by Vivian Egwu
How I became a programmer with the #100DaysofCode challenge
As a child that grew up in the village, with no access to a regular power supply or the internet and, losing her Dad at a very young age, the idea of a modern world never left me.
As a widow, my Mum understands the only chance I had as a girl child in the village is education. And education, she’d given me. While growing up in the village in the Eastern part of Nigeria, I had the opportunity of going to school.
Even when I juggle between grandma’s and mother’s house, I could see the determination in their eyes to give me the best. While I farm in the village to help grandma, I sold recharge cards on the streets of Lagos during the holidays so that Mum will know and understand that she isn’t alone.
The journey is the survival of a girl child and her widow mother. I graduated, but to find a job became another journey on its own. I’d eventually find one as a Customer Service Representative.
The sudden shakeup in the company, leading to disengagement of my colleagues, was the moment for me. It was my eye opener for many reasons, but only one stood out. I needed to create jobs and not be sacked from one.
This started my journey into software development. I vowed to teach myself when I found out I couldn’t afford the professional training at different training centers in Lagos. It didn’t matter because I was passionate about creating wealth and job opportunities through simple tech solutions.
I went online to search for learning materials. On 3rd of January 2018, I stumbled on freeCodeCamp and decided to give it a try.
I started with HTML and after some coding challenges, I was directed to join one of their Facebook groups. I joined the freeCodeCamp Lagos group.
While scrolling on the page, I notice a post by Hector Okolo (the admin) asking those who haven’t been paired for the #100DaysCodeChallenge to indicate for pairing.
I inquired what the #100DaysCodeChallenge meant, and the whole idea looked great. I indicated interest and was paired. I was still working as a Customer Representative at that time. It was a 7-hour job which could either be morning shift or afternoon shift. I decided to allocate 2 hours of my time every day to the code challenge.
I wrote code at home if I was on the afternoon shift, or stayed 2 hours back after work to do my 2 hours code challenge if I was on the morning shift. I posted what I learned every day on the freeCodeCamp Lagos Facebook page and on my twitter page hoping to get corrections from people who knew better than I did.
I did this for one month and was able to design a one-page non-responsive website I called Naijapedia.
The idea was to tell the Nigeria story ourselves. I wanted other continents to know that Africa isn’t a dark continent as most refer to it, but made up of all shades of “Grey” (the bad, the good, and the best) including intelligent and innovative youths.
By now, I have joined Facebook Developers Lagos on their Facebook page. I took a screenshot of this one page and posted on Facebook Developers group and explained the idea behind it.
The words of encouragement I got from that one single page were amazing. Some persons asked if the project is open source so they can contribute. At the time, I didn’t know what open source and Github were, so I added them my to my To-Learn List.
One of the amazing people I meet that day — that I can’t tell this story without mentioning his name — is Joseph Jones Agunbiade. After seeing my post on Facebook Developers Circle Lagos, he started chatting with me.
We talked about a lot of things centered on my work and passion for programming. Learning that I was teaching myself and can’t afford to pay and learn from programming schools, he offered me a Scholarship to come to join his Frontend Development class at his programming school Univelcity at Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.
I made the biggest decision of my life that day. I decided to take up the scholarship and quit my job. It was a hard decision but I made it anyways and I am not regretting it today.
After three months of hands-on practice, I was offered a paid internship by three different companies (Civic Media Lab, Tech Advance, and Robotics System). I interned with Robotics System, also known as School of Computational Intelligence Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.
It was the lowest paying of the internship opportunities, but knowing that 18 young developers on different stacks were working on two great applications made me choose it.
At Robotics, I worked with the team that developed Secapay (a Fintech solution) and Evy (an Event management system). After the internship, I joined CodeLagos, an initiative by the Lagos State Governor Ambode to train youths in programming as a Facilitator.
The rest, as they say, is history. Today, I am developing an application for one of the leading Banks in Nigeria and currently training youths in the same field for free using GreyAfricaHub.
I am not yet there yet, I am still learning and evolving each day.
My goal in 2019 is to become a Senior Developer. My passion and inspirations come from within. The ambition to create jobs for fellow youths and help curb unemployment in Nigeria keeps me going.
I am currently a contributor at freeCodeCamp Lagos, a moderator at Facebook Developers Circle Lagos and Founder of GreyAfricaHub. My goal is to mentor, train and help to raise youths who will be self-sufficient, self-dependent and self-employed.
I have organized Meet-ups, Seminars, Workshops and have equally spoken at some of the events with these groups.
I look forward to having one of the best software solutions with the sole aim of curbing youth unemployment in Africa someday. I have also committed to mentoring 7 aspiring female developers in 2019.
I am not sure I will the best mentor but I promise we will learn together till we all reach our goal as Software Developers.
I may not have created 10 million jobs yet but hey, I’m on that path and I’m happy.