Straight into it. I was that kid, always fixed things for people, always changing wallpapers and setting up internet config options. I was tech savvy from a young age and it stuck. I got out of high school and all I wanted to do was make money ( don’t we all?). A quick Google search and a 16 year old me found out engineers were some of the highest paid people on Earth ( gosh the misinformation ). My mind was set, I was going to become an engineer and earn a LOT of money. I got into Computer Science and Engineering and on my first day, it hit me.. Engineering sucks (for me at least).
Me : 2 weeks into Computer Science
Might to hard to believe but like most of the ya’ll, I got into Computer Science by chance and eventually started to enjoy it. When I got to India, the only coding experience I had was basic HTML code to display text and make it move across the screen, which honestly, I didn’t understand at all. In high school, I would describe myself as a “high achiever” and this is in quotes because my idea of achievement has changed drastically since then. Coming to India and being clueless about programming was something I hadn’t experienced before, I was just so used to knowing things. Every one my classmates would tell me about the amazing experience they had with C++ in high school and I just sat they’re wide eyed gasping at what then seemed so magical. I took C and C++ in my second and third semesters but I didn’t really learn how to code, I’d describe the experience as learning to pass the subject rather than learning the basics of coding. The concept of coding became less foreign to me and I started to try my hand at Android programming because it was 2015 and who wasn’t doing Android programming. My first hackathon project was an Android app to protect women and I have a tonne of other cool useful projects, funny thing is that to this day, I’m still not confident about my ability to code in Java. Every app I made was basically code I copied from Stack overflow . I used to make my little sister cute apps and she loved them there’s no saying I had no motivation to learn.
After my fourth semester I went back home to Zambia and got the chance to interact with a thriving community of people working hard to change the start up scene in Africa, it was there we’re I got my first experience of how being part of a community can positively affect your life. I was more outgoing again, I was learning faster because I had an amazing support system and people to keep me accountable, I had access to people who have been through it all and were willing to share so you didn’t have to go suffer the same way. I had people I synced with in terms of vision and goals and this is the core of community as a concept. The subsequent months following my trip back home can be described as my golden days, I started to learn Python and later that year I attended what at that time was my biggest tech conference — GDG Baroda DevFest who have a CFP open right now, please apply.
Some friends and I with the Google India Community Manager
The GDG Baroda crew slowly became like family and that DevFest probably changed my life. If you check out their meetup page you’ll probably find a picture of a wide eyed dude taking in the conference excited to just be present. I felt welcome, I felt part of something bigger and this is something I never felt in college and this is part of the reason why we came up with Uniphyd. I can honestly talk about my story all day but I’ll cut it off here.
If you’re keen on details you probably already came up with a few pointers that fit the title of this post. If not, worry not! That’s what I’m here to do:
Get out of your impostor syndrome — you’re good enough. This makes me think about how long I spent crying about things I don’t know instead of actually going ahead and learning them. You might not have had the best marks in the past but there’s a time to leave everything behind and play the cards you’re dealt. You should know that you’re amazing in your own way and capable of so much regardless of how people might make you feel.
Explore and Enjoy. There’s a lot of things you can do with your Computer Science expertise. You could work in front-end, back-end, technical writing, networking, machine learning, project management and the list is endless. Find out what you want to do and go for it. This is easier with companies giving students so many resources like GitHub does with its Student Developer pack.
Learn and Reach out, get some motivation and don’t be afraid to fail. I started off with Android and didn’t like it much, went to Python, loved it. Fun fact, I tried game design in Unity too but yeah I dont do that anymore. Point is don’t be defined by a single technology. Do what you can and don’t be afraid to learn something new. Your biggest asset today is your ability to learn new things.
Join a community, participate in it and contribute to it. Communities are all about members and achieving their common goals. With Uniphyd. we all want to make our selves better people and take ourselves to another level. I’ve been part of the Developers India Community, Google Developer Groups and now with the help of a few friends we’ve gone and created Uniphyd. I cannot count the opportunities that availed themselves just because I was part of these communities.
4.5 Join Twitter. It’s like developer central and you can follow not only the work of your favorite devs but their daily lives (if they share that type of stuff) and see how human they actually are.