– Rejoice Aikohi –
Growth and Project Officer at the Aspilos Foundation
Growing up without an interest in science, it was a bit strange that I always ended up doing science- related things. I was the average student that managed to make an impression on the people I came across. I got into Senior Secondary school early, and my issues in accounting class drove me to the science field. After going through a period of failure, I scaled through secondary school with my self-esteem and self-confidence greatly affected by my experience failing. I searched within myself to find my strengths and focus on them. I discovered that I was good at business and organization/management so I decided to study Management Information Systems for my first degree with a firm decision to focus on management.
If you cannot fly, then run. If you cannot run, then walk. If you cannot walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, keep moving.
I discovered the course was very vast and I had my first encounter with the tech world while studying. I still did not feel like I was any good as I was not doing so well in my assessments. I graduated with the basic knowledge of programming and an almost empty future in programming. I applied for jobs in Human Resource and Management and eventually got a job at Aspilos Foundation, a non-governmental not for profit organization that trains young women on digital literacy, and I attended the Visiola Foundation’s Coding Boot Camp to be trained before commencing work. At this boot camp, I had a change of mind set and it became clear to me that the digital world is for anyone (male or female) that sets their hearts out to learn and keeps pushing to achieve more.
At various times during and after this training program, I was faced with various challenges (bugs being impossible to detect in my code, not being good in a particular field like graphic design or java script, etc.). Through these challenges, I had the words from one of our many pow wow sessions by Mrs Lade Araba, co-founder Visiola Foundation, constantly resounding in my mind: “If you cannot fly, then run. If you cannot run, then walk. If you cannot walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, keep moving.” These words have served as motivation and encouragement for me at several points in my life when I almost gave up or felt like I was not good enough. When I come in contact with people, it helps me recognize the different assimilation and learning rates and distinguish between those that are flying, running, walking and crawling. I learned to encourage each person at each stage to keep moving.
Furthermore, a facilitator at the Visiola Coding Boot Camp, Ms Wura Kolade usually said, “You have two ‘Gs’, God and google.” I have found this to be very true and helpful and I have edited this statement to the following: “You have two ‘Gs’ and a ‘P’, God, google and people. The tech journey has taught me that I cannot do everything on my own, I’ll always need people and people are willing to help. There will always be someone in the many tech groups, forums, friends, colleagues and family that can help or refer you to someone to help. It is okay to ask for help and work with other people. Thus, when I am faced with seemingly impossible challenges, I pray, research and ask.
To all those looking to join the tech world, do not be discouraged by the stories you hear about sleepless nights. Be bold, be confident in yourself, your skills and abilities and keep learning! Evolve! If you do something once, it becomes easier to do it again. Do not get comfortable in mediocrity. Always look forward to learning and doing more.