My Journey Into Software Development

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Published on Jan 22, 2020 by Olumide Ogundele
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Life they say “is a journey”, I am also a strong believer of that saying. I see my life as a journey and also according to one of the tech icons Steve Jobs whom I learnt a lot from his story said

“You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life”

and this is me connecting the dots backwards and reflecting on how I got this far in my journey called life but skewed towards career and self development - this is my first writing so please have fun knowing about my journey and I am always open to feedback from you.

I have always loved Physics and fiddled with electronic devices but that was not enough to influence my decision to study Medicine and Surgery, being influenced by my parents at the early stage of life (they want the best for me), the funny thing is, I think this applies to some people too. When I was in Primary School, I wanted to be a Scientist, then it changed to Aeronautic Engineer, then in Secondary School I had no idea what I wanted till my parents suggested Medicine and Surgery, eventually, I went to Obafemi Awolowo University and studied Soil Science (funny right!) but I knew I wasn't going further in that field and that was where it all started, I was in a Technical Unit in School where we do live sound system setup for events in and out of school, it really came to me very easily to reason about Sound Boards, Amplifiers, Speakers, Equalizers, their design and how they are wired up. knowing this, I went to study Computer Networking doing Cisco Certified Networking Associate course but I was still curious, I wanted to know how Routers, Switches and the Network Protocols work, that pushed me into learning about Computer Programming in 2015, it was scary at the time.

My journey into Software Development was not an easy one, I needed to pay my bills and I don't have the skills of a Professional Software Engineer yet, I got a job as a Logistics Officer in Dangote Cement Industries, I worked as Logistics Officer by day, studied to be a Software Engineer by night, that was my routine everyday, I will take 2 weeks leave from work to attend Andela‘s bootcamp, until I got accepted into the company in 2018, that ignited a drive in me and I have been walking and working with that drive till today.

In that 2 years, I studied as hard as I could, I had to understand the fundamentals of Computer Science and also using a course for beginners, I enrolled in Harvard's Computer Science for beginners CS 50, I think I did the course twice because it was overwhelming getting my brain used to a new way of thinking about how to solve problems with a Computer, I learnt about C programming, Algorithms, Fundamentals of programming, compilers, e.t.c, it is a fun course I'll recommend to anyone, and then I also used freeCodeCamp where I studied Web Development learnt HTML, CSS, JavaScript, I was very active in the JavaScript group where I made some good friends and I still communicate with few of them till now, I knew they were better than me then but that didn't stop me, I stayed around them to learn, always asking questions, studying more and overtime I got better, also helping newbies to solve problems and by the time I realized it, I had improved so much I went on to learn NodeJS, Python, React, Database systems, and lots of stuff.

Andela played a huge role in my journey to being a Professional Software Engineer, they set me on a path and I never stopped working, walking, learning, challenging myself. I was taught the Soft skills - communication, writing, speaking to be understood, collaboration, understanding the business and mission of a project, taking and giving feedback in A - Actionable, S - Specific and K - Kind manner and technical skills Test-Driven Development, DevOps Culture (Continuous Integration and Delivery), Code Reviews, on-boarding into a new project easily and the lists goes on. I thought of quitting many times, burnt out lots of time but I stayed in it, I still love what I do, I got better in managing myself because burn out is never a good thing.

The journey continues for me and the direction for me now is Open Source, Site Reliability Engineering and Machine Learning, all through the journey and even till now like 4 years, I still have doubts about myself, it is called Impostor Syndrome but I never let it stop me from challenging myself, solving complex problems, designing complex systems, I like that feeling in a way, it helps me to always keep trying to be better.

Looking back, what could I have done better? or what advice would I give to a younger me:

  • Believe in yourself, even in doubts

  • People will be better than you but you can learn whatever they know, they have put in the time to learn the skill/concept but you haven't

  • Just accept it that you can't learn everything, you don't even have the time to, learn as the need arises while you focus on growing

  • Always create time to sleep well, avoid burnout and take very good care of yourself, if you're not healthy, there's no chance of being productive

If you're to advise your younger self, what would your list be like? I will be glad to hear from you about it and if you also have any question(s), I will be glad to respond, you can contact me through my email or the contact form below.