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Village People Exist In Tech

Consonance Club Newsletter
Consonance Club Newsletter
I interviewed employee number 6 at Piggyvest and other interesting techies to share their views on an interesting topic.

Village People Exist In Tech
Hello guys. How are you doing? 
So a lot has happened between our last newsletter and now. 
Tech Twitter has been in a state of consistent violence. From #horriblebosses to any and everyone collecting vawulence anyhow, it’s been a wild ride. 💀
Anyway, we’re not discussing gist today. 
Though I must say that it was sweet to see a number of you tag me and let me know you were looking forward to seeing the newsletter cover the gbasgbos from Tech Cabal and Ebun Okubanjo the other day. 
But before we leave the discussion of violence, let me unleash my own for like 3 seconds.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Consonance press, it has been brought to my notice that there’s a huge percentage of you..eyin fans mi, that just read the newsletter when it drops on Twitter but you don’t subscribe. 
Me, I don’t like how you people are treating me in this relationship o. I wee leave you guys o. 😭
Subscribe here plisk, before we even do anything. 
On Today’s Edition of the Newsletter….
We’re gonna be talking about community. 
There’s been a lot of focus on communities and how important they are.
There are few tech events you attend these days where you won’t hear about the importance of communities. 
As someone who didn’t start her career in a community, I was curious about the impact of communities on the career trajectory of techies. 
Also, as someone who also knows that some techies are anti-social or won’t function well in communities, I wonder what this will mean for their career and what the actual benefits of communities are.
To help me in answering these questions, I have interviewed 3 techies with unique viewpoints on this topic. You should enjoy this because I did. 
Bukola Willoughby
Bukola.eth (@Bukolawilloby) | Twitter
Product Specialist and Customer Sucess Manager.
 Precious: Hi Bukola. Tell me how you entered the tech industry. 
Bukola: My story is the usual story of I finished school and all the Uncles that promised me work, failed. 
I started at Alat as a Branch Service Associate for a year and a half, then moved to fintech. 
Precious: What made you pivot?
Bukola: I had a colleague who stayed only 6 months before he left.
He was always impressed by my work and he sent me a job opening twice.
I didn’t bother till I saw it on Twitter again.
I applied and got an interview date. Odun actually sent me an employment letter before I  got home. 
Precious: Mad oh!
Bukola: The bank offered to up my salary from 68k to 150k. I was like, izz too late comrade
Precious: Interesting. Coming from the banking industry, how did you handle settling in at a startup?
Bukola: Banking is very structured compared with startups. I had to adjust to the lack of structure in startups and not always having to report to HR.
It was interesting that I  could walk up to Odun and Joshua, present a use case and we could literally start implementing it.  
I didn’t have the best onboarding process because there wasn’t a lot of documentation then. 
Then, I had to learn on the job. When you’re new, you’ll have that thing where you’ll be trying to make sure you were getting everything right. 
Precious: What were the things that helped?
Bukola: I used to be big on courses. At the end of the year, I used to have about 14 courses. 
Precious: Omooooo!
Bukola: 😂 😂 There were just 2 people in customer support. It was just the cofounder and 2 other people.
I was always like why is the owner picking up calls and responding to messages? But that also helped in how I approached work. 
I kept learning and trying stuff. 
I think having a great working environment greatly helped. The management in Piggyvest is one of the best. You were not allowed to fear failure. Just try and know you’ve given your best,
Precious: How was building your career without a mentor or a community?
Bukola: So, the thing is that it was my zeal that kept me going.
I had nothing to lose even if I failed. I didn’t even know anything about community then. 
My grandma would tell me that a startup was most likely to pack up soon and I didn’t care. The most important thing in building your career is building yourself and believing in yourself.
This community craze started last year. The early guys didn’t have that. Once you’re open to learning, put your head down to do the work, and you’ll go far. 
I mean, I had to Google a lot of tech terms and lingua but did I let it stop me? Nope. 
Precious: How do you think your career would be different if you were in a community when you started?
Bukola: I probably wouldn’t be in Piggyvest now.
In a community, there is the possibility to build something because there are like minds there.
On the other hand, the difference might not be that much because I have always had an accountability partner and I have monthly career goals. 
Whenever I feel like I’m not doing enough or have imposter syndrome, my friend lists three things I’ve done in that particular month and that ends it. 
Everyone needs validation, to be honest, but you can find that outside a community.
Precious: Does every techie need a community?
Bukola: Communities are great but not everyone needs a community.
They aren’t my kind of thing. I mean, I joined one recently but I don’t even talk there. 
I also don’t think people utilize communities well enough. It’s very easy to get lost in a community because at the end of the day people still cluster down. 
But there are opportunities you will get in a community and they are great for networking.
Precious: Let me throw you this final one. If there were two techies who have the same skill set and one had a community and one didn’t, who do you think would have the faster career trajectory or growth?
Bukola:  This is a bit tricky but I might lean more towards the person that has a community. 
