Since young Amaka has always had a passion for computers. Unable to convince her dad to study computer science, she studied Medical Lab Science instead.
While preparing for her Master degree in Public Health, this time she finally convinced her dad to shift to a career in tech. Here is how her coding journey began.
Please introduce yourself
Hello, My name is Chiamaka. I currently work as a frontend developer in a SAAS company.
What was your background before learning to code?
I studied Medical Laboratory Science in Uni and was practicing before making the transition to tech.
What got you interested in coding and how did you learn to code?
I loved playing with computers a lot. While growing up we had a desktop computer at home. I would do my chores very fast to come and colonize the desktop before my siblings. Encarta kids, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing and playing with other cool softwares on the desktop.
I also colonised computers a lot in computer labs in school. Back then, I always got excited whenever I saw a computer with an internet connection anywhere at all!. But I didn’t even know about software development as a career path. When it was time to go to Uni I told my dad I wanted to study Computer Science purely because I loved pressing computers, doing anything at all lol, he refused.
He asked where I would work after graduation. He also said I should mention one successful person around us that studied Computer Science, I couldn’t answer any of those. So he put me to study Medical Lab Science.
I really loved studying Medical Lab Science and I was already preparing to do my masters degree in Public Health when I discovered software development through a friend that was training to become one.
I asked a lot of questions and immediately went on google to research. When I discovered I could make a living by pressing computers, there was no going back from there. I started learning on my own, a friend introduced me to a 6 months fully sponsored software development bootcamp but one would have to pass some tests to get accepted. Because I was already learning on my own, I had a little tech knowledge to answer beginner level technical questions, I got accepted and that was where the real learning happened. In no time I was able to build web apps all by myself and also in teams.
How did you get your first job in tech?
I started applying for jobs towards the end of my bootcamp. LinkedIn was my primary platform for sourcing jobs to apply to, but once in a while I applied to jobs on other platforms I come across as well. I felt ready since I built stuff on my own without depending on tutorials. When I started getting take home tasks and preparing for tech interviews, I quit medical practice.
My dad made me promise that I wasn’t going to quit my job until I got my first tech job lol. But I couldn’t keep up with everything. So I quit(after convincing him). I spent the next 2-3 months job hunting, doing interviews and take home tasks. And the rejections too lol.
There were interviews I aced but because I hadn’t done any real life apps that people were using aside side projects, employers didn’t trust me enough to give me the job. I continued going until my present employer decided to give me a chance.
How did you prepare for an interview?
I read React docs alot, to understand the React concepts better. And it helped me alot as so many employers wanted to know how well I knew React before even giving me a take home task. My friends and I practiced communication and behavioral interviews among ourselves too, and made corrections.
How does coding change your life?
Yea well, I am still 1year+ into my tech career but being here right now, in the tech industry, with all the amazing innovations going on, meeting smart people, building tech solutions that are changing the world, being a part of it, that’s everything to me. I am definitely living the dream.
Any obstacles that you have to overcome in learning coding?
Initially it was my former laptop, I have had it since Uni days and it was really old and not fast enough. When I got a new one, learning was easier and I didnt really encounter any challenges except the one of trying to understand new concepts haha.
Tips for newbies?
For me, I would say be passionate enough to pursue this. That is really what will keep you going when you encounter hurdles, your passion. Also, focus on one thing. When I was self learning I belonged to this tech organization, everyday they are announcing opportunities or talking about new stuff, mobile development, cloud computing, open source etc. All those stuff overwhelmed me as a beginner. I muted the org for sometime because I didn’t want to lose focus.
Choose what path you want to follow and block out all else, until you are done learning your chosen path. Because at that stage it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed. Also, once you are comfortable with your skills, start applying for jobs. You might get several rejections but it takes only one yes.
What are your plans for the future?
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