My Andela ALC2017 Android Developer journey

My life before Andela ALC

The #AndelaALC2017 for me was life changing, because before the #AndroidDev program I was a regular student in the class of extraordinary students, students that were passionate about programming and any other computer related work.

I began to develop interest because I needed programming knowledge to pass some courses, little did I know that the interest I developed was genuine and not just for getting good grades. I began to code using C# and later went into hardware development using Arduino and C++ on Atmel Studio, then I began to have cases where I want to connect the hardware I design to Android devices and then the interfaces available to me to make that happen were to either use Bluetooth, WiFi or GSM messaging, for the most part I wanted my device to be able to do more than just send text messages to the android device but I wanted to create apps on the Android device that can control the hardware I design, so I began to Google for resources on how to make basic Android apps. I found a lot of resources online but the notable ones I really enjoyed using were Tutorials Point, Android hive, and Udacity where Ienrolled for the Android Beginner course. Three weeks after enrolling I was almost done with the course and I felt like I could design any app I wanted. In a bid to put to practice all I had learnt on the course, I tried to building an Android app for my mum’s pure water business. I wanted the app to be the link between her and her clients but I encountered a lot of challenges that made me realize that the journey before me was a very long one, by then my interest in Android programming was on fire.

My Journey to the Andela ALC program

Then a friend sent me the Andela ALC Application link, there and then I felt like this is it, my one shot to try to become a better Android programmer. When I opened the link to apply I was faced with two options, to either apply as a beginner or to apply for the intermediate track, with four months experience up my sleeves I felt like I wasn’t a beginner, I was not gonna self myself short, so I applied for the Intermediate track. A week or two after I applied, I didn’t get any feedback, I took the application off my mind and moved on with trying to learn on my own,and on this very fateful day I decided to check my mail, I can’t really remember what I was expecting, maybe cos it didn’t matter anymore when I found the email from the Andela team, on opening the mail I found the challenge posted for the program I applied for a while back and the deadline for submission was the next day, I checked out the challenge and I almost beat myself up that night, the challenge was way above me. I felt I just can’t make this and I should have applied for the beginner track when I had the chance to but I told myself I wasn’t gonna give up without a fight, I must make sure I submit something no matter how poor my attempt will be, it will be better than not submitting at all. I Googled all through the night, looking for resources that could guide me as to how to use a List View or how to parse Json data to Java classes, it was a crazy night, halfway through the submission date, I was no where near completion then came the saving grace, I received another email from the Andela team about a 5 days extension to the deadline for submission, it was the best news I’ve heard all month. I continued battling with making the app work and finally came up with something that achieves what was stated in the challenge before I submitted. Two days after submitting I decided to check GitHub for other people’s submission to see whether I had any chance at all to make it cos I knew deep down that my app was too basic for what they might be looking for on the Intermediate track. I found a lot of designs that made mine look stupid, designs from people like Tosin Omotoyinbo, Michael Obi, Taiye Oloriade, Smart Agwu Elezuo Okebulu, just to mention a few but then I got selected for the intermediate track, I couldn’t believe it I was so excited, my dream to go places doing Android programming was gonna be a reality after all

The ALC story

After I joined the Intermediate track a lot of introduction and familiarization was done, we got to share our designs, I was able to improve on my actual submission and my app was able to compete with a lot of other guys designs. Then came the grouping where we were all grouped into teams of 6 individuals, tracking down my teammates was a bit of a challenge and we had to name our team, elect a leader and choose a slogan for our team before the end of the week. The team appointed me as the leader, and I felt like I had not the slightest idea how to lead people, not to talk of people I’ve never met, and till date the challenge is still there, trying reach out to them to submit their weekly tasks, calling for online meetups and almost all team activities. The first few weeks of the program was really fun I was able to finish the assigned weekly tasks in way less than the specified time. After the first project I got employed and keeping up became challenging and I had to struggle through most of the timelines and project completion. All round the program experience has not only helped me improve my Android knowledge but it has taken me from being a beginner to a developer that can stand tall on Android programming. In the course of the program I doubled as a facilitator for the state I am serving in (Gombe) and the experience has been amazing. I got the chance to guide people who were at the point where I was at start, some were not even up to that point and it has exposed me to a lot. The Associate Android Developer Certification exams was another wonderful experience right at the very end of the ALC schedule, my experience can be found here.

Above all I have to say a big thank you to Andela for the opportunity they gave me and I want to thank Almighty Allah for the guidance through it all, cos without Him all these will not have being.