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

Adebambo Oyelekan Oyelaja shares his story.

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Adebambo Oyelaja

During my primary school education in Ijebu-Ode, while I was in primary four we had computer classes. My school (Tai Solarin College of Education Staff School) would rent a computer system and bring it to school for us to see. This alien looking device, which I could only relate to my TV at home, was never turned on, my teacher back then would only explain the hardware to us and carefully ask us to look at it and identify it but not touch it or turn it on. I cried to my parents that I wanted one but the closest I got back then was a V.TECH learning machine which was a toy laptop. I scored the highest in all computer tests and exams we ever took because of my passion for this thing.

Two years later, magic happened! My uncle sent me a computer loaded with windows 3.1 and my life changed! I spent most of my time playing with this thing and my friends would come over and see me do all sort of boring things with it and assume the computer was a boring thing to own. I stumbled upon Q basic for dummies and read the whole thing front to back in a day! In two days I had built my first game in Basic and showed it to a friend in the U.K. He thought it was the coolest thing he had seen a black kid do, so he sent me a brand new dell computer running windows 95.

This gave me the power to do more! I would go to Cyber Cafes, surf the internet and save the web pages on my diskette. Coming back home I would load the pages on my computer and fool my friends into thinking I had an internet connection at home. But this did not satisfy the hunger, I wanted to know how these pages were made. So I started playing with Microsoft publisher by building drag and drop web pages. This was cool and then the real magic happened! I discovered the source code editor and from then on I just wanted to build and learn more. This lead to the understanding of so many things including the almighty dynamic web pages as they were called back then.

During my secondary school education I became notorious for my computer mischiefs such as being able to shut all computers on the network down, change administrators passwords by booting into safe mode and most importantly being able to access examinations questions that were saved on the network. This did get me banned from the computer labs of course. But that did not stop me from wanting to learn so I would go to the university Cyber Cafe in Babcock and blow all my pocket money on internet time. After secondary school education, my imagination had grown wild and my skills were developing daily. I had become familiar with C++, Visual Basic, Fortran, Html. Javascript and php.

Arriving at university I had no computer, so I would suck up to people who had computers and most of the times attend computer classes to use a computer and the only thing I ever did when I wasn’t busy formatting the hard drives was write CODE! My real coding challenge however happened when David Adamo(One of the smartest programmers I have met) built a photo uploader in python! I was amazed and blown away but most importantly I was challenged. This made me vow to become the best programmer in Babcock university. I imitated all form of software people used and created in Babcock just to show people I COULD DO IT! Then I started developing www.waaazap.com (which is now defunct) this was my first major project. It was a social network born out of admiration for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. Waaazap taught me a lot and made me challenge the limits. It gained popularity as one of the coolest social networks in Nigeria back then because of it’s design and technology. I spent all the money I made from freelancing on it but it wasn’t much of a success, although I did make over 20,000USD from it. I ventured into hacking and joinned hackthissite.org where I am listed on the hall of fame. This was an eye opener also as it made me security conscious and very curious. I would try to break any webpage, network or device I stumbled upon.

Programming has taken me through a lot of paths in life:
I have been flogged over it.
I have spent my life savings on it.
I dropped out of school for it.
I became popular for it.
I earned money doing it.
I have been homeless and rebellious because of it.
Most importantly have built a career around it and proved my parents and a lot of people wrong that you do not need a degree to secure a job.

So far, I have worked as C.T.O at ConnectNigeria.com(Where I led the technical team and worked with an awesome team to take the website to top 50 on alexa.com), Developer at RyteDeals.com, Developer at Hotels.ng, Founder at CybernatorSolutions.com and most recently founded www.prayerbox.co

Programming as become a way of life and even though I do it a lot less than I used to or would love to, there isn’t a day when I don’t write a line of code. These days I am busy being a CEO and building my startup’s business, being a daddy and husband(which is way more fun than coding). I someday hope to establish a coding campus where aspiring programmers can realise their dreams and develop their skills. Nigeria needs more programmers, the government can’t provide that. Significant change has been made by programmers in the country and I someday pray that the government would support programmers more.

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Adebambo Oyekan Oyelaja (@waaazap) is the founder of Prayerbox, an online community where believers can share their prayers and testimonies. 

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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