blurry imageThe AFEX Tech Stars Diary: The Participants Journey so far

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The AFEX Tech Stars Diary: The Participants Journey so far

Precious OkoroMarch 8, 2024

This edition tells the story of the participants. We listened to some people from the first and second cohorts of the ATS program speak about their journey, and expectations in tech through the program.

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ADEDOLA ABARU- Mobile App Development

Adedola credits his opportunity to join the ATS program to social media. “I used to have a routine of sweeping through certain companies that I admired and looking for internships. I loved the thrill. It was daily, I churned out loads of emails to these companies as well, so I barely remembered the ones I applied to. On a Tuesday afternoon, I got an email with the title AFEX Tech Stars” and a test link, I took the test and that was it.”

“After the induction, came my curiosity laced with an adequate amount of confusion. I had to learn from not just our teachers but also my fellow tech stars and you find out that everyone is trying to figure it out, no one came there with all the knowledge in the world, and that somehow reassured me that I would make it, so long as I put in the necessary hours and a bit more. We were graded individually but for some of our assessments and tests, we were grouped. If you fail to do your part, the team suffers. The bit that kept me going was seeing my work being deployed, I was not writing dummy codes.”

OLUWATOSIN OLABANJI – Product Management

“Learning Product Management felt like doing everything I wanted to do. I was a tech sis but I didn’t have to write codes. It was easy to apply for the role, but being faced with the actual learning and working process was an entirely different ballgame. I had finished the mandatory NYSC, emails and Jobberman were my most visited sites. “I knew about tech as the boring long hours of sitting on a chair in a slightly dark room, using 2 or more screens to check multicolored lines of alphabets, numbers, and some punctuation marks, but I didn’t know about it as a field that was super diverse and encompassed a lot of roles until I started here. Excelling in product management means you take up the role of a general overseer, find possible flaws, you’re in charge of making sure that things work, and they work well.”

For Oluwatosin, her growth can be seen not just as making the most out of her career path, but also as stepping out of a previously shelled life. “For the third exercise for the 6-month-long internship, my group had to build a management system for the next cohort, a platform where they would be assessed, and their grades tracked. I voiced an opinion on certain features we could also add, and my team listened. I found myself falling in love with speaking out more and looking forward to meetings.”

ALALADE DAMILOLA, Frontend Development

Three years before joining the ATS program, Damilola had his first “entering tech” conversation with friends. “Most of my friends in the university were already moving into tech, but I somehow convinced myself that it was not for me. I did not understand why coding had to look that tedious and why their days ran late into early mornings. No one who codes sleeps well. So, for you to build beautiful things while functioning on little sleep, you have to be a genius.”

A year later, he applied to an ALX internship because his friends had convinced him to give coding a trial and that set the pace for his tech story.

“I was in ALX for the briefest, then I applied to Zuri, but I left them both to focus on school, graduate, and move on to my NYSC. The thing with starting in tech is that you never stop looking out for opportunities and I found out about the ATS program through 2 of my friends working with AFEX. During my first months, my mentor’s and older colleagues' work stack became my school. I spent a lot of time trying to break down what felt like complex codes, hanging on the mercy of 4-5 hours of sleep daily.”

“The beauty of what I do is that the more I go through a process or build a functioning code, the more I see all tasks as achievable. The beginning was slow, but I was learning. I was getting better. After the second test, I had a mini panic attack. I felt like I was forcing myself into a shoe that didn’t fit and grew worried that I was running out of time. However a chat with Ridwan and consistently showing up showed that anything I set out to do, I could achieve. I mean I built one of the budget management systems AFEX uses.”

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OYEYEMI AJIBOYE Mobile App Development

For Oyeyemi, joining the program gave her the chance to explore the tech ecosystem. Coming from a Javascript background, she felt web development was the only path. “I applied for backend development without having my hopes high."

“Seeing myself in mobile app development was challenging but worth it and having people who gave me room to fail forward helped. I hadn’t done some of these things before, so I had to learn on the job. I enjoy the mental exercise of building applications that solve problems and meet clients' needs, however, more than that, we learned to work better in teams and it helped my relationships.”

“If I am asked to speak about my growth here, I would say it has been a learning curve. I believe I'm reshaping the story; currently, I am setting a new standard for more women/ girls to embrace mobile app development.”

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