A diverse group of individuals tell us how they began their career in programming. Read them here.
Ijeoma Arisah shares her story.
Ijeoma Gift Arisah
As a child, I watched a lot of sci-fi movies, so I believed that technology could help mankind, including being the key to care for my parents in their old age. Since I knew I couldn’t always be there for them, I decided that technological advancement would ensure their well-being and the computer would get us there. In my mind, I imagined a version of Ironman’s JARVIS, an artificial intelligence robot that could assist and advance human progress.
Through the years, my interest in technology dissipated but nevertheless I pursued the science track in my studies. I elected this track because I excelled in the subject but also because I preferred the sciences over the humanities courses in history and religion. When I was around 15 years old, my dad bought a desktop. I didn’t have any formal training but still managed to find my way around using it by trial and error.
In college, I elected into a computer science program for the mere fact that it was a popular concentration. Unfortunately, the courses were not enlightening at all which created a culture where simply passing became priority over understanding the course material. Most of my classmates crammed to memorize pre-written codes so that we could ace the exams. At the end of 4 years, while many graduated with honors, they still lacked strong comprehension in programming.
During a visit home from college, a friend shared some e-books on HTML and CSS. The webpages I was able to design with those outdated books made me feel like a magician! And, it was an awesome feeling.
A few years out of college, I decided to go into teaching, but teaching was not what I felt born to do. One day, my good friend sent me a link to apply for the Andela boot camp, a program that actually pays you to learn how to code! It was one of the application questions that reminded me of my forgotten dream: “Why do you want to program?” The question literally hit me like a wrecking ball and I recalled how much enjoyment I got from programming. I felt confident during my interview and had a gut feeling that I would make it into the program.
And well, I did, and every day since has been an educating, challenging, and inspiring lesson. Being a programmer has been exciting so far and Andela’s unique curriculum — with its emphasis on full-stack development — is an unbeatable training experience. Currently, I am learning the Rails curriculum. Of course, there are days when I feel like pulling my hair out and smashing my computer against the wall but nothing beats the feeling I have when I fix a bug or solve a problem. Then, it feels like I’m floating.
I am so happy that I finally ended up on this career path and with time, I believe that having our very own miniature JARVIS robots won’t be such a farfetched concept.
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