We Mustn’t All Be Programmers

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.

There is more to IT than Programming. Source: TechSansar.com

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.

Me at my first programming job #Throwback

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 πŸ€“πŸ€“πŸ€“

Your career should be finding a fine balance between what you are good at, what you love doing and what you can paid to do.

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.

Information Technology is NOT limited to programming. Source: giteshtrivedi.com

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 πŸ˜‚

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 πŸ˜‚

Thank you for sticking with me during this long read! Love you guys!

Thanks for reading. I would love to know your thoughts. Please share them with me in the comment boxes.

Cheers! πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

Feature Image Source: Google

 

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36 thoughts on “We Mustn’t All Be Programmers

  1. We mustn’t all be programmers. True! For me it’s the other way around.

    I started off as IT support and mehn was I bored, I even wrote certification exams that was/is above my level to kill boredom, I passed all 😎 and was still insanely bored. So, I have decided to switch to development(programming) to see if the acclaimed “ever learning” field will excite me. I will let you know how that goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are like me too!
      It’s the boredom and monotony of doing one thing that I dread the most. So yes by all means explore and explore. Though, I can’t promise you that programming doesn’t get monotonous at some point especially if in a routine system – I still think you should explore. And yes, I would love that you keep me posted.
      You can follow me on my social media platforms. I’ll follow back too so we stay in touch.
      I wish you all the best. And thank you for sharing this πŸ’œ

      Like

  2. Being good at multiple things could be problematic, especially when you start making decisions that have far reaching consequences. And the challenge of choosing which endeavour to commit time and resources to can be daunting. Sometimes, you find all options before you come easy to you; so what do you do? I believe that to whom much is given, much is expected. Personally, I ranked my abilities and interests and settled for the top three. As time goes on, I believe that opportunities to express other ‘giftings’ will come.

    And yes, there was a time I believed that learning how to code was my calling, due to the perceived glamour of popular programmers on social media. I have grown past that now with the reality that each individual must chart his/her own course, regardless of the rave of the moment.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks Ozi. You hit the nail on the head. I had this mindset in school and I struggled through out. I use to be the best in art but seeing my self in university struggling was funny and frustrating because programming wasn’t my strength. Then I went back to art… I started designing and it is the best decision I have ever made in my life😊. Perfect balance between tech and design (product designer).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I was reading this the entire time and feeling like I was reading about myself, except that I didn’t get the proper career guidance I needed early enough… and even as I’ve chosen now to pursue a career in tech, I’ve been so confused and worried about what part of the tech world I’d fit perfectly into. With all the noise going on about programming, its easy to think that programmers are the most successful professionals in the world of IT. I’m so happy you wrote this… my fear has been dispelledπŸ˜‚.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Yeipyeng!

      Don’t be confused dear. Take your time. Time would reveal where you ought to be. In fact, I can across a piece yesterday by TechCabal. I thought of you immediately.
      https://techwomenlagos.com/ – that’s the site of tech women in Nigeria making it. Not all of the programmers. In fact you can count the number of programmers. Tech is big and I’m absolutely sure there’s space for you.

      Thank you for sharing dear. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for this. This is almost my life. I started to worry about not snjoy programming after studying Computer Science. I found something I’m happy to pursue. Bless your mom. Bless you too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen!
      Bless you too Jordan! Thanks a lot.

      I am sure glad you found something you’re happy to pursue.
      This is the first time I’m reading a comment from you. Welcome to my blog πŸ™‚
      I do hope to see you around here often too.

      Cheers! πŸ™‚

      Like

  5. You know you write well Ozi.

    You’re blessed to have your mum guide you through that path. Mine was not the same. I always knew i could be anything i wanted to be since i was 14 but never learnt how and when to use this knowledge and not use it. It affected my choice of course but i never regretted it.

    I love technology and i am yet to figure out what to do with that love.

    I sure will read this article again when next i am at a fix about technology.

    My regards to Yeside (I hope my name checks with her somehow).

    Thank you for writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awwww. Thank you Ayo!

      I look forward to seeing what you’ll make out of your love for tech.
      I don’t know Yeside in real life o. I just really like and follow her work.
      You can connect me to her if you know her so I can famz.

      Thank you for reading, Ayo πŸ™‚

      Like

  6. Smiles…I was in your shoes too. Dad wanted us all to be science students. While we all did and passed, my sister ended up with fashion designing, my brother stayed true to Electrical Engineering (his dream from the onset), I delved into photography & it’s been two years plus now. And while I look forward to owning my camera and going big, Dad still thinks it’s to pass time until I get a “government job”
    I absolutely agree with you…I studied Computer Science too and at a point programming was it for me. But then, twas only a phase.
    Thanks for this; many more need to see it.
    PS: Saw this link in my department’s whatsapp group

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whao Eze. This is really interesting.

      I think many African parents are fond of this but that’s only because that’s the best they know. They do it because they think it’s the best option for us.
      I am glad you are could pursue your passion and I hope & pray all you need for your photography to be as you want it would be granted you.

      Your department WhatsApp link??? Oh my goodness! This is huge for me honestly. Thank you again, Eze πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. Beautifully written Ozioma. Glad you’re loving what you do and doing what you love.

    Though I’m not on the tech scene at the moment, your points are valid. I hope we all take time to think through our decisions and have to courage to do the best thing for the time.

    I did a lot of thinking about the confusion that can accompany career choices last year and recently again. I’m learning to breathe, think and be courageous to take a chance but still doing my best with what’s available presently.

    Glad to know God takes cares of His own so we are good hands and guidance is available for us.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Glad to know God takes cares of His own so we are good hands and guidance is available for us.” – This is super comforting honestly amidst all these uncertainties.

    Thank you for sharing this Oyinkan πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m in a fix, Ozioma; I can so much relate to your experience. I poured my heart out to my friend, and after she did her best to encourage me, she referred me to this post. I feel much better after reading this. I have a sense of direction now. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

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