It’s easier to do check-ins on someone in a community. 
For example, if I make a job tweet asking for recommendations for a role, people in your community will tag you under the post compared to a lone wolf who would be self-nominating. It’s a win for everybody. 
Shalom Izebhor
Product Manager, Product Designer, Creative Director at Mental Happy.
Precious: So fill me in.  How did you enter tech?
Shalom: It was through church. 
Precious: Wawu
Shalom: Some guys were teaching HTML, Javascript. I caught on madly. This was around  2015.
Then I enrolled in NIIT after secondary school. 
A couple of things they taught were backdated but I really liked it. 
I got into HNG internship, the first year they were using Figma. I dropped out in Stage 8 though. 
Precious: This your journey is special o. E be like structured wilderness.
Shalom: Anyway, because I was already familiar with HTML, I became a prostitute in tech. 
Precious: Tech bros are what? Tech bros are ashawo.😤 Please continue.
Shalom: So, I studied PHP, SQL, JSX, and Java. I was dabbling in a lot of things. 
The common factor in everything I did was that I was always particular about designs.
I also did the daily UI challenge for a while.
Then one day, a friend of mine told me to come along to a hackathon interview that he had. We were hired from the hackathon.
Precious: Interesting. So, you started your career with a community?
Shalom: Not exactly. I  barely made any friends in HNG and I was building in silos. 
Twitter helped me meet a number of people through Twitter bants, design posts, etc.
2018/2019 was hot for the Twitter design community. We were always posting and trying to connect. That season really helped me. 
The thing is that for most of those people we sorta grew apart. As I said, it’s not really my thing.
Precious: What do you think are the benefits of being in a community?
Shalom: It’s always best when you’re not just the only one criticizing your work. There were days when I’d wish I had access to some people’s Figma files and see how they implement stuff. 
You get a better perspective when you watch or learn from other people’s work. Some people have employed me simply through a community I was on.
There can also be disadvantages to communities. Sometimes I do things unconventionally, and not all designers want to go in that direction. 
Precious: If there were two designers with the same skill set and one belongs to a community while the other doesn’t, who do you think will have the faster career growth?
Shalom: I will probably sound like I’m countering myself right now but it takes a community to raise a designer. The person with a community would most likely run faster.
Samuel Adekunle
Program Manager, Global Communities at Turing.
Precious: So, tell me. How did you get into tech?
Samuel: I went to a journalism school after secondary school: NUJ. 
I started with WordPress and blogging. I freelanced till my 4th year in school.
Precious: Cool. So, how did you get started with communities?
Samuel: I started a WordPress community in OAU in 100 level. We weren’t a lot but it was a close community. It was from there that I met Tobi Olagoke.
Later on, I started Startup grind Ife and it gave me credibility. 
Then, I met Kelvin Umechukwu through a training we organized for students where we were charging 1k.
That’s  how we started working on projects, organized hackathons, conferences, raising funds to carry students from Ife to Lagos for conferences, and eventually doing Consonance Club together
Precious: How did you get into the Nigerian tech ecosystem?
Samuel: I volunteered and attended Oya Make We Groove in 2018. After the event, I reached out to OO and told him things that didn’t go right. 
He was impressed and that’s how I started working with him as his PA. 
Working with OO opened me up to the tech ecosystem. I had access to his contacts, planned his events, and many other things.
Precious: How did you get your first tech job?
Samuel: I’d been doing a lot, so my CV was full. I’d done Programme Management for OO and so many community management roles. 
A friend reached out with an opportunity and that was it.
Precious: Do you think having a community is important for starting or growing in tech?
Samuel: Growing in tech can be lonely. You don’t know who to talk to or who to reach out to. 
If you are in a community, you learn together with people.
An HNG internship is more than the internship, it’s more about the community. You work with people and you get to see their growth process.
When you do stuff, your community sees it first. They see what you’re capable of and they will send you opportunities when they see them.
I don’t know another alternative to having a community. 
Precious: Do you know any disbenefits of being in a community?
Samuel: Some people have social anxiety issues. Some people’s learning phase is very slow. If they learn too fast it can break them down. Information overload is also another problem.
Also, some communities remove people. We did it at Startup Grind because some people are dormant. You need to find a community that grows with your pace.
If you are in a community you should lead conversations and engage with people. If people ask questions answer them. OVERCOMMUNICATE. 
Precious: If there were two techies with the same skill set. One with a community and the other without, who do you think will have the faster career growth? 
Samuel: I don’t know. I don’t like answering questions like this. What if the person that doesn’t have a community has a brother guiding him?
Precious: True. Thanks for your time, Sam.
And to you hawa viewer at home, thank you for sticking with us on this ero asoromagbesi: Consonance Club newsletter. Till I see you in another newsletter, please do what works for you in this tech industry. We’re All Gonna Make It laslas. 🚀
Opportunities
With love and a little tiredness,
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