In recent times, particularly in Nigeria, there is such a huge drive towards programming. While it is good that we are getting more technology inclined, I think justice isn’t being done to IT as a whole. Everyone is talking about programming but programming isn’t all there is. There is IT Support, Data Analysis, Network Engineering, Product Management & Design, Graphics Design. Content Development & Social Media, UI/UX Design, Security Analysts, Consultants and others.
In this post, I’ll share my short journey into IT and my thoughts on the above subject.
I was an excellent kid. On the terms I didn’t do so well in my primary school, I bordered between 2nd and 3rd. Either of which meant limited play during the holiday as I always felt or was always reminded that I could have done better.
When I got to senior secondary school and it was time for me to choose between: Arts, Commerce and Sciences, I didn’t think about it. It was almost automatic in those days that the smartest ones go for sciences. Like I said it wasn’t something I thought about and as I went along, I realized I didn’t quite like Biology and even Physics. But it was expected that a science student be good in these ‘sciency’ subjects so I really struggled in Biology. For Physics, I think I was just naturally inclined for it because even though I didn’t enjoy it, I didn’t have to do so much to ace. My favorite subjects were Math, Further Math (And any other Math there was), English, Chemistry and Economics.
Anyways, it was time for me to go to the University and as it was/is for all-rounders or almost all-rounders like myself, it was a huge struggle. I opted for Medicine & Surgery because again, I wasn’t going to waste my smart head by doing something ‘lesser’
Eventually, I had filled my admission form with Medicine & Surgery and had almost submitted it when my mom ordered me to get out all my report cards from SS1. When I did, she said to me how she didn’t want it to look like she was trying to decide for me but she thought to show me something. She then pointed to my attention how that I had always barely escaped in Biology and how I did so much better in Math, IT, English and Physics.
Then she asked me a question that stuck:
Why would you choose to struggle?
Why not do one of the things you’re good at?
I finally settled for Computer Science. As I went on, I realized my strengths and weaknesses. No doubt, I love the idea of computers and implementing technologies to make lives better. The bottom line honestly is I do not like stress so every opportunity to make something better excites me. Information Technology was all this for me and more so I was enjoying it.
From the start, I don’t think I was as passionate so I didn’t put in as much work and obviously I wasn’t as good. Catching up then became daunting. This affected me. I felt like “second good”. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was just the next best. I thought that the best in this IT thing were my classmates who didn’t have to struggle with their assignments for weeks like I did. I resigned to fate – this IT thing isn’t my calling.
In my penultimate year, I signed up for a certain elective. People weren’t interested even from the sets before me. It was always a low turn out and sometimes no one took it. I spoke with my classmates and no one was interested save one. I and the young man agreed and informed the lecturer. The day we were set to start the lectures, I went to meet my classmate and he said he changed his mind, his GPA was at stake. Now, I was truly afraid to go on all alone.
It was a course on simulation and modelling. He taught me to think analytically. He taught me to code neatly and in a smart way. He taught me to study long and work hard. The classes were like review sessions as he would ask me to read the chapters we were to cover in the next class. He read his also and so the classes were brain storming sessions literally. I didn’t even know how to sustain my attention beyond an hour before then. He taught me to push myself to whatever goal I set.
At the end of the day, I had a good grasp on the basic principles of coding and I was convinced that I could work my way through any framework or syntax I meet in future. I did earn an A in that course.
He worked with me also on my final year project and I was so proud of myself the day I defended my project and super grateful to him. Even after school finished, I stayed back and we were working on some research and were planning a paper.
Then a job found me, (I honestly don’t know how I got it. I was told later that one of my lecturers recommended me) When I broke the news to my supervisor, he sighed and then smiled. He said he knew our work wouldn’t go on as we had it before but as he couldn’t pay me what the job would, he advised me to go for the job and then create time during the weekends so we could wrap up the paper. Unfortunately, I couldn’t follow through with the later part of this.
I started the job. It was enterprise programming and unlike my supervisor, it wasn’t quite an enabling environment for me. So I was pushing myself extra hard and yet programming didn’t come as easy to me as it did others. One day, I had a chat with my then employers and when it was over, I packed my laptop and went home. Two days after, I started writing for a media house. I hadn’t spent up to two weeks when my boss announced that one of my articles was doing so well – it was the one with the highest engagement that week and it was so for a while. Once again, I felt like ‘the best’. Because I was doing something I was really passionate about, it came quite easily to me.
After this move, I had to tell myself the truth. I didn’t enjoy Enterprise programming and web design as much as I enjoyed content development and research. And again, my mom’s words came to mind.
Your career shouldn’t be about you trying to prove a point or please anyone – it should be about you finding a fine balance between what you are good at, what you love doing and what you can paid to do because money is needed in this life 🤓🤓🤓
In my short career, I have gone from content creating to social media/digital marketing to IT Support and now I am a technology consultant. I love my current role because it gives me a blend of technology and business. The variety of projects I work on helps me that I am not bored or tired and I do plan to be here for a while. I may still delve into research and programming again. In fact, recently, I spent some weeks working on a RPA module with C# (BluePrism) and I loved it.
The summary of this my long story is that we mustn’t all be programmers. It is absolutely untrue that programmers are the smartest, the most hardworkig or the best paid. That you are not a programmer doesn’t make you less of a professional and it absolutely doesn’t mean you can’t earn well in life.
So do not pressure yourself to be a programmer if you think you can do better in something else. While it is important to understand the basics of programming to run most IT Careers, it is very important to note that there are options.
It may interest you to know that I also recently started dressmaking and my dream life (somewhere in my head) is to be a successful author and own a beautiful house (where I write from) in Santorini, Greece 😂
Conclusively, I would say everyone should do what they know how to do best. It is like parts of a body, everyone has got a role to play – an important role at that. Do not box yourself and do not think less of yourself because you are not a programmer. This isn’t me trying to degrade programming in anyway. I mean, software development is so important.
However, I would no more urge everyone in IT to be programmers than I would urge every doctor to be a pediatrician. We mustn’t all be programmers but we can all have fulfilling careers even within IT.
This post was inspired by Yeside Garrick when she wrote on how some women thriving in the tech industry started out with no programming background. When I read it, I was like, Yes! Somebody finally said this 😂
Thanks for reading. I would love to know your thoughts. Please share them with me in the comment boxes.
Feature Image Source: Google