Toby and Nikema talk about Toby’s work in open source and how to put yourself out there as a newbie software developer in Nigeria.
Find Toby on Twitter: https://twitter.com/toby_solutions
Check out his LinkFree page: https://linkfree.eddiehub.io/tobySolutions
— Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/popschools/message
[00:00:00] Nikema Prophet: Hello, my name is Nikema Prophet. I am the host of the Our Voices podcast, and I’m here today with Toby.
Toby is our second ever guest on the podcast. And he’s here to talk about putting yourself out there as a newbie in tech in Nigeria, I think. But I will let him get into the details of this story. But first, would you like to introduce yourself, Toby?
[00:00:27] Tobiloba Adedeji: Yeah, definitely. For sure. Hello listeners and hello Nikema. Yeah, I’m Tobiloba and I’m a software engineer and yeah, open source maintainer and accessibility advocate. I started my tech journey as a last year, which was on March, 2022. I went to Bootcamp. Bootcamp and yeah, that was basically my journey into tech.
And yeah, this March would make it pretty much one year. That I’ve been in tech
[00:00:57] Nikema Prophet: congratulations one year. So do you wanna jump right in and then start? So the basic idea behind the podcast was, I want people to come in from the community and tell me stories. When I say, tell me a story, I mean tell me about yourself or tell me what you’re working on or tell me.
It could be anything. I just wanted to have some longer conversations with people from the tech community, especially folks that I met on Twitter and Twitter spaces. I have some idea of what you’re gonna talk about, but if you’re ready you can go right into that.
[00:01:40] Tobiloba Adedeji: Yeah, definitely.
Yeah, so I basically want to talk about yeah putting yourself out there and getting to to like how learning in public can basically help you as a the beginner in the Nigerian tech space. So the Nigerian tech space is basically I mean it’s very different here as compared to places like maybe in the US or the UK.
Cause in Nigeria we have a lot of factors, basically. I’m currently a second year student in my, in the University of Lagos. I study computer science. Yeah, and getting into tech, even though I was a computer science student, wasn’t so straightforward for me. Cause I had to I had to deal with stuff like the conditions here cause the electricity here is not stable.
We don’t like, data is at the higher on the, side like getting internet is on the higher side, and those are things you have to struggle with. But me as a per, I as a person, one of the things that made me lucky was I had people, so I had my parents and stuff like that, that help me basically sponsor things like this pay for them, which is which is something that everyone doesn’t have access to.
Yeah, so getting started in tech and like me learning in public how that did help me. So I came onto Twitter around like July, 2022. So that was when, actually June, July, that was when I became very active after my three months bootcamp. I was like, okay, yeah, let me check out what the landscape is here.
Cause I saw my friend that was using LinkedIn for like his hundred days of code. Okay, lemme check out Twitter and see what it’s like. So I started using Twitter to log my hundred days of code and basically log my progress. So I already knew React then. So I was like of course in the bootcamp we’re taught React and we build projects.
So I already knew, like I already had some experience working with this stuff. I wasn’t a complete beginner, but I still did the hundreds of code just to basically challenge myself and put myself out there. So I was doing that. I was joining Twitter spaces, networking online looking for that was when I found you, Shawn,
like amazing people like that from Shawn’s spaces basically. Yeah, so then I started using those platforms like network with people, and then I found several other communities online, like Eddie Hub, Francisco’s community. And I joined community that became very active on there, and yeah, deep, really cool stuff.
So all these things are like, because people who see me now are like, are most Nigerians that I’ve met I’m on campus, a lot of people recognize, I be like, oh, is that Tobi? Yeah, nice to meet you. Nice to meet you. But I actually did all these things in the background before I even became, came to all these before I got all of this becoming popular to some extent, it wasn’t really wasn’t really something that came overnight, was something I actually did intentionally.
So I put myself out there intentionally. I didn’t, I wasn’t like okay, I’m not chasing the the the popularity or anything. So I was actually looking to connect with people with as much people I could connect with. So yeah, that was the idea for me. So I get some opportunities now based on the fact that I know some people that know other people and stuff like that.
