Tough journey of a student developer

“My advice for anyone who wants to go do I.T or Computer Science is Campus :
1. Go to campus
2. Spend 30% of your time on campus and 70% out of campus
Spend majority of your time out of the classroom. Visit the tech hubs around..i Hub..Nailab… Garage… Attend tech forums and meetups. Take an online course for Free on platforms such as the Microsoft Virtual Academy… Cybrary…… Start working on individual projects and post this on your Github Repo. (Oh first learn and find out what Github is)….Look for a mentor in the field… Learn from them… Find some friends and collaborate on small projects and finally don’t forget to go to class once in a while.(Just to find out how things are going and if they’re done teaching your fellow classmates about the WaterFall Model of 1960s)
When all this is done graduate with a Second Upper or First Class… Never even have to think twice about your degree because if you do the above there will be no need to look for a job. Your skills will make jobs look for you earnestly.
#Reed” Wise words shared in Nairobi js WhatsApp group two months ago.Well if it was shared 4 years ago I believe I would have achieved much by now but I can testify those words are super true unlike spending your whole college life on movies, parties, fun with friends or even studying in a library.

Here is the thing, most of us get to our first year in an IT related course not even aware what programming and in no time you will be introduced to C++ will seem so hard to understand and make you feel it’s not your thing, get to the second year get to something more interesting Visual Basic.Funny thing this won’t be much practical and you have to write this codes in our end semester exams.Do more than writing code on paper!

Some people get lucky and meet Html and CSS but it will suck if you get to learn them using Dreamweaver because that’s really outdated stuff.My point is if you don’t go that extra mile you will never get it right.Look around you, find a community of techies, attend those meetups, check out stories from people who have made it. You will never realize there is much you can do if you don’t go that extra mile.

Be part of a that Community

Now you are in your 3rd year, realized there is a community out there or a learning group.There is a number of programming languages that you can kick off with be it Ruby, Python, Javascript, PHP or java for android.First, you will grab one of the languages and learn much within the first few months.Someone will introduce you to GitHub and collaboration, this will bring a feeling that you now got it.After the first one or two projects and a couple of meetups, you will have this feeling that you are now a software developer.Depending on your skills it might land you some geek but high chances it won’t.You will realize every day is a chance to learn something new.

Bugs bring sleepless nights

Metamorphosis Phase
Here are a number of things that will change within and around you and are absolutely normal -:
1. You will turn out busy ,less sleeping and more writing code
2. Less concentration in class 
3. Friends will complain that you don’t spend time with them anymore, they will hardly understand you
4. The broke Dev of course no one will pay you to learn unless you join Andela
5. Parents will not understand what you do and why especially if it’s not bringing in money
6. You will have to give up a lot in order to succeed 
7. It will cost you friendships and relationships and it’s completely normal

Little Skills Phase
This is the point when you have your eyes opened to the world of opportunities in software development especially for women.You will come across a couple of opportunity links and won’t hesitate to make your application.You might opt to apply to Andela and boom!you might not make it to week 2 of boot camp or even to boot camp itself.The thing is you might have the skills but haven’t contributed to real projects so look out.Find some opensource projects, some idea to work on, this will help you build your portfolio.

After College
Four years will fly so fast and this is the time that will be most challenging.Besides your own expectations, your parents will also expect you to start making job applications start earning and support or rather give back to the family.

Mistakes you might make during this period
Applying for an IT support job(It’s not worth it)
Leaving town to the village(Here you will have no internet, other priorities and be expected to look for a job hence settle for less)
This is the period that everyone will probably expect you to have plans for you, you have to prove that the years spent writing code were worth it and are paying back.

This is the period that you should figure out what you want and give your best in it
 Apply for Software Developer Jobs i.e Andela
 Community Building
 As you level up as a software developer don’t forget to grow your network
 Attend Meetups
 Attend Conferences
 Give back to the community(Start user groups and share your knowledge)
 Check out the awesome stuff other Techies are working on
Software development is like a journey that just gets more awesome with time.Some peoples journey takes less time to get awesome and some take more.Unlike other job opportunities, it takes patience and hard work to make it.