to be. Trying to balance my school work and tech at the same time was hard. In my first semester, I had to give up a lot of my social life because any spare time I got was to catch up with my programming work. I thank God that I met my mentor during this period and he advised me to try and make time for things I wanted to do. I had to make a plan on how I would be able to do my school work, and code and still not completely miss out on my social life as a young adult and today I am glad I did that.
Be ready to learn.
The first thing my mentor told me was "you have to open yourself to learning because that is the only way you will make progress". One can never fully meet their potential if one limits themselves to what the world has to offer.
Be open to critics.
My biggest fear was sharing my work because was afraid of judgment. I had to learn that the only way to progress is to allow critics because then you will learn and open your eyes to the smallest mistakes that you couldn't notice yourself, sometimes they will be brutal but you learn to never take things personally and you understand that all those critics come from a good place. What does not kill you makes you stronger.
Ask for help
It doesn't help to struggle alone when there is a big community out there that is ready to help. Asking for help opens up a space to learn more.
People are different, so learn at your own pace
The biggest lesson I have learned is this. I used to try to match everyone's pace and end up not meeting my own goals simply because I wanted to do what other people were doing. Gradually I have learnt that we are different and how someone takes in knowledge is not the same as how the next person does so it is important to learn at your own pace and avoid putting so much pressure on yourself.
It is better to try and fail than fail to try.
Everyone has that one quote that helps them push through life every day. This is it for me. I learned this quote in primary school, which has helped me push through even more now that I am older. I am no longer afraid of trying new things out because it is much better than sitting on your potential.
Consistency is key.
Someone once told me that programming is not for quitters and that is true. If you give up easily then that's too bad because you won't learn or progress. You have to be consistent in your work if possible make it a hobby to code then you will enjoy what you do.
Communities are lifesavers!!!
Nothing beats the feeling or sense of belonging. Having a group of people who share and can understand your struggles. People who are ready to share ideas and go out of their way to help you. There is more to communities than just tech events, explore more!!!
I have learnt a lot through this journey. It's only been a year since I joined tech but I have learnt so much and I know I will continue learning more as time goes by. One thing I will tell myself in a few years as start reviewing this journey again is "Thank you for not giving up!!!" because there's no stopping from here. We are only going big because there are no thoughts of going home.
To anyone out there trying to start their into tech, It doesn't matter what you have done in the past, what you thought you could do or couldn't do. What matters is that you are ready to explore and learn. We can do this and we will do it! Remember the world has so much to offer if you open your eyes to see and your arms to embrace learning. Every day in the tech world is a learning process so get set!
Thanks for Reading!
Writing this has brought me so much pleasure and satisfaction knowing that I am finally sharing my journey here with you. At the same time, it has brought me so many nostalgic emotions that for a moment I stopped and appreciated myself for getting out of my comfort zone and doing this.
Thank you for reading my story and I hope it will inspire someone out there to achieve their own goals and do wonders!
Feel free to connect with me through :