A diverse group of individuals tell us how they began their career in programming. Read them here.
Ezinwanne Jitte shares his story.
I like solving problems. When I found myself studying Computer Science, I had to choose between programming or the hardware/networking. I however, got interested with programming because only a few students had time to code and could stay awake all night designing pseudo codes,
developing procedures, algorithms and debugging apps. I saw this as a great feat for myself largely due to the fact that I had developed studying skills from Government College, Umuahia, where I had my secondary school education, and I loved the new found skill. It was really not easy at the very beginning, but I gave coding a lot of my time. I started with Visual Basic 6.0 doing a lot on COM components.
After tertiary institution, I had grown to master OOP with .NET framework, and Java. I had used the skill then to attempt solving a problem for NYSC Lagos State, where I designed an SMS gateway application that could ease youth corps members the stress in sorting out their delayed allowances and place of primary assignment. Lagos is a large city, where corps members live very far from the national secretariat at Surulere. Most times, corps members have to check with the secretariat about 6 times traveling from their various locations, wasting limited resources to clear or sort some issues relating to their allowance or primary posting.
I saw this as a problem and developed the sms messaging system where they can query the NYSC server and get response on their GSM which will aide them in making informed decisions as to ascertain if they have been reposted, if their allowance has been paid and any other issues which I
worked with NYSC Lagos to build.
I submitted this proposal to MTN and ETISALAT and after 2 weeks I got a call from the marketing department of MTN and had discussions with them about four times, after which they told me, they thought it was supposed to cover for NYSC Nigeria, and I should go and obtain a letter from Abuja to implement it for the whole of NYSC Nigeria. Meanwhile I had a letter of sponsorship from NYSC Lagos for the project. At this point the coordinator of NYSC Lagos was just changed and I had few months to pass out. Concurrently, I was also running a free computer class for selected secondary schools within Education district 4 covering Festac environment where I lived.
I know the computer is a tool and I sought a way to leave a legacy to the schools I taught Computer Studies. I desired a new corps member to continue training students even when I had gone. It was then I met the then councillor, Hon Adesanya Solomon, who I had heard was already offering free medical care to residents of Amuwo LGA in Lagos. When I approached him, he was willing to sponsor both the purchase of computers and the publishing of my computer books which I started writing when I
was in final year in the tertiary institution. I later got the computer laboratory established in Festac Girls Secondary School Festac, which is supposed to be a hub for all the schools I had lectured students within District 4.
On the Launch day at the venue, I shared the books free to students, politicians, teachers and NYSC officials that were at the occasion courtesy of Hon Adesanya who paid for the free copies. I had to use my allowance to sponsor myself for the SMS gateway application which corps members were supposed to use. I handed the project to the IT staff of NYSC Lagos and also trained him on how to use the app. We did not officially launch the app, because the new coordinator was not supportive and I saw a lot of politics within the NYSC system. I was not there for politics, I only seized the opportunity of service to my Nation to use my IT skills in problem solving and empowering other youths.
I was immediately retained at the place of my primary assignment where I have developed numerous apps, and integrated the Electronic Banking System of Revenue Cycle Management, aka EBSRCM, with banks, NIBSS and with telecom companies. I was in Kenya last year, where I worked with Kiambu
County Government where we deployed EBSRCM on a pilot scheme. I had opportunity of integrating EBSRCM to Airtel Money and Safaricom MPESA and designing a mobile app for car park collections.
There are so many ideas on what could be done with IT in Nigeria, but the question is: the policies and the environment in Nigeria are they yet to fully accept IT?
IT is evolving; I’m still reading, I’m still learning and connecting with other tech people and sharing knowledge and skills.
Ezinwanne Jitte (@bobjitte) is a Computer Science Analyst, System Integrator, Programmer, with experience in all phases of software life cycle. He holds a certificate in Introduction to Operations Management with The University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Management. He is an Oracle Certified Associate, a Microsoft Certified Professional and a member of Nigerian computer Society (NCS). He holds five (5) years’ experience in the area of control, automation, database design, software development, system integration, mobile development and other related fields. He currently lives in Lagos Nigeria.