My Android Learning Story
About 4 months ago I began my journey into the world of Android development. Andela had partnered with Udacity and Google to give newbies like myself a chance at Android development. I was excited though unsure of what I was getting into; I signed up, did the assessment, joined the ALC Beginner program and gained access to Open Andela Community, one of the largest tech community I’ve ever been part of on Slack.
Everyone I’ve met just assumes that I was taught programming in school, well I wasn’t. I am just a farmer; I farm fish and vegetables, I also have worked as a facilitator and test center administrator for a tech company and I’m currently a volunteer for the African Network Against Human Trafficking.
Over the years I taught myself web design, built and managed websites but it was just not enough. In my search for a programming community I stumbled upon Andela; a global engineering organization that extends engineering teams with world-class software developers. I struggled to survive at Andela’s 2 weeks Boot Camp where I wrote code for about 8 hours a day. When I didn’t make it into Andela, I was sad but I had learned a hard truth; what I knew wasn’t enough. I also realized during that boot camp that “peer learning” was the key to being the best of myself.
With rekindled spirits, I started working twice as hard and collaborating with little groups and clusters of programmers, everywhere I went, I sought them out. I became an active member of 6 programming social media groups, an admin of two even got the twitter handle @js_debugger and followed tech related twitter handles which brought me tailored information.
It was in one of these groups; a Whatsapp group, someone mentioned that Andela was offering interested individuals a chance to learn Android development as a group; I had never really learnt programming in a group, to my surprise, Andela’s Android Learning Community #AndelaALC17 was the best community learning experience I’ve ever had; I attended meetups at 3 different locations across the country which was fun for me considering that I love travelling and I was in transit during these few months.
Before now I hadn’t written a single line of Java: here’s a free course, I still don’t understand how it all works but I’ve familiarized myself with the language. My advice for anyone out there who wants to learn a programming language is; learn the syntax, experiment with the language and slowly you will be writing code in that language like a pro…No! it not that easy, you will immerse yourself in the language, ask questions, use google search and Stack-Over Flow like every day and every time you get stuck, read online tutorials, materials and participate in MOOCs.
I think the title for this story should be “Android development the hard way” ; because it was never easy at night when I had to stay up because the electricity only came in the night nor was it easier in the day when I go to a cyber cafe where I had to sit on a bench and my back ached just to use their electricity six days in a week.
Beside having to build and complete three projects: A local business card app, a court counter app and my favourite the quiz app in the Andela ALC Beginner program I also experimented on my own…As expected, my apps crashed more when I started. Now, I try to write code using the Android Code Guidelines.
The experience was worth it and I’ve been taking other available android development courses on Udacity and working towards getting into the ALC intermediate program, I believe we can make the world a better place one App at a time. Thanks to Andela, Google and Udacity for making #AndelaALC17 possible.