2020 : The year of Ups and Downs
If I were to describe 2020 in one word, it would be 'wins'. At the end of 2019, I was a tech newbie. I was struggling with materials and courses; I had little belief in myself. It seemed like I was underqualified for every opportunity I came across.
I started learning Front-end Development because I was told and I thought it was easy. When I got introduced to the languages required at a Bootcamp I enrolled in, I was so unserious and only wanted the certification. My knowledge of HTML and CSS was shallow. I had opportunities to attend events, and at every event, I felt more lost.
In January, I expanded my networks and attended more events. I got depressed due to my inability to grasp the concept of Web Development as quickly as I had hoped. The school was still in session, so I had very little time daily to improve and learn more in tech.
Fast forward to March; the school had to close due to the pandemic. The break gave me time to pick up coding again. I found out I did not exactly have a solid background in Web Development, so I started afresh. I watched tutorial videos and read a few docs, but my progress was slow. I got a push to join ECX 30 days of code challenge and participated at the beginner level. I was only able to complete six daily tasks out of thirty due to the issues I had at home. I had to adjust to many things at home because it got really tough at a point. I had to stop overnight coding and was restricted to using my laptop for a short period every day.
It was extremely challenging because I wasn't used to it. During this period, all I did was cry and sank deeper into depression. It felt like I was not getting enough support from home to do what I love and it hurt me deeply. I opened up to many people to feel better; it felt like no help could come through. All my friends were winning, I was, of course, happy for them, but why couldn't it be me? I gave up on every internship and other opportunities I got because of fear.
One of the things that brought me down was when someone I looked up to and really wanted to approve my growth rubbed my circumstances in my face in public. All the passion I had left died, or so it seemed. I just could not go further. His opinion mattered so much to me that what other people said had little or no effect on me. I shut down for a while and was living in depression until a friend of mine offered me a spot in his start-up firm to work as a Front-end Developer on the firm’s official website.
In May, I shared the news with my friends. I found out that I actually had basic knowledge, and all I needed to do was to brush up my skills. I learnt how to implement Figma designs, worked in a team, and learned how to meet and beat deadlines. I stayed there for a month and a half, and it boosted my skills and confidence. Working on the site was challenging, but the joy of building was fulfilling.
I adjusted my schedule and only wrote code during the day, giving me more time to rest. I also got encouraged by some of my tech 'daddies' to start blogging. My first blog post was about something I struggled with, imposter syndrome, and it turned out good. Towards the end of May, I got selected as the Lead of She Code Africa, UNILAG Chapter to assume duties in June.
One would think I was overjoyed, right? Instead, I felt down. I had no idea how it would work, or what to do. So, I selected a team of people that were my friends that I knew could function well. Working with them helped me improve; they built me. I gained the confidence to share my work and get feedback.
In July, I gained more presence on Twitter and made many virtual friends. I gave my first talk through the connections from a dev group, and it opened doors to more talks. I also signed up for a mentorship program; I took my time to learn and be my hype man and discovered what worked for me. August was a good month for me. I was accountable to people and kept them updated about my progress. They guided me on my learning journey. I wrote my first technical article this month; the feedback was encouraging, but I couldn't write frequently. In September, the community organized a mentorship program to monitor and help ease the learning of ladies in tech. It gives me a sense of fulfilment to watch these ladies grow and see how amazing my team is. I helped, encouraged, and supported people in the little way I could. I found the community a major reason not to give up. Their reports gave me joy.
I got a push from Sam to apply for an international talk that was way out of my league. I gave it a try with Bolu’s help and was selected. I was the only student, and black female speaker. I felt out of place when I compared myself with other speakers who had more impressive profiles. It was a major win for me, and the talk went well.
I later focused more on writing for a month, I enrolled in Hashnode Bootcamp and it was drilling. I was able to discover a writing pattern suitable for me and how my writeup should be like.
Knowing full well I started 2020 having no expectation, reflecting on how the year went for me shows that it is a major win for me. For someone who had always been insecure and emotional and wanted validation, my progress emotionally is a huge leap forward on my path. Here are a few takeaway points:
No matter how tough the situation may be, as long as it is something you love and are passionate about, do not give up. I cannot say everything I went through in detail, but it was tough, and I survived. You do not need approval from anyone. There will be many people that will serve as ladders in your career, but the only one you should seek approval from, is yourself. Open up. The major thing that helped me was opening up. I always cried out for help, even when there was little or nothing they could do. I applied for something my family and I wanted. I submitted all my coding projects and achievements, and I got it immediately. It was then that my parents supported my coding. I am glad I did not give up. I am glad my inner circle helped; there were times I needed to see them physically to get better and even cry because I needed to let things off my mind. Today, I am happy I opened up.
Shoutout to everyone I met this year that contributed to my growth. I owe thanks to many people who were ladders to my growth. Some of them are:
- Chinaza - my personal UI guy who always apologizes. He was always there to listen to my rant.
- Ireayo Oyakale -an amazing fellow, i am grateful she is in mu life
- Deborah Agboola - the first female dev friend I made, she is always after my growth, and feeds me with the right knowledge. She motivates me.
- Akin Aguda - my retired CSS debbuger! He legit solved all my issues for a long while and then allowed me space to learn to debug on my own.
- Bami Ogunfemi - words can't describe how thankful I am, you still made time for me and you taught me how to flex 😂😂🤣 - chop life gang. You mentored mehn and I soared. I love you, thank you for everything. Isreal Aliyu - my dad!! He kept encouraging and was always positive.
