I’ve been trying really hard to navigate the Nigerian tech space for about a year now and it’s been hard, Lol. The current education system doesn’t teach anything about becoming a programmer. A couple of departments; computer science and computer engineering, teach one or two programming languages, and that’s it. So for the average Nigerian getting into tech, it’s all stabbing the air in the dark and praying you hit gold. Or at least it was for me. Till of course I turned on the light. Pretty basic yeah, that’s what I should have done in the beginning, but you’re probably like me and you don’t know yet. So here are six things you should not do when you’re starting out in tech.
Don’t Wait for passion.
Passion drives a lot of people and industries and while it’s a great thing to have in your corner, there’s really nothing passionate about writing tags or numbers on your editors or pulling images and containers from done, it’s not interesting or fun-filled. It’s boring and are guaranteed to fall asleep when watching you tube videos and taking courses especially if you’re self taught.
I’m not disputing the fact that some people might have passion for this, but a better drive would be passion for being rich, or being employed or let’s say a willing ness to get the job done. Even a sense of responsibility is a better drive than waiting for passion or inspiration. It might never come and what do you do then, give up?
Don’t underestimate having a plan
You need a plan, you need to know where you’re going, what you’re trying to become. As beautiful as it is to be a jack of all trade, you might waste valuable time acquiring skills you do not need without a plan. Not all programming languages are needed for a back end developer and same way not all are needed for front end development or UI/UX. While it’s great and beneficial to understand one or two in every field, you would save a lot of strength when you specialise.
Going without a mentor
One sure way to avoid missing your target or burning out quickly from exhaustion is to have a mentor. Once you narrow down the area you want to specialise, look out for a mentor. You can start by could emailing some popular ones you know or just plain shooting your shots in the DMs on Twitter.
Joining an Organisation like She Code Africa(SCA), Utiva, Stutern, Developer Student Club(DSC). Is an easy way to get a mentor and also a sense of belonging in the community, this is so helpful and would give you the push when you need one.
Don’t wait till you have money
A wise man once said, “check YouTube”. A lot of academies online now teach professional courses on that tech career you want to pursue on YouTube you could be saving your coins by looking for free stuff. Be strategic. Take that one month free Python class or beginner web dev webinar, get the outline or an idea on the next step them check for free courses online. There are tons and tons of them. Save your coins!!
Do: Check for other areas in tech.
Tech is wide, very wide. There’s so many avenues to build a career in tech,
Cloud engineering, Software testing, Dev ops, just so many, if you’re coding and it’s giving you a hard time check out other areas you need little coding knowledge. Product management and designs are areas you can specialize on with little coding skills. Check out Univelcity for these.
This is so important. Code every day. Practice every day. 1 hour daily is better than seven hours a day once a week. You would have forgotten everything you learnt the previous week. There’s a high risk of burning out. Set weekly goals, daily goals and meet up, you’ll love it.
Good luck on that amazing career you’re building. Go forth and make sweet dollars.