My Tech Journey – Michael George

I‘ve been hearing about tech since I was in secondary school but always thought it was for a special set of people that understands the inner workings of a computer down to its 1s and 0s but one of my friends convinced me it wasn’t. 2018 was when I wrote my first line of code, my first HTML tag, wrote a few more, and started feeling myself “oshey, baddest, infact let’s go and see job requirements for full stack developer and apply”. 

1. Why do tech newbies usually go for frontend development?

Going through the requirements, all I said was “Ahhhhhhhhh, what is node.js, express.js, bootstrap, docker, Kubernetes, react.js, MongoDB, Ajax, jQuery, tailwind CSS, for one person head”. I was in university back then studying mechanical engineering and had to focus on my studies so I put frontend on hold.

2. Why are there so many tools for web development? 

I didn’t give up though, I saw Google Africa Developer Scholarship (GADS) and that was where my jumping started (from one career path to another). I searched for all the tech roles and it was so much I was mesmerised because I thought only web development existed under tech. Data engineering really caught my eye and interest. I searched for courses on it but found nothing, guess it was relatively new.In 2018 October, I got accepted into GADS, started Android development, and ran through Java in a day, 24 hours straight, before this it was only HTML I had touched, needless to say, everything in Android was just confusing although I built some apps. Just when android started making sense I entered Backend with node.js with no prior JavaScript knowledge. I was a literal learning menace with no mentor, no guide, and no community, and as you can guess that boat didn’t sail well. 

3. Why do some people toggle several programs?

In 2019 September I applied for the same Google scholarship but this time it was cloud development. It was going well for the most part but the university became very demanding and I had to drop it, after two months I came back and I had lost the opportunity. 

In 2020, immediately after the pandemic hit, I went back to brush up on Android because I registered for HNG. Now at this point, I was just applying for any learning opportunity that I came across. I didn’t last in HNG, the fast-paced learning wasn’t for me because after 2 weeks of copying and pasting just to keep up I discovered I haven’t learned anything. The hunger of the pandemic pushed me to start applying for jobs, very laughable when I think about it now because my skills back then can ruin any company.

My first rejection mail was like heartbreak. “Ahhhhh, it’s a job I applied for ooo I didn’t beat anybody”. I didn’t stop applying though, and the rejection emails just kept rolling in, some don’t even send, and some send rejection immediately after I apply, on 11th April 2022 I got a rejection mail from a job I applied for in June 2021

Since HNG did not work a couple of us “failures” were pushed to Wejapa, an internship sponsored by a job placement website, and we were promised jobs at the end of it for outstanding students. I choose data science and that was where I met python, the only language that gave me and I collected happily, I was flowing so well. Halfway through the internship, there was a scandal about the CEO of Wejapa on his lack of transparency and integrity. It was all over Twitter and trending, apparently, when he hires developers, he doesn’t pay the agreed amount. This news made close to 60% of interns drop out willingly, I didn’t leave though, I wasn’t losing anything and I was learning from a mentor who is a data scientist. Having a mentor changed everything for me. I was focused and knew how to handle bugs. 

At the end of the internship, we didn’t get jobs but I mastered my first programming language, PYTHON. I enrolled for IBM data analyst, finished it, enrolled for IBM Data science, finished it, went to freecodecamp, and finished the data analyst projects. I WAS ON FIRE but then the lockdown was called off and I had to focus on my final year.

After my project defense, I went back into the job market but met a lot of rejection emails even if my skills aligned with the requirements. Then I finally hit one interview, BOOM, you only need one yes. I was so psyched, and joyful. 

I arranged myself, barb hair, removed beard I’ve been saving just to look 5 years younger. During the interview, I was getting everything right and was convinced that I had landed the job, finally, my big break. The interviewer seemed pleased then he said. ” You have very good skills but unfortunately we are looking for someone with a master’s degree”, it was devastating and demoralizing to the point I didn’t open my laptop for 2 weeks. That was when I jumped into Blockchain for a few months of learning it, I didn’t feel like it wasn’t what I was meant to be doing. 

In Mid 2021 I saw Ingressive4Good partner with DataCamp and of course, I applied. I reflexively apply for free things in my sleep. I got the scholarship and saw data Engineering, the complete course. Needless to say, I began my data Engineering journey, I then got my first job, it was freelance for a data analyst job, did it for 2,000 naira and I’ve had a couple of them ranging from Excel to writing SQL queries to writing python scripts for cleaning data and exploration.

(To be continued)

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97 Responses
  1. Julia

    Wow, your story/experience is what I’ve been looking for. I feel like I need to know a lot of things as fast as possible and I know that’s not right but I can’t help it. Your attitude towards those rejections is commendable too, keep it up.

  2. Susan

    Interesting read!
    I have a statistics major class of 2021,have never done relevant attachment or internship.
    I’m a sales associate for 1 year 7 months now,and I hate it.It sustains me though.
    Been procrastinating data analyst certifications for the longest,
    I recently started and so far so good,I’m praying and hoping an year from now I will be a data analyst.
    I also reflexively apply for free things in my sleep lol.

  3. T. Joy

    This is really so funny, but relatable especially sampling different free courses. Thank you for sharing your experience, it’s something to prepare our minds for and also help channel our energies

  4. Eyimoga Ene

    Thank you for sharing your experience, I learnt that’s having a mentor is very important. Your story was really inspiring.

  5. Kabiru Adinoyi Yahaya

    This is amazingly great.
    Thanks for sharing your hurdles with us.
    You’ve further reinforced in me doggedness.

  6. Tega

    This is really lovely as it’s so comfortingamd encouraging to know someone has gone through the phase of not exactly knowing what tech to specialise in but still went on to achieve the best. Thanks for sharing

  7. Martha

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one going through situations similar to yours.
    I hope to share my own success story soon!

  8. David C.

    That’s how many of us started out in tech . Jumping from one program to another but at one point, after all the excitement, our brain will calm down, then we’ll comfortably select one.

  9. Ruth Anele

    This is very encouraging, because sometimes i feel overwhelmed with the languages i see. but thanks for sharing your story here

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