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

Fari Oluwatoyin shares her story.



Fari Oluwatoyin

I am not going to bore you about how I loved computers when I was a kid, or how I spent most of my time on the computer because that part doesn’t exist in this story. I didn’t have any computer background or interested in computers at all. I was just a kid who was either glued to the TV all the time or busy practising how to break dance in front of the mirror (and this was an extreme case of boredom).

I never even had the intention to study anything computer related. Back then I wanted to be a Pharmacist. I grew up with running nose, headache and cold all the time and I really found it amusing that I could just take some coloured pills and poooof, all gone. I really wanted to know how that happened and everything that revolved around it.

Anyway, God didn’t want that for me, I failed chemistry in all, I mean all my external exams considering the fact that I was bad ass in it (now I barely know what a molecule is). Ironic right? But it was a blessing in disguise.

In 2009, I found myself in Babcock University studying Computer Information Systems not because I loved computers, computing, programming or whatever. I loved or I would rather say I love Mathematics, and the course was a combination of Calculus, Accounting, Economics and more of computing. I told myself that I could work with this.

Summer of 2010, the name JAVA sounded sweet to me. It was in my next session course outline. Uhmmm, what’s this? – I said to myself. I spent the summer learning JAVA. It was really awesome. I was like WOW, COOL, COOL STUFF, compared to the C and C++ I learnt earlier on back in my first year. I was always on my laptop trying out stuffs.

We got back to school, and JAVA class started. I was always responding and everybody noticed. I can remember vividly that my response was always “No oo, I’m just learning” while blushing. I was the shy type, never really interacted. I taught people and it was really cool, to be very honest. I did my assignments, class work, group work and test with ease.

Then in my third year, we had a software exhibition in the department. I didn’t plan on doing anything though until someone encouraged me. I created a local Mavis Beacon (learn how to type well in our local dialect -Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo) overnight. I really don’t know how I did that, but I did. The interface was terrible, I look back and laugh at myself…. WHAT!!! It wasn’t really about winning the contest, but it felt good to participate.

During my industrial training period, I sacrificed my weekends to learn HTML, CSS and PHP. It was really cool. I loved it more than JAVA though. I found it really hard to design with JAVA; it was always wasting my time… Ain’t nobody got time for that. I didn’t really like PHP either, so I stuck to my HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

When I returned to school for my final year, I didn’t really have any issue with school work because most of what we did was Web related. I participated in the yearly software exhibition again and I came third.

The time I could actually say I became a designer was in 2013. I was done with my first degree and fully had time. I could now focus on what I enjoy doing – designing. I love beautiful things generally, who doesn’t? Lol. I spent the better part of the summer learning how to design not just on my computer or paper, it became a lifestyle too. I could use my Photoshop very well. I got inspirations from dribbble.com, behance.net and others. I found out that I could even do better stuffs.

Steve Jobs said, “Design is not only how it looks but how it works .” So admiring my Photoshop designs weren’t going to cut it, I graduated into turning my PSDs into CSS3 codes. I tried to learn the basics of UI/UX designs from typography, to using the grid, and responsive web designs. I would go on awwwards.com and check out beautiful websites and other things designers were doing. My inspiration has always been bravepeople.co. They create awesome stuffs. If I could eat them up I would.

By that time, I was already in a team of other wonderful people. We are four in number, two guys and two girls and they are really good at what they do. If you really want to achieve your goals and dreams you have to surround yourself with people who look in the same direction. They motivate me and also make me want to become a better person and designer.

It wasn’t really easy juggling the team with NYSC. I was teaching and after closing hours, I would still go over to meet the team and work till late in the evening, weekends too.

I have become a good UI/UX designer overtime and I know I would/could be better. I have done and am still doing stuffs. You can check out what my team and I just launched. The interface and experience is very, and I mean very cool – connverg.me.

So if I am going to say why I started coding/designing in a sentence, it would be because “I love beautiful things “.


Fari Toyin (@teefarie) is a UI/UX Designer at Swap space. She is currently working on Connverg.

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

Chioma Nkemdilim Author

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