November 2017: Dealing with Rejection, Winning a Hackathon and Learning to Network
November was full of ups, and downs.
Rejection. Validation. Happiness.
I got rejections from 5 job applications. It was highly disappointing. I truly thought I’d make it through. I spent a ton of time prepping for the applications, reading and learning about the companies. The more I learned, the more excited I got. I felt these companies would be the perfect fit for me. Getting rejected was depressing.
It’s okay. I have had to remind myself:
The most important thing is to keep growing as a programmer, to keep building stuff, getting better and improving.
I am still dealing with the rejections, time heals all wounds.
In November, I built Stock Master a web app that helps you stay updated with stock trends of companies you and friends care about.
It was a fun experience. I learned about Web Sockets, built a chat application and integrated realtime functionality into the application. To learn more:
Stock Master is a web app that helps you stay updated with stock trends of the companies; you and friends care about.medium.com
Winning a Hackathon
Hackathons are strangely beautiful experiences. You get to hack together a new idea with a bunch of people you have never met in your life. All this happens in less than 48 hours.
I participated in the Booking.com + iamtheCode Hackathon which was centered around solving UN goals on tourism and empowering women.
My team came up with an idea to help tourists enjoy local experiences. We developed an app that helps locals create tour experiences and allows tourists reserve tours. We intend to donate a percentage of revenue on the app to organizations like iamtheCODE which empower women. It was brilliant. The team came together and pulled it off! We hacked the web application in about 12 hours (Woo hoo!).
You can view the demo app here.
Meeting great people and working with them feels really really good. Learning from them feels awesome.
Some general hackathon advice:
Work hard, collaborate, express yourself, be a teammate, follow your gut.
Do the things that are necessary for your team, be nice to people. Learn from people, there’s something to learn from everyone: what to do, and anti examples.
The hackathon reminded me that:
It’s not just the what, the how matters a lot too.
I don’t only want to do great work, I want to do great work with great people. The people I work with shape my experiences, shape my memories, makes me happier, more fulfilled. Relationships are super important.
People are everything, they encourage you and give you critical feedback. They let you help them and feel good about it.
Working hard and getting results feels phenomenal. Make sure you participate in the the next hackathon available to you. It provides a great learning experience.
Learning to Network
I was opportuned to attend High Growth Africa Summit (HGAS) 2017. It was a conference aimed at teaching entrepreneurs how to build, scale and fund high growth businesses in Africa.
I met a lot of great people there. People doing amazing things. I made new friends.
I wonder how I met all this great people
Networking is all about getting to know people: who they are, what they do, appreciate them if you are a fan, say what you like about them. Be yourself, YOU can be awesome.
Looking back at what helped me meet all this people; I realized being honest was critical. These were people I followed online, I genuinely respected them and appreciated their stories. I asked them questions, and optimized for quality conversations with a few people over meeting a lot of people.
Before attending HGAS, I was quite skeptical about going for the conference. Nowadays, all I care about is code. I wondered how entrepreneurs and investors would help me grow. I eventually went because of the notion of meeting great people. The top tech people in Nigeria. I wasn’t disappointed.
It taught me that: whenever I get the chance to meet great people, always take it. Great people inspire me, teach me, make me better, make me happy.
Chat with Ire Aderinokun
During HGAS, I chatted with Ire Aderinokun; she is a top software developer and she gave me some great advice.
Ire encouraged me to keep writing, keep working hard, learning new stuff and solving difficult problems.
She reassured me that it’s okay not knowing what comes next, or having a fixed plan for my life. Ire even found time to review my work and give me critical feedback. She’s simply amazing.
I asked Ire: “As a junior developer, should I go work at a startup or a big company?”
I will only learn by building stuff.
I should optimize for opportunities where I’ll get to build stuff and solve challenging problems, this will help me grow.
It will be great to have senior engineers guide me, mentor me and help me grow. But the most important thing is getting the opportunity to build stuff. It’s all about building great stuff, with great people.
If I get the chance to build challenging stuff at a startup; then go for it. If I get it at a big company with solid engineering teams which also provide mentorship; then even better.
All that matters is:
Building stuff, learning and growing as a programmer and human being.
All other factors being equal, here is the formula for growth as a developer:
Challenging Work + Great People + Time = Growth
Free Gift for Developers
GitHub is an awesome company. They were at HGAS and gave out a short code to gain access to personal private repositories. We were told to share with friends, well you guys are friends. Visit this url.
Recurse Center (RC): RC is a community of programmers who get together in New York to hack on personal learning projects for 6–12 weeks. They are an amazing community that focus on improving your programming skills in a positive environment. RC also helps you get a job at the end of your batch if you are interested. Learn more about RC.
Booking.com: Booking.com is actively recruiting talent. As a software developer, if you don’t mind relocating to Amsterdam then this might be a good opportunity for you. I met some of the Booking.com employees, and they are great guys. You can search for roles here. If interested in back-end roles, I’ll suggest you sharpen your data structures and algorithms skills before applying.
How to Become a Hacker: Eric Raymond writes an essay detailing enlightening instructions on the values of a hacker and what makes you a hacker. If you are interested in becoming a great programmer, you should read Raymond’s article. Peter Norvig’s teach yourself programming in 10 years is also a good read.
That’s it for November, 2017. Make the best use of the rest of 2017!
See you in 2018 ☺