My Developer Journey: Starting out and Developer communities

My journey

When I firsts changed my path back in 2015 from being a biochemist to a developer I had no idea what I was really getting myself into; in a good way though.

Most of the ideas of development for me were based off some interactions with friends who were taking Computer Science. In my mind, I wanted to be those guys. I found what they did to be super awesome (coding on Eclipse 😅) more than my work in the lab which could potentially save lives (after decades of research).

I wanted to make an impact; to build an app, to improve designs, to engage with like minded people and help make a dent on this world with tech. And that’s what I set out to do in 2015 whilst joining a new campus and a new program altogether.

It’s crazy trying to learn programming with such eagerness. I’ve always wanted to get to the godlike status as a programmer and amassing as much knowledge and skill as fast as possible was my strategy. It worked for the most part. I interacted with multiple languages trying to find the right one for me. From backend scripting languages like PHP and Python to front end JavaScript frameworks, from C to C#, from Swift then to Java. What can I say, I’ve been around 🤷🏾‍♂️.

In all of it, there was a developer community around me. Meeting people with varying degrees of passion about various aspects of development. It opened my eyes to so many areas but I guess there’s always this thing that captures your attention and your imagination, for me that was JavaScript and the power and potential that it had.

I love designing user interfaces. UI/UX design is what I love. Making someone go, “Perfect” when they see my work is my goal. Interface ought to appeal to our natural need to see something that’s coherent and straightforward in terms of use.

So I invest my time and efforts into building meaningful interfaces, graphic design and some backend work with Ruby (awesome language btw 😏)

How I got here is nothing short of grace and loads of hard work and confusion too. And I relate with anyone starting out with development feeling lost and trying to figure out where they belong in this vast tech world.

Join a tech community

My advice. Join a tech community. Search on Facebook or on Meetups (meetup.com) and meet others like you. Make a few friends and build from there. You’ll have some direction and you’ll have community. These are the biggest factors in deciding how well your life as a developer will turn out.

There are several developer groups around. GDGs (Google Developer Groups) are the largest and are found in most campuses or a campus near you. If not, you can start your own developer group on campus or wherever you’re at.

Intel has also had a large presence in the developer community especially in Kenya with a major in IoT (Internet of Things) technologies. They also push for the Intel XDK which is a way of building cross platform apps. It’s pretty easy. Uses Cordova. If you’re interested in hardware this is the community for you.

Facebook developer circles are also coming up with the social media juggernaut deciding to embrace developers from all over the world. Nairobi’s Facebook developer circle is the only active one if I’m right. You’ll learn Facebook built languages and tech like the ReactJS library for building UIs. Also Elm is a great language to learn. Also built and supported by Facebook.

Andela has been instrumental in terms of driving the growth of developer communities in Kenya over the past couple of years. With the start of the Andela Student Ambassadors program, campuses will be able to build communities, not around specific tech like Google tech or Facebook tech but general development. It embraces guys who love C++, Java, Python, Lisp, PHP and all other languages you could think of and help them achieve their dreams which is alongside Andela’s goal of training 100,000 developers in the next 10 years. Through these Andela communities, one will be able to be facilitated to join the Andela Fellowship and grow into a world class developer.

So that’s about it. There probably are more communities and sub communities of the general ones I mentioned above but the whole concept is taking a step to join up with similar minded people and help each other grow.

I hope you find this helpful and keeps you on your path to be a developer. Follow me here and on social media @i_am_anthony_limo on Instagram and Anthony Kiplimo on Facebook for more tech based content! ☺️☺️☺️