Change Your Thinking/Approach

I applied for a Junior Software developer position with a Non Governmental Organization (NGO), fortunately, I was called for an interview. On the interview day, as I get to the venue, on entering the office, the first question I was asked is: Where is my laptop? From the shock on my face, I was asked: How do I intend to display my portfolio? I was like ‘Wetin be portfolio again?’

Well! The real interview began, after the usual ‘can we meet you question?’ The following conversation happened between the Interviewer and me:

Interviewer: Which Programming language are you comfortable with?

Me: Actually, I started learning Java but have dumped it for Python. So, I am learning Python now.

Interviewer: Can we just say, you have chosen Python as your preferred language?

Me: For now YES! Because you never can tell if I might change again?

Interviewer: OK. Can we asked you question on Python?

Me: OK. No problem.

Interviewer: Which type of language is Python? Compiled or Interpreted language?

Me: Interpreted language.

Interviewer: Is Python dynamically typed or strong typed?

Me: *smiles* Dynamically typed.

‘In my mind, I was like: I have ace this interview today. God, Thank you.’

Interviewer: How many version of Python do we have?

Me: Two. Python 3 is the latest and the other one is Python 2.

Interviewer: Mention two Python framework.

Me: Django and Tkinter.

Interviewer: Are you sure?

Me: ‘after a pause’ Yes.

Interviewer: I will agree with Django but not Tkinter.

Me: No problem.

Interviewer: How many project have you participated in?

Me: None.

Interviewer: How many project have you build? Or how many portfolio do you have?

Me: None.

Interviewer: How comes?

Me: *silence*

Interviewer: How come you know the basic of the language but have not really designed/build any tangible stuff?

Me: *clear throat* Well! You know I am a self-taught programmer, so I am still learning. I have not yet finished learning, to do something on my own or join a project. But, hopefully that will be soon. Moreover, I applied for this position because I felt it is more like an entry level position that I will be given hands-on training by the expert within the organization.

Interviewer: Thank you! Mr Ahmed, we will get in touch with you. We appreciate your coming, at least you will take it as an experience in the sojourn of a job seeker.

The main essence of writing this article is to emphasize on the facts that we graduate who are going down the lane of self-learning might be doing it wrong unless we change our mindset/approach.

Code the talk

Off course, as graduate we have been conditioned to read and pass: ‘la cram la pour’. Unfortunately, the outside world is not like that, it is: ‘la know, la build something’.

As a graduate of CS, I never wrote/build any real stuff even after school except the few lines of code I wrote while in school. The most funniest one was when we were asked to write a code that output the multiplication table from 1 to 10 (Intro to OOP: C++); you will not believe I wrote it without using any loop and code span more than 50 lines.

Now, I am really trying to wet my feet and get my hand dirty with code. There are lots of talk that Nigerian programmers are just talkative without any real stuff (though it may be true because of our mindset of just reading to pass): am out to be an exception to that claim. It is also said that Nigerian programmer will tell you everything about a project but when the time comes to build; he/she just disappear or start giving flimsy excuse of ‘No time’.

Let’s change our learning programming and for sure there will be changes.

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn — Alvin Toffler.

Shehu Lawal Abdulrahman Sulaiman Chimdindu Aneke