Developing Software — The Developer in Me

I had always known I would end up working with computers one way or the other. Human beings always seemed so complicated… to an extent, they still seem so. I couldn’t really tell what they wanted or needed, sometimes, they couldn’t tell either. Computers, on the other hand, lets just say they don’t want much and the little they do need, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out.

Armed with the knowledge that computers are seemingly less complicated, I asked myself:

Q: What must I do to achieve this?

And I heard an answer, a tiny voice in my head speaking…

A: Go thou into the world to study computer science, and achieve this, ye shall.

Well, at that time, that seemed not only straightforward but logical as well. Picture this…

Mr A: I enjoy eating fish

Me: Go study Fishery

Miss B: These flowers are so pretty!!!

Me: Go study Floriculture

Mrs C: I just want to sleep

Me: Go study Polysomnography 😝

And so I applied to study computer science and mathematics.

Funny thing is, I never consciously answered the question of what I must do to work with computers. Events helped answer it, the most notable being the advent of Facebook.

And so it happened on one particular evening...

Mom: Hey son, there’s this link I came across about this young guy who built a social network

Me: Yeah, I stumbled upon an article about him… His name is Mark Z

Mom: These are young people who are doing great things…

Or so the conversation went. As a result of that conversation, I decided to build my own social network, just like millions of people before me. This led to me learning a third language (if you would count English and my native language, Igbo).

Trying to build my social network exposed me to a lot of things. I decided to go with the PHP language because… well, you see, Facebook was created using PHP and if a small boy can do it, so can I, right? I remember the first time I was able to query my database, and use the result to make another query. I had been working on that for almost two weeks (add seedy or no internet access and unstable power supply into the mix of factors hindering my progress and you would go easy on me), and finally I got it to work.

I can vividly recall shouting `EUREKA!`, and thinking to myself “so this is how Archimedes must have felt…”.

After a while however, my social network journey would be placed on hold. What happened? School happened. It was easier for me to achieve more during the holidays than when school was in session, and the situation at school wasn’t giving me much breathing space so I did less of building and more of planning. I spoke with a friend of mine about my ideas and together we built on these ideas… in a book.

I left school, went for my Youth Service (I served in a remote village where electricity was almost non-existent and good cellular network was a serious challenge) and afterwards, got a job with Signal Alliance as a Microsoft Applications Developer (majoring in SharePoint Development). At this point, I had to reprioritise and learning Microsoft SharePoint development was at the top of my priorities. Everything else was put in a mental shelf and after a while, they began to gather dust.

Then I joined Andela.

I thought I knew JavaScript well enough but while I was in Andela’s bootcamp, I realised I hadn’t started yet. I joined Andela as a Fellow, and so far, I have been exposed to a lot, and when I say a lot, I mean a WHOLE LOT! I’ve played with JavaScript and some of it’s frameworks, Ruby on Rails, and I am currently working with Python, aiming to be fully deserving of the title “Pythonista”.

I am still a work in progress, so hey, no pieces of advice from me just yet. My dreams have changed, mostly due to my heightened awareness of the possibilities that exist. I am no longer where I used to be, but there are still lots of barren land ahead of me. I shall overcome someday.

And that, ladies, gentlemen and other forms of life in the Universe reading this (yes, we are not alone), is the genesis of the Developer in me.

P.S — My mom was in shock when I told her I was learning Python. After explaining how Python refers to a programming language and not a snake, she still insisted she preferred Ruby to Python 😄.