Greetings ET people 🖖🏾
IIn this edition of Entering Tech, we’re diving into an exciting and rapidly evolving realm of the professional world: internships 🌟
This is a two-part piece written by Oluwatoyosi Adebusuyi, a storyteller at Reneé PR, a Nigerian tech PR agency. It’ll explore the myriad ways in which internships in the tech sector can propel you towards success. We also delve into inspiring stories of individuals who have leveraged tech internships to unlock their potential and pave the way for their future endeavours.
Whether you’re a student aiming to gain practical skills or a career changer exploring new avenues, this edition offers insights, guidance, and a deeper understanding of the transformative power of internships 🚀
by Pamela Tetteh and Timi Odueso.
Some tech trivia to get the brain juices flowing.
- Which major tech company is known for its internship programme called “The Summer of Code”?
- Which famous tech entrepreneur started as an intern at Hewlett-Packard (HP) and later co-founded a billion-dollar company?
How internships work
Centuries ago, what we now know as internships were called apprenticeships, informal systems of learning designed to help young enthusiasts develop skills under trade masters’ guidance. Today, internships hold even more significance, especially for recent graduates, entry-level professionals and people looking to switch careers. Internships present invaluable opportunities to get hands-on experience, making them a popular choice for people venturing or transitioning into new careers.
Today, the tech industry is a major attraction for professionals across various fields, with 89% of career changers lured by better financial prospects, as reported by CNBC. Internships provide these individuals with vital skills to elevate their careers, seize more promising opportunities and ultimately increase their income. While certifications and degrees are valuable for launching new careers in tech, real-world experience is vital for career growth. In Nigeria’s thriving tech industry, many talents kick-started their careers through internships, achieving remarkable feats and influencing the industry’s trajectory.
In this edition of Entering Tech, we explore the awe-inspiring success stories of Nigerian tech professionals who began their journeys as interns and have now achieved remarkable heights in their careers. Through their remarkable experiences, we have gained profound insights into the impact internships have on Nigeria’s tech industry, underscoring how these opportunities can turn ambitious dreams into reality.
How internships have helped techies
Unemployment poses a big challenge in Nigeria, as an estimated 1.8 million individuals join the job market annually, competing for a limited number of jobs. A report by Stears Insight highlights a concerning trend where uneducated Nigerians stand a higher chance of finding employment than their educated counterparts. With Nigerian universities churning out approximately 500,000 graduates each year, the demand for practical experience further complicates entry into the workforce.
However, amidst these challenges, opportunities abound for those who approach the job market strategically. Olabinjo Adeniran, a growth and product marketing professional, experienced his breakthrough in the tech industry during his first year at the University. This was made possible through a social media internship opportunity with Mark Essien, founder/CEO of Hotels.ng. Prior to this, Binjo managed a consumer tech blog’s social media for two years, gaining a substantial following. Impressed by his performance, Mark believed Binjo could replicate this success at Hotels.ng. According to Adeniran, he carefully prepared for the interview with Essien to maximise his chances of getting the job. “Prior to my interview with Mark, I conducted extensive research, arriving with well-prepared notes and ideas for their social media strategy,” he said.
Similarly, Jesimiel Williams, a multi-disciplinary designer, refused to be another unemployed Nigerian graduate. While in secondary school, he acquired basic programming skills from a website designer his mother worked with. Upon gaining admission into Covenant University to study Mass Communications, he secured an internship at Lara.ng, an AI tool designed for Lagosians to find the fastest way to reach their destinations. By the time he graduated, he had accumulated over three years of valuable work experience.
Ajiri Omafokpe, a senior product designer at Kora is another remarkable example of people who monetised their passion while in the University. Despite her initial doubts about turning her Power point design skills into a design career, an internship opportunity with a designer in her third year changed everything and led her to pursue design as a career.
Sometimes, all it takes is one internship
In June 2023, Nigeria was ranked first in the continent and second globally with the most hardworking workers. The average employee in Nigeria spends forty hours a week in a 9-5 job, and those in informal work settings may work up to fifty to sixty hours weekly. Despite these high numbers, a significant portion of the country’s population remains unemployed.
In April 2023, the unemployment rate reached 41%, intensifying the competition for limited job openings. In this tough environment, people embrace the survival-of-the-fittest mindset by refining their skills to stand out in the job market. Internships are instrumental in this pursuit, as they offer practical experience that enhances employability.
Engaging in an internship can lead to three potential outcomes: discovering a sense of fulfilment and choosing to pursue that career path, realising that a particular direction is not suitable for you, or finding a new passion. Regardless of the result, the experience provides clarity and insights that contribute to personal and professional growth.
