Saturday, 20 June 2015

It has been a Nigerian Week! And what it's like to be at Andela - My Version.

Before I even get into this, it is my birthday today! Yaay:) I would do a post like I did last year if only I were excited about turning 24. That number has juju (on that nigerian vibe). It has sort of sank it in that I am actually growing old. 30 just seems so near. I don't clearly know why I am scared. Maybe I just never took growing old seriously. You know, happens to other people, but I remain twenty until I die. But as Shiku says; Let's age! So age we shall. Thank you all for the wishes, and for my mother who actually baked a cake all the way in Eldoret and Whatsapped me the photo :D and my dad's M-Pesa. I feel the absolute love.

Two weeks ago, after my horrifying experience, I woke up early because I had an interview. The company? Andela. Who are Andela? A company that pays you as they train you in Software Development. (You can read about them here) Yes, I know, I also had that look that you have on your face now when I first read the description. Pays you? Really? How? Why? When I told my mother about it she kept on saying it was a scam.

             Hawa wa Nigeria hawa ni conmen sana, chunga. (These Nigerians are cons. Be careful)

But I applied anyway. It is something that I love to do and what they are offering is priceless to any developer or aspiring developer. There are three interview stages which I passed and I am currently in the fourth stage, which is a two-week process. Get this, I would not bother writing about my interviews and how they went, unless they had an impact on me. This one did/has. It has only been one week but I feel so good about my development skills. What actually happens during bootcamp is they give you a taste and feel of what programming is all about. Many times we say we love to code, until we actually have to code.

They put you in intense situations just to test your shell. Do you break easy? Basically they introduce you to the life of a developer. Development is not as easy as many people think it is. It requires you to think about the problem you are solving and how you are solving the problem. It requires a lot of your brain energy and it poses a challenge if you do not like to delve deeper into something. Next time you meet a developer, please give him/her a standing ovation, or honor him with a speech, or just take them out for coffee, they love that.

I have learned a lot and I will list them at the end of this article, right now let's get to what makes this a Nigerian week.

One of the founders of the Andela program is a Nigerian, so it would only make sense that they base their first hub there and assess the viability of it, you know, feasibility things .

Our trainers during this two-week program are Nigerians:) I have come to realize that Nigerians are very smart people. Very. Please stop laughing at my ignorance for a minute and listen. When you grow up watching Nigerian movies about how a man turned into a snake because he stole someone's wife or how Igwe must be told his woman is cheating on him, you learn to somehow not take them seriously :D. No offence though, I hope none will be taken. But as I read about Andela, and viewed some of their members' profiles on Linkedin, I could only see brilliance. I also read other stories of course. Great people.

The Nigerian accent is really amusing when you hear it on telly but it is quite interesting when you hear it in person.You almost want the person to keep talking endlessly, regardless of the fact that you got lost after the first two words. Mombasa Swahili and South African accents also have the same effect on me.  Every time they talk, you almost feel like you are in one of their movies about to jump on an okada and rush to a juju man to cast a spell on the person who has called you mumu.

Interacting with them is great. They have vibrant personalities. They are what you see in their movies. They laugh that loud, yes. They give those oga expressions when they are surprised or shocked. They are confident people. And of course, smart.

It has been an awesome one week of interacting with Naija Brodas.

It has also been a week of great learning. Every experience in life always gives you something to go home with and this is what I have learned from these guys in this one week:

1. Do not be afraid to fail.

Failing does not make you a failure. Failing gives you the chance to do it all over again, learn from the previous mistakes and make it right. We all fail many times but if you keep re-doing it you are bound to make it right. The first thing they actually tell you when you get there is, Do not be scared  to fail.

2. Learn from others, teach to others.

The environment is not focused on who are the best developers in the house and then focus on them but rather everyone is focused on and every one teaches every one else. There is a lot that goes on and what you might know, another might not and vice versa.

3. Everyone has something to offer.

It is easy to want to fade into the background if you feel like you are not being noticed in an environment. Well, I know I do. And sometimes my personality does not make things easier for me. But the moment you get noticed, you do flourish and do your best in whatever it is you are doing. They focus on each and every member in the room and we all come together and bring what we have to the table.

4. Keep trying. Keep learning.

There is a lot to learn, and if you want to get better at it you have to keep learning. They say programming is an art and I am not surprised that I got to love it, because I also love art. I love to write, and I know I get better every time I write. That is why I blog. I love photography, my shots right now do not look anything like what I used to shoot before. That is why I shoot every time I get the chance. Any art you want perfected, you have to put in the work of learning to get better. And you get better by doing.

5. Be resilient.

People will encourage you to do something. What they do not tell you is you will fall while doing it. You will be mocked while doing it. You will once in a while doubt yourself while doing it. You will meet obstacles while doing it. It is never easy for anyone. The difference is those who get better refuse to be put down by whatever challenges they face.

6. Have fun with it.

It would definitely be a sad state to see people do what they claim they love but are crying while doing it. Right?

7. German is a kick-ass language.

Ha. This is just mine. Our trainer is learning German and guess who else knows the language? Yes, yours truly. I have not had the chance to speak the language with someone in person for quite sometime so the little we talk makes me feel really good. I love the language too much. I will always remember the 40 year old German who taught me:)

I write this post as though I have been paid. I wish. I just wanted to share an experience that I considered worthwhile.

See you next week.



  1. My best part " Next time you meet a developer, please give him/her a standing ovation, or honor him with a speech, or just take them out for coffee, they love that." :-) so true.

  2. good thing to see some one talk glowingly about programming... congrats on your fellowship


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Everyone has 24 hours a day, difference is how you use it up. I am a cocktail of a lady who loves art and is tech-savvy.

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