How I Got Here and What Keeps Me Going

How I Got Here and What Keeps Me Going

I'm proud of my roots, my struggles and everything that's made me who I am today.

Some of what you'll read here I've never shared publicly, but that's okay.

Here’s my story.

I come from a humble background.

My family isn’t poor, but that was not always the case. At the time, It’s safe to say I was born to poor parents.

As a scrawny kid, I was lucky not to get bullied as much, but I had other problems.

My teachers had me skipped grades, so I flew through primary school (elementary school). By the time I was in secondary school (college), I was so young. At least 2 years younger than the youngest kid in every class I was in.

I struggled with an inferiority complex. Many times I thought I wasn’t taken seriously because I was the young, inexperienced kid. What could I know!

To be fair, there’s a big chance this was all in my head.

I dreaded the question,

“How old are you?

But I found solace in reading. I read so many books. At the time, I read because I loved it.

In retrospect, It was a safe place, one where I felt my mind and intellect grow and perhaps where I felt I could make up for the 'lack of experience'.

Thanks to a dad with a PhD in Psychology, there wasn’t a shortage of books in the house.

I loved his books. They explored how the mind works, peak performance, forming habits etc.

This was crucial to my formation as a young man.

I wanted to be great.

From the books, I knew there was so much more I could do. The human mind was limitless — so I believed.

And here comes the next difficult bit.

Coming from such a humble background, I needed (or wanted to have) a level playing field with the rest of the world. It was like being dealt a bad hand at a game of cards. Only this time, my life was the game.

Being an African kid, all I wanted was a levelled field where I would be judged skill for skill with the rest of the world. Leverage.

I might have been disadvantaged(or less privileged) in certain regards: perhaps exposure and opportunities, but I was a fairly intelligent kid, and knew I could amount to something given the right opportunities.

I studied civil engineering at university.

I started off being one of the best students on the faculty. I had the best grades in my department, for sure.

That was all I knew. Reading and passing exams.

After a while, I knew that wasn’t going to help me reach my eventual goal.

With civil engineering, I’d have to work for perhaps 10 years to be considered a professional. And how much of a levelled playing field would that be with the rest of the world?

I didn’t have that long to play at this catch-up game.

One day, my thoughts aligned with an opportunity.

My mentor, a civil engineer who had attended the Oxford University of London (my ideal dream path), introduced me to coding.

I found software engineering and started teaching myself to code.

This was it.

I felt in control of my destiny.

I could get excellent at this, and many opportunities will open up. I would be judged on my skill level. This was the levelled field I needed. And it wouldn’t take 10 years!

I tackled learning to code like I did everything else. Teach myself.

And here, I opened a world of new problems.

I was an introverted young man, had few friends, and couldn’t afford online courses or bootcamps.

I couldn’t tell my parents I was spending so much time learning to code instead of pursuing a first-class degree in the university.

It took me a long time to learn to code for so many reasons. I tried to do it all myself, and I did it. I downloaded free books and videos and studied for hours. Hitting my head against the wall many times.

Learning to code all by yourself is a lonely, difficult road. You probably know that if you've tried the same.

It took a long time. But eventually, I figured it out and, that made me so happy.

Years later, I now give back to the tech community.

Learning to code was so difficult for me, even as a fairly intelligent young man.

There are many limitations when you can’t even afford a decent online course.

This is why over the last 4 years, I’ve authored over 4 technical books. Mostly free. My blogs have garnered over 3 million views.

I write and teach, truly understanding what it means to be self-taught.

Little wonder I’ve had people shoot me emails and tweets saying my books and blogs have impacted them greatly. Some have got their dream jobs, others have sung high praise saying my reads are some of the best for them.

This makes my day.

I'm humble in all this, but definitely proud to have been able to help someone. I know how it feels to be there.

When I write, I do so for the 'younger me'. That kid who couldn’t afford a decent online course, and was trying to learn it all by himself.

Today, with Devcher, I’m hoping we can disrupt developer education completely. Starting with a community-driven mobile platform that feeds itself.

I hope you can join us on that mission.

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