So things coming from to me as in some ways, cause I know some people and they can bend the rules from, on my behalf Yeah. So as a, as an Nigerian techie, I would always advise that when starting out don’t just learn in your room and and shut yourself out even if all the odds are against you.
Try to put yourself out there and be like, okay, network with people, join spaces, reach out to people on Twitter, go to LinkedIn net- connect. So yeah that’s my idea. And yeah, I found open source, which was really massive in my journey. And yeah, I will maintain open source projects now yeah.
So it’s really a great thing. Yeah.
[00:05:44] Nikema Prophet: You gave me some, I have some questions now. So when you say it was intentional for you to put yourself out there, like before, like the popularity came, like you were doing things first I wanna ask, like in your personality, does that come naturally to you or is it something that’s a challenge to put yourself out there and meet new people?
[00:06:07] Tobiloba Adedeji: Yeah I tell people this a lot, but naturally I am an introvert. I, most people probably don’t know this cause they see me online a lot like tweeting on conventional and joining live stream. I actually, I am an introvert, so what makes my kind of introvert difference is that because I used to do business with my dad a lot, so like way before I even started like tech full time.
So I used to do business with my dad. He used to do some importation stuff. So I was the one that would help him go online on these platforms, reach out to Chinese people, because we work with Chinese people. So I would reach out to them, like text them. I’ve helped him import billboards before and several things that we was just through online conversations and like addition to several dealers and okay, how much are you going with this for?
We are looking for this product. So when it comes to online, I networking. I’m finding like having conversations online, I’m very good with that. But like physical conversation, I might not be so good. I’m only, I’m still working on that. But like to some extent I would say I’m improving cause I’m still it’s a challenge to have like physical conversation with people when it’s online.
It’s very straightforward for me and like easier for me to network with people online. But they I’m very sure like that it’s must be a challenge for a lot of, But I’m very used to like online networking and reaching out to people, connecting and then eventually building strong connections basically.
So it’s it’s something that I, it’s not, it is not something everyone can get so quickly, but cause of my own past experience is much easier for me to use platforms like Twitter to find people online. Yeah.
[00:07:49] Nikema Prophet: Yeah. I was. Thinking that might be the case. I can 100% relate, because before Twitter spaces, I was very comfortable in text, like texting people.
So far, dms or even just on the timeline, at-ing them. But spaces is like another level of, oh, this is harder. It’s harder to yeah, get out there and use my voice and meet new people. And in person. Yeah. It’s like yet another level of harder to meet people and
[00:08:23] Tobiloba Adedeji: yeah.
[00:08:23] Nikema Prophet: Connect. But it’s worth it. It’s still worth it. And as you see, like slowly. Like slowly but surely when you’re authentic and you’re genuinely building relationships with people, you will like your people start to find you, like start to flock together. So I think, yeah, you relate so much.
I wanted also to ask you, cuz we stopped on, you mentioned open source.
[00:08:51] Tobiloba Adedeji: Yeah.
So yeah, tell us more about what you do in open source.
[00:08:57] Tobiloba Adedeji: Oh yeah. So for open source, what actually brought me to Open Source, funny enough was swags. Cause the open was, I found out like around September or was it August? I found out there was like school events coming up during oc in October. This October 1st. As of last year. I was like, okay, October 1st is coming in on 20 in OC October, on October.
So I was like, okay, I really want to participate in this challenge and win cool swags. So then I basically just when he came, so I found Eddie Hub online cause Eddie was always like yeah, open source. It was like open source. A personality on online. So I just found, I joined Eddie Hub, I learned a bit about working with on GItHub or actually I didn’t even know git I didn’t, I wasn’t very proficient with git so I joined some, there was this OSCA, there’s this community called Opensource Community Africa, and organized one workshop like that for git a three day workshop.
So I basically joined as a last year. So I was very active on there. So I learned basic git how to use git, basically. So I learned that from that workshop. Very helpful workshop. So from there then I came back and I was doing, I was basically like just pushing my own projects randomly to, to to GitHub, and even while during that workshop we had, there was a simple project we were to contribute to that and like then pushing it to the repo so that they merges they need to show on their website.
