We asked a diverse group of individuals to tell us how they began their career in programming. Over the next few weeks, TechCabal will be featuring stories shared by these various software developers in Nigeria, on how they got started coding. Special thanks to Mark Essien for curating the stories.



Ofure Ukpebor

The first time I saw a computer, I was 5, I think. We had this big desktop computer by the dining in my house, and my fondest childhood memories were watching Lion King over and over again on it, and drawing gardens and houses with Microsoft Paint. So I can say I’ve been ‘computer literate’ for a while ☺.

I studied Computer Science as a first degree in Babcock University. It was right there that programming chose me. The courses I took in my first and second years were mostly theoretic: we wrote code on paper and never saw them run. It was a sad case of ‘la cram la pour’ if you know what I mean. I really think it would have been great if we could relate our paper code to actual applications as early as the very first year.

We finally began doing practicals from the 3rd year. We were often times split into project groups of 8 or 12 persons to build some application or design a site. Those groupings were usually characterized by 4 kinds of people:
— The first group who admitted they didn’t know what the course was about but were willing to support in anyway (printing, spiral binding reports, buying airtime to call for project meetings) etc.
— The second group was made up of those that preferred to handle the project presentation to the audience at completion. All they needed was for the developer to explain how the application worked.
— The third group was composed of those who left the entire work to the rest of the team and never showed up till presentation day.
— The last group consisted of those who actually built the application.

Since I needed to ace my classes, I couldn’t leave the fate of my grades to the hands of team members who most likely couldn’t care less about their grades. I was chosen as project lead in most of my groups and was actively involved in the coding process. Those days were not so much fun, but through that experience, I fell in love with programming, and before graduation, I was a proficient coder. Java was my first language, then HTML, JavaScript and PHP.

I think one of the greatest fulfillments a graduate can have is to know what they want to do — career wise — before graduation. While in school, I had learnt that nothing was impossible to achieve — as long as you have an internet connection and a willingness to learn.

My first clients were fellow students who paid me with airtime or lunch. I would have done it for free though — I was learning and I loved the process.

I’ve been coding for a little over four years now, and honestly I don’t know for sure where this is going. I just know that I get ‘badder’ every time I create greatness with my codes, and I never want to stop.


Ofure Amenawon Ukpebor is a Programmer/Software Developer at Anakle Nigeria. You can find her on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Do you have stories of how your love for coding began? Please share in the comments below!

Chioma Nkemdilim Author

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