Olalekan Sogunle – I Learnt to Code so I Could Make Something Out of Nothing

A diverse group of individuals tell us how they began their career in programming. Read them here.

Olalekan Sogunle shares his story.

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Olalekan Sogunle

The first line of code I wrote was in my second year at the university when every Chemical Engineering student had to take a Computer Science course. And guess the language we were using – it was the outdated Fortran 95. So, a lot of us were not interested in coding, but in merely passing the course. During my final year at university, I got to do something more interesting with Matlab and Mathematica for my thesis. While that involved heavier analysis and mathematics, it was still more interesting and applicable than Fortran 95. But all of this was still child’s play compared to what I was building towards.

After university, I stopped doing everything related to coding. I told myself that I either needed to get a Masters degree or find a job. One day, I made the mistake of reading Paul Graham’s “Hackers and Painters.” I call it a mistake because it completely took me off the “get a Masters degree or find a job” path.

I read the book 10 years after it was published and it was as though I was having a conversation with the author. It changed everything about my thinking, orientation, and future pursuit of success. From the book, I realized that to code, all you need is your brain, a computer, and the internet. After that, I decided to learn coding myself, with or without help. I was determined to create something out of nothing, because that was the lesson I got from the book. As a result, I started seeking the fastest and most effective way to learn to code. During my research, I stumbled upon Codecademy where I started my first HTML/CSS course online. What I discovered was fun and amazing. Realizing that I could actually code, poured a river of encouragement into my blood and made me determined to push further.

At the time, even though I didn’t know it yet, the opportunity to pursue programming as a career was just around the corner. I saw a friend share a link to apply for Andela’s two-week boot camp and quickly applied myself. Ultimately, my application for boot camp was denied. And while this was painful, it never crushed my resolve to continue learning to code. Around this time, I had just enrolled in a Master’s program in Systems Engineering and I started the program with a determination to learn as much code as it would take to become a computer alchemist.

When I saw the application open again for Andela’s next boot camp, I reapplied once again. This time around, I got into boot camp! Andela’s boot camp still remains one of the craziest two weeks of my life and it was just what I needed to jumpstart my journey to fulfilling my dreams. I learnt to code by doing, and I would study night and day. I committed so much of myself to boot camp that eventually, I decided to opt out of the Master’s program to tackle more real-world problem-solving issues in programming. In the two weeks of boot camp, I learnt the basics of HTML/CSS and Javascript/JQuery, and built a one-page application. Although feeling exhausted, boot camp ignited a passion in me for the first time since my encounter with “Hackers and Painters.” I made it through boot camp, was accepted into Andela, and I never looked back since then.

Upon joining Andela, I embarked on two months of intensive training and learnt to master some the newest tools in software engineering and web development. By the end of the two months, I had polished my HTML/CSS and Javascript/JQuery skills, and learnt the MEAN (MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS, and NodeJS) stack. Part of our training required that we build and complete a project by the end of every week. I loved every minute of it. After completing the two months of intensive training, I dove into Ruby on Rails and I now work remotely as a Rails backend engineer for a client. My work presents challenging and enlightening lessons every day ranging from solving new problems, to conducting test-driven development, ensuring version control, working with awesome people in the software industry, and always creating products of value through the power of code.

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Olalekan Tosin Sogunle (@OlalekanSogunle) is a Software Developer specializing in Ruby on Rails. He received his BSc. from OAU, Ife and currently works at Andela. In addition to programming, Olalekan is a regular contributor to Stack Overflow and plays chess in his free time. He currently resides in Lagos, Nigeria and can be contacted at olalekan.sogunle@andela.co.

Do you want to share how you got started coding and your experience so far? Go HERE to see how to do it.

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