So that was basically what we contributed after the workshop. Yeah, from there I learned like some simple stuff, how to work with kids and GItHub. Then October 1st I joined, it was another time I joined four C. And then when I joined four C cause we were looking for volunteers to help maintain the website. So I was like, sure I would love to work on the website.
And the next website, the website stack was like, Next.js, Tailwind. Yeah, Next.js, Tailwind. And yeah, there wasn’t, there’s not really do any backend. Yeah, I just joined. I was like, okay, I would, I’d love to work on the website. So they brought me on and Hacktoberfest came in, so I was a maintainer.
And then the repo was actually a Hacktoberfest registered repo. So I was just basically working on their like people were raising issues. I was assigning them to issues making my own contributions as well, because as a maintainer I was actually assigning myself to some issues to solve so I was solving raising issues, having mean solving issues, raising issues as well.
Also assigning people to issues, merging prs. So I was really doing all of this work and this basically helped me to solidify even for that, solidify my knowledge of git and GitHub and open source. And as you can see, you probably know for my gi linkfree profile, it’s an open source project.
The link free is an open source alternative to LinkTree. So I basically used that and I’ve put, I made open source an integral part of myself cause I feel like it’s something that everybody should do and it has really helped me go a long way when it comes to my software development abilities. Yeah open source is something that I’m very passionate about and it’s something that I really helped me like level up so much.
Most people don’t even believe that I started anything related to front end when it comes to front end. Cause I’ve really taken my time to break that down and explore it deeply. Open source was one of the things I used to help myself grow. Yeah. My, my skills. Yeah.
[00:12:18] Nikema Prophet: I, yeah, I just put the link free page up and
[00:12:23] Tobiloba Adedeji: Yeah.
Yeah, I can see that.
[00:12:25] Nikema Prophet: It’s really cool. Like I, I think I heard of it, but I thought it was just like a link tree. I didn’t know it was this No. Featureful with testimonials and all of this stuff.
[00:12:37] Tobiloba Adedeji: Yeah, it is.
[00:12:38] Nikema Prophet: Yeah. It’s pretty cool. Yeah.
[00:12:39] Tobiloba Adedeji: Yeah, it is.
[00:12:40] Nikema Prophet: So I will read that again. And can you give I will link it in the show notes, but what is the URL for your link free page?
[00:12:52] Tobiloba Adedeji: So it is link free. Okay. Yeah,
[00:12:55] Nikema Prophet: go ahead. Sorry.
[00:12:57] Tobiloba Adedeji: So it is linkfree.eddiehub.io/tobySolutions. And my Toby solutions is camel case, so T O B Y, then capital S solutions. So Tobi, toby, like all lower case then capital S, then Yeah. The, for the solutions, yeah. O L U T I O N S. So Toby Solutions camel case with the Y Toby with the Y.
[00:13:21] Nikema Prophet: Okay. And actually I can probably, let’s see if I can put that on the screen too. I’m still getting used to, yeah.
[00:13:30] Tobiloba Adedeji: Cause I’m having a hard time
[00:13:31] Nikema Prophet: streaming. Yeah.
Oh, there we go. Wait, I Okay. It. Okay, so that’s linkfree.eddiehub.io/tobySolutions. And yeah, I will share the link wherever I post this episode. Okay. So we talked a little bit about Open Source, Hacktoberfest. Did you have anything else you wanted to say about your open source journey like.
it was at this point that we ran into some technical difficulty. So the interview restarts right here.
All right, so I’ll get back into it. Okay. So now that we’ve talked about open source Toby, how are you feeling about looking for work? Are you. Satisfied with the roles that you have now, or are you open to new opportunities? What’s going on career wise for you?
[00:14:29] Tobiloba Adedeji: Career wise? Current, my current occupations are what I do currently.
I am not I would say I’m satisfied, but I obviously don’t get enough. I’m not getting enough for what I’m doing and obviously I, my parents sponsor me a lot, so I haven’t been able to like give them like enough enough because I still collect from them till now and it’s not really cool.