- Harith Onigemo - this guy has always been my partner. We both grew, shared projects and worked together; one of the best friends ever.
- Kromate- my tech journey started when I spoke to him. He didn't water down my passion; he encouraged me. My main dad!!!!!!!!!
- Samuel Hyeman- my guy, he was of the guys that I spoke to about tech and he encouraged me. He gave me all the necessary resources when I started.
- Zubair Idris - my guy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I whined him a lot. I really appreciate his encouragement and support
- Babatunde - ore mi atata, we could have convos for long. Agba dev!!!!!!! An amazing fellow.
- Sodiq Agunbiade - my guy; he gave me all the support I needed. Fortune Adekogbe - I am forever grateful for the referral, man. It showed how strong my skills are and made me more confident.
- Kruse - Daddy Kruse, on of the few guys that took up with my tech journey and wanted me to blow
- Olamide Pearl - my love. Guyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She polished my writing skills mehn. There were decisions I needed to make in SCA, UNILAG Chapter and my personal life that her advice was always perfect. I am grateful she put up with my excesses.
- Ifihan Olusheye- she is a good listener. She ensured I gave her answers to every question she asked. I am glad I ranted to her a lot; she is one of the people that built my confidence. She is also a great addition to the SCA, UNILAG Chapter team; thank you ma.
- Mbaoma Chioma - Mummy in the lord, she encouraged me in my tech journey and was always there to listen. She also encouraged me to start blogging. Mummy Oma, crowd controller! Our valuable SCA UNILAG team member, I appreciate your support.
- Rukky Orekoya - designer mi too poooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr . All the beautiful graphics in SCA, UNILAG Chapter are single handedly done by her. I am proud of her growth.
- Abiola Farounbi - mummy wa!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love her consistency and how she accepted a role on a short notice and kept our SCA, UNILAG Chapter social media accounts active. I am really grateful.
- Mercy Benn-Itua - Mercy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! multi talented programmer I am glad for your support in SCA UNILAG, I am
- Sodiq Akinjobi - one of the greatest leaders I know, I didn't even ask you. I just dragged you into SCA, UNILAG Chapter. Every conversation I had with you clarified my plans for my community. For your support, and time, I am really grateful.
- Debo Bello - Daddy wa. I met him in January and he has impacted my life since. He was there to cry on when frontend was getting harder, he was part of the people that I was accountable to and he still monitors my growth.
- Abdulqudus Abdulbakre: ever since i started talking to him, my CSS has taken additional shape and form. He made sure everything looked simple and achievable. I am accountable to him; I tell him how far I have gone and he shows me where to work on.
- Khadija Salisu - our mummy I enter her dm with all my frontend issues and she responds. Always there to encourage
- Tega - my guy, I am grateful you are part of my life, and knowing you has been amazing. He always listened when I ranted . mad designer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am grateful man
- Daniel Benjamin - big bro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am really grateful man, you were the best ever
- Justin Iyke - my non tech friend. It is amazing how you followed my growth and still kept checking up on me.
- Oluchi Nwenyi - lulu lulu lulu my love. Omo I can't remember how we started talking but, the times we brainstormed on your designs were amazing. And I, in proofreading your articles, sharpened my writing skills. I am inspired by your progress.
- Taiwo Shawn - Shawn i am proud of your growth. I am so happy you opened up and allowed me to be of help. But more than that, your life and your words, they motivate me.
- Deji Rotibi - omo i remember you sending a message on keep pushing dont give up. At that time it was really tough and all i wanted to do was to let go. I am glad you spoke to me.
- Solomon Esenyi - ghost my love 😂😂😂 funny how he has sense small but if I need anything or need to call anyone asap he will respond. He used to bombard me with his articles to proofread - this really helped me mehn. He has money, he still sends to me till now
- Ovo - this dude taught me how to push with git commands virtually and I got it. I am thankful.
- Sam Abada - Master Sam !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Daddy wa !!!!!!!!!!!!! This guy here is an amazing fellow, he gave me a project to work on and it was unlike anything I had previously worked on. Due to my research and learning, I wrote an article that was one of the best that week. If he did not assign the project to me I would not have acquired that knowledge. He is a wonderful soul.
- Azeez Azeez - when i was pregnant 😂😂😂😂😂 with CSS knowledge, and I didnt know what to do next, I opened up to our daddy here and he assigned a project to me. With the insecurity and doubt I had, I took it up and to my greatest surprise I did way more than my expectation. I also learnt a lot during this project, and it served as a stepping stone to a proposal submitted for a talk. My first CSS talk.
- Nath Dumto - Vuejs lord, he was the first person that read the first draft of my write up and the fact that he gave me positive feedback gave me hope to publish. There were many things I didn't know that he had answers to. I am thankful.
- Maryam Mudashiru - I knew her through a mutual friend - Muhammed Oguntade. My way of writing CSS code took shape and form after meeting her. She literally helped me in everything; she built my confidence and I worked on more projects to show off.
- Oluwafemi Subomi - I am grateful for the projects he gave me to work on, it made me a better person. Chop life gang member, we help him spend his money.
The list goes on and on and on and on and on. I am indeed grateful to all of you, you're amazing!! Big shoutout to Olumide Nwosu, Olamide Gabriel, my Twitter family, the people I met through Hashnode, Q devs, JS Minna, my amazing SCA UNILAG Team, and the SCA UNILAG Community.
Thank you for a beautiful 2020, your girl is grateful!