My Name is Victor Nwakwue, I am a Front-End web Developer.
After graduating in 2014 with Bachelor's Degree ( Second Class Honors) in Chemistry, I spent the last Two years working as a Front-end web developer and as part of a team with Venki Systems. I acquired project and time management skills, as
well as the ability to communicate with team members and clients while effectively meeting milestones and deadlines.
After completing my undergraduate program in 2014, it became so frustrating and difficult to secure a job. There was this impression of getting a job once you have a B.Sc degree cert and place yourself in a stable career
that will afford you luxuries of having a complete personality and living healthily (mentally, emotionally, and physically), but that became a figment of our imagination. As months pass by, I didn't know what else to do with myself. I
struggled with depression, anxiety, paranoia and self doubt about my chances to consistently exponentiate my intellectualism and my overall goal in Life.
To clarify, I didn’t hate chemistry. I loved it. Learning chemistry theories and figuring out equations, although frustratingly difficult, were fun for me. It felt natural being in a research lab with fume hoods whirring
and surrounded by chemicals. Chemistry wasn’t the most glamorous or popular major, but I enjoyed it. Not all career changes are made based off hatred or lack of interest for an industry.
“Chemistry and I had tons of chemistry, but an element was missing” ~ Victor Nwakwue
Not all career changes are made based off hatred or lack of interest for an industry.
Chemistry was a Dead End (to me).
I realized that I can only do so much with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Most chemists end up in an entry-level quality analysis/quality control job. These jobs often involve a lot of manual, repetitive work. Some end
up going into industrial chemistry and running large-scale reactions. You know the shampoo you use? Yeah, that was most likely synthesized in a huge batch, in a big metal container.
But I realized wouldn’t have much opportunity to advance to bigger things with just a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. It also doesn’t help that chemistry jobs are slowly fading away.
In the most recent Nigerian Chemical Society survey of new graduates in chemistry and related fields, in 2015, 54% of recent bachelor’s degree recipients reported that they didn’t have a job but were seeking one. In
contrast, 29% of new Ph.D. grads said they were seeking employment in 2016, up from 10% in 2015.
The frustration was mounting up, then I was forced myself to answer these following questions:
What are your career plans? Do you think you’ll be doing anything with your degree? If you’ve already started your career, is your job relevant to your degree? If it is, do you want to continue down that path?
In 2016, I made the decision to ditch my chemistry degree and pursue a career in ICT ( Information and Communication Technology).
I took a long term approach to the decision and, although I admit I had my doubts, I never regretted the decision.
The transition was terrifying to say the least. But It was up to me to see the decision through and believe in myself.
There was a foreshadowing moment when I had reached out to someone I knew. He had a bachelor's degree in Botany but saw himself getting into Android development. His ultimate goals were accomplished and upon completing his
Online web and software development, he acquired an Android developer position in a Tech Company. He was now living out his dreams without needing a computer science degree to do it.
“Stop Wondering If It Works.. It Does. You Just Need To Try” ~ Victor Nwakwue
I was fascinated by this. He now became my Mentor, he taught me basic HTML codes and provided resources for further learning. It was encouraging to me as a person who had no degree in computer science. I enjoyed teaching
myself-it became a habit!-so I wondered what the process would be like teaching myself how to make websites and programs.
1.) W3Schools.com & FreeCodeCamp.org
If you have zero coding skills, W3Schools and FreeCodeCamp are websites you may want to stop by. They host great introductory courses that provide sufficient ( high-level ) context to the profession and gets you
comfortable with how it feels to code basic things. It was suggested that I started here. So I enrolled in the HTML & CSS courses and immediately became hooked.
FreeCodeCamp offers coding challenge opportunities and proceed to combine skills and build upon problematic abstractions for more practice and skill-exercising. I'll recommend FreeCodeCamp for people who would like a
timeline-organzied, that gradually increases in complexity and difficulty as sections are completed. I worked through FreeCodeCamp for a total of 11 hours everyday.
2.) Venki systems gave me an Opportunity
I got employed in Venki systems as a social media personnel, which strengthened my verbal communication skills and allowed me to develop my creativity, as I was in charge of attracting website traffic using Paid Ads,
Social Media marketing, Email Marketing and converting the website visitors into customers. I was also given the opportunity to work with developers. I learned how to maneuver through coding challenges that were indicative of real-world
3.) Attending Meet-up Events in the Area
I moved to Lagos to enhance my IT skills and get more exposed in ICT. I learned about meet-ups and the positive impact it could have in someone's Career. Joining meet-up groups and attending meet-ups in Lagos allowed me to
network with the growing Tech Hub in Lagos. Having these conversations about Tech with people in the field helped me gain more knowledge about opportunities for work, organizations to volunteer for, and tech or social events to attend that
would be fulfilling. One opportunity always leads to the next via networking.
4.) Pushing Coding projects to GitHub
Coding is cool, but do you want to know what's even better? When you can showcase that code regardless of its complexity. It's about being proud of your exploration. It is about interacting with deeper layers of the
programmer lifestyle: documenting the work you've done and making it public information, in the same way that you would utilized social networking platforms for your personal endeavours. Potential employers gets to view your consistency,
versatility and level of progression in the field. This may be a great indicator for how they see you being a great fit for their terms.
Clearly I was inspired, both externally and organically. Web development captivated me and stool large portion of my attention. Well, this is only the beginning.
Sometimes we don't realized how far we have come until we take a moment to pause, step outside ourselves and take the route and progress.
It feels like there is an overwhelming amount of information to still as a developer. The process of learning never leaves the atmosphere of a developer's environment. Instead of utilizing that standard as a reason to worry about not becoming
an expert in tech field, I'm using it as a tool-an opportunity to acquire as much knowledge as I'll like to and accept challenges when they approach me. There is always a lesson in challenge.
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