During his internship at Lara.ng, Jesimiel had the opportunity to work on multiple projects, exploring different areas such as design, data, marketing, product management, and content writing. As he delved into these areas, he discovered that his true calling lay in design, creative writing, and marketing, skills that he now wields in a comprehensive role as the Creative Director at Stutern. Hecredits his internship at Lara.ng for shaping his career trajectory. He said, “In my first month, I was torn between screenwriting, digital art, merchandise, or animation. But starting at Lara made all the difference, helping me figure things out early on.”
Onyinye’s journey is similar. Her journey into tech began during her NYSC program in Nigeria. Through her neighbour’s referral, she secured an internship with Anakle Limited as a content writer. This experience not only deepened her understanding of digital marketing, but also ignited a passion for technology products. Upon completion of her internship, shebecame a digital content manager at a bank. Her expertise in working with diverse content at the bank led to her becoming a content marketing manager at Kippa in 2021 and within three months, she became a product marketing manager after pitching herself for the role. Now, Onyinyechi works as a skilled product marketing manager at Claid AI.
We’ll have to pause here with Onyinye so this edition doesn’t get too long. In the next, we’ll talk more about internships, what you can get from them and even the problems of internships today and how you can avoid them.
Attend The Web3 Lagos Conference
Web3 Lagos Conference is a 3-day physical and virtual event comprising of the hackathon, workshops, networking, career fair and panel sessions. The Conference will hold between August 31 and September 2, 2023, at The Zone, Gbagada, Lagos State.
The Web3Lagos conference is powered by Web3Bridge in Conjunction with Ayagigs.
Register for free at event.web3bridge.com
Ask a techie
Ask a question
Q. How do I connect with data professionals (data analysts to be precise) and have one on one conversations with them? I live in Lagos.
Attend DataFestAfrica and any other tech event.
It’s the best way to meet professionals in your field and connect with them. We spoke with the founders of DataFestAfrica in this edition, and their annual event is set to hold on October 13 and 14. Check here for more.
There’s also Moonshot by TechCabal which is scheduled for October 11 and 12. Both events are in Lagos so you’ll be sure to have face-to-face conversations with other data professionals.
Q. In applying for jobs as a social media manager, what qualities do I need to present?
If you’re applying for a job as a social media manager, it’s essential to demonstrate the following qualities:
Content Creation Skills which includes the ability to produce eye-catching, relevant, and engaging content for various platforms. This includes copywriting, graphic design, video production, etc.
You should also be familiar with the intricacies and algorithms of major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, etc. This also includes using tools and analytics to track performance metrics and adjust strategies for better engagement and results.
Strategic thinking is another skill to have—the ability to design and implement social media strategies that align with the company’s objectives.
More recently, community management has also been a critical requirement for social media managers. It is the ability to foster and manage online communities, responding to comments and direct messages in a brand-appropriate manner.
Remember, beyond these skills and qualities, it’s also vital to have a strong online presence of your own. Many employers will want to see how you manage your personal social media accounts as an indication of your expertise and style.
That’s all we can take this week. Have any questions about working in tech? Ask away and we’ll find answers for you.👇🏾
Tech trivia answers
It’s Google. The Google Summer of Code is a global, online program focused on bringing new contributors into open source software development
It’s Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple.
- Google is offering 2000 African Scholarships for a Career Certificate in Cybersecurity. In this certificate program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that can have you job-ready in less than 6 months, and gain hands-on experience with Python, Linux and SQL. Enrol here.
- Visa has opened applications for its Africa Fintech Accelerator Program. Startups up to the Series A stage are encouraged to apply for a chance to gain unparalleled expertise, valuable industry connections, cutting-edge technology, and potential investment funding. Apply by August 25.
- Women Who Build Africa (WWBA), a vibrant community that caters to the needs and growth of women in technology across the African continent, has put out an open invitation for female founders, investors, and ecosystem partners to participate in their inaugural annual assembly. The initiative comes with the promise of an all-expense-paid trip to Nairobi for ten selected founders. Apply by August 14.
- If you are between 18 and 35 years old, apply for a spot at the 2023 Landscape Leadership Workshop ($2,000 grant available), and embark on a transformative journey toward landscape leadership. Apply by August 10.
There are more jobs on TechCabal’s job board.
Disclaimer: TechCabal is not affiliated with or associated with jobs and opportunities listed on all its job boards and newsletters. All applicants bear the responsibility of researching about the roles and companies they apply to.
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