How I Got Frontend Internship After Techcreek

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Safe to say that I didn’t expect this to go the way it did. 2020 started off for me as a promising year. I didn’t expect it to be the year COVID-19 rocked my boat, nevertheless, it did and I had to realign some of my plans or rather make new plans. My school shut down in March due to COVID-19 and I packed my bag and went home till further notice. With so much time on my hands, I began to think of what I’m going to do with it.

Wasting The Year

Being a member of an organization like AIESEC meant I had responsibilities to the organization and had to ensure I still contributed my quota to its growth. In April, I got sucked into the online course bandwagon. I signed up for God knows how many courses by the end of April. By the middle of May, I started re-evaluating what I was doing and If I was actually going to waste my year doing what everyone else was doing. Luckily for me, I got selected for the African Changemakers Initiative Mentorship program at the end of May, and from that moment on all the decisions I made were strategic.

Choosing Techcreek

Towards the tail end of July 2020, I started looking for where I could learn software development especially as I had identified a path I wanted to take after securing a scholarship to Treford’s product management training. I realized that I wanted to take the unconventional path to where I was headed in my chosen career.

My search for a tech hub close to my home in Port Harcourt got me into an estate where I got lost thanks to Google Maps and the fact that the said technology hub moved and didn’t update its address on Google Map. My search took me to a tech hub in Rumuodara where I thought I had finally found what I was looking for but ultimately things didn’t work out because a few things were not aligned in the interests of the parties involved.

So I turned my attention to the Rivers State ICT Department(Techcreek). I initially didn’t go to Techcreek to attend a Bootcamp, I went there in search of a co-work space with access to constant power and internet access where I could work on the courses I already had on my laptop at the time and learn on my own. On getting to the venue and making inquiries I discovered I had a better option but it would be a risk.

Remember I told you my school got shut down and we were asked to go home? Yeah so it turns out during the COVID-19 lockdown, ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) the governing body of the academic staff in Nigerian Universities went on strike (I don’t even want to talk about this).

Choosing to pay for the Bootcamp with the possibility of school resumption hanging over my head was the biggest obstacle at the time because it meant it would be money wasted. Ultimately I decided that it would hurt me more if I didn’t attend the Bootcamp for fear of the unknown so I signed up for the web development track of the training, paid, and started my training.

The Codegaminator Bootcamp

I have to say, the Techcreek Codegaminator Bootcamp wasn’t what I expected at the beginning but then again I had never attended a Bootcamp before. Having a personal laptop meant I was fairly comfortable with using a computer but I kept forgetting not everyone was in the same situation. So when I found out that the curriculum would take me back to the very beginning of computer appreciation, I wasn’t really ecstatic about it.

I wouldn’t have admitted this at the time but I’m glad they did take us back because not only did I learn some new things I didn’t know before, I kind of had to refresh myself on some basic Microsoft programs I had forgotten how to use. The week after we got tested for the computer section of the course we finally got to meet our instructor Mr. Philip Obiorah who is one of the most patient instructors I had ever come across, he took us through the basics of HTML, and because I was kind of already familiar with HTML, I ended up assisting others who were just seeing HTML for the first get a better grasp of it. It was here that I met one crazy girl who has become a really close friend and a permanent fixture in my life – Chiamaka Nwabuzor (and hopefully for much longer).

Anyways, moving on, after HTML we were to move on to CSS but this was where something happened – we got informed that we would be getting a new instructor for the remainder of the training. Of course, no one liked the idea of a new instructor because we were already comfortable with Mr. Philip but we didn’t really have a say in the matter (death to democracy!! huh?). So the upper week we got to meet our new instructor – Mr. Peter Akaliro for our first class where he introduced how to use CSS helper classes in our first class. To say I wasn’t confused on that day was an understatement, I was lost, lol. In a class of 35+ I don’t think there was anyone who understood anything on that first day he taught us because of a few reasons;

  • He was fast
  • He assumed we understood some basic concepts of HTML and CSS
  • He assumed all of us knew how to create a folder on a computer (I guess he found out different, lol)

My strategy that day was to just pay attention, listen and look at what he was doing even if he was basically speaking Spanish to me that day(I don't speak Spanish by the way if case you're wondering). The following weeks were better as he got to understand we were not as good as he thought and he had to adapt his teaching style. I think I ended up understanding CSS helper classes better after we got to the Bootstrap section of the training. We spent the next month learning CSS, Bootstrap, SASS, and lots more. I think the best part of the CSS section of the training was the day he introduced media queries. It was a eureka moment for me.

To see how media queries allowed you to style the display on different devices from one code base blew my mind.

Ultimately we moved on to learn Javascript, PHP, and MySQL but in all honesty, I didn’t really pay attention to the PHP and MySQL section of the class because I already identified I would focus on Frontend Development first before thinking about any backend technology at all.

Three weeks to the end of the training, we were split into groups for our final project. I learned something here as well. I realized that I am not a patient person when things aren’t going the way I want or when people are doing what I expect of them. So I ended up getting scolded by the instructor for not acting as a leader to my teammates. Ultimately I got my s**t together and worked with my team and we ended up working on the Kigoma Hotel project together.

Demo Day

We had our demo in the final week of the Bootcamp in December after which I and my team presented the project we worked on and the technology stacks we used for the project. We fielded questions from the judges and after that, we were home free! At least so we thought.

Let me explain. You see the Techcreek Bootcamp is different from regular Bootcamp in the sense that in order for you to complete the training and get certified you had to get an internship at a company for a minimum 3 months to practice what you have learned and use them to solve real-world problems for the company that hired you. We were told at the beginning of the training but sometimes it’s hard to remember things like this when you are working on trying to pass the training exam and work on the team project. So how was I going to secure an internship in a competitive industry like software development?

Hello LinkedIn!!!

Enter LinkedIn. You see before the Bootcamp, I had a little bit of experience with social media management and that gave me some experience with using social media to get what I wanted. I got on LinkedIn and because I had been networking on the platform on and off, I remembered I came across a post by someone I looked up to Mr. Maple Dappa. In that post he made mention of a software company in Port Harcourt called ClaryLife Global who provide web development and branding solutions to businesses.

After visiting the company website, checking out some of their client projects, I decided to reach out to someone at the company even though there was no opening for an internship. I sent a direct message to the founder on LinkedIn, made my pitch, sent him my final project work and Github profile.

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He didn’t respond immediately. When he later did, he gave his digits and asked me to text him on WhatsApp.

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After a few conversations, phone calls, and a physical meeting, I got an offer letter in January of 2021 to join the company as a Frontend Developer Intern.

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Conclusion

Like I said at the beginning I didn’t see this being the way 2020 would end plus I didn’t really think I would get an internship less than 6 months after going fully into the space.

I’m big on sharing my experiences and even though I was skeptical at first about sharing this particular experience, I’m glad I did because I took a risk in signing up when there was a possibility the money would have been a waste. I also got to network with people and made a few friends along the way. People like Caleb, Miebaka,Chiamaka, Mr. Peter, Anita, Douglas, Funke and many more. I wouldn’t trade the last few months of my life for anything.

So if you have something you want to do but you’re scared of the risk involved, all I’m going to say is

"The regret of not doing it will eat you up more. Just do it! "

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