Or I really want to be able to have enough to able to sponsor my parents and be able to repay them sort of everything they’ve done for me. And yeah , I’m looking for software engineering roles and I have the skills basically I use most of the tech stack and yeah, I’m very like, I know most of my like, basic languages, so if even involves me learning new language, it’s very easy for me to transition.
So I picked up Python recently and I was like, I just in two weeks or think a month. I was already good with Python even lend, be part of this. So yeah, I’m, yeah, I’m looking for software engineering roles currently and good with the front end. I do backend at times.
[00:15:34] Nikema Prophet: Yeah. Okay. So you’re primarily a front end engineer, but you can do backend also?
[00:15:42] Tobiloba Adedeji: Yeah. I’m primarily a front end engineer. Backend. Backend, yeah. Awesome.
[00:15:48] Nikema Prophet: Okay, so I’m actually out of questions cuz I was just going to listen to you talk about getting, getting yourself out there as a beginner. You talked about open source. Yeah. Yeah. But is there, let’s see. We could end the conversation now, or if you had questions for me, you could ask or you could, I don’t know.
Is there anything else that you wanna talk about on with your time
[00:16:17] Tobiloba Adedeji: oh, yeah, I have questions. I have questions for you. unsurprisingly My questions would be my questions would be what was it like, I’ve heard your story severally on like spaces and stuff, but I would still like to to understand we’re face to face now.
Like what was your story like, what was it like, you talked about like you been having kids and stuff and like still getting into tech and being able to manage that with your even with all the differences and stuff. But what was it like for you? Did you feel any sort of were there points where you felt you couldn’t do it and you wanted to give up?
What was it like?
[00:16:58] Nikema Prophet: At this point, I went into a long story about my story. And I don’t want the podcast to be about just me talking about myself. So I am taking that part out. And I will maybe put it out as a special episode part or something later, but I didn’t want to take too much away from what Toby was saying.
I cut out the long story. Um, And. Heads up. There’s also in a few minutes. I had to overdub some of the audio. So there’s a part where it’s my voice, but it’s, it’s different from the surrounding audio. So just heads up for that. It’s going to sound a little weird. So yeah. That’s that story
[00:17:45] Tobiloba Adedeji: that was really that was really inspiring. And I’ve never heard that.
I’ve never actually at least talk about that, that all of these in depth as you have currently. Yeah. I was truly, I learned a lot. I will say I’ve really learned a lot from your story and yeah, it’s, yeah, this sense at least has made me understand some things as to how to approach stuff.
Thank you very much for sharing that Nikema. Thank you. I appreciate it.
[00:18:14] Nikema: Thanks for asking. Like I said I always like to talk about myself and I had to get used to it, but now that I’m used to it yeah, ask me about myself,
but yeah. Did you have anything else or should we wrap this up?
[00:18:29] Tobiloba Adedeji: Yeah, nothing really nothing. I don’t think anything else is left to say, but I would just say that as an Nigerian in the tech space, if you are just starting out and you’ve acquired you’ve managed to struggle through acquiring your basic skills, I would just say network with people in the localities, because there is a huge community of of developers here in Nigeria.
There are communities like the G D G if you’re student like me, there’s gdsc there are GitHub campus experts. There’s several people you can actually network with in the local developer community. And yeah, people that work remotely or people that have even been to internships at Google Facebook and stuff. So several people here to network with and you
you might find some of them online cause some of them are very active online, but some of them you have to go to tech events and join communities to actually get to interact with people. Yeah, I think that’s, that would be my final and my, my wrap up statement, I guess for this podcast.
[00:19:35] Nikema Prophet: Oh my gosh. Okay. Thank you Toby, so much for coming on. Like I said you are the second guest ever and
[00:19:44] Tobiloba Adedeji: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:19:44] Nikema Prophet: This is our second time recording video episode this is very special.
[00:19:50] Tobiloba Adedeji: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I’m,
[00:19:52] Nikema Prophet: it was good to learn more about you too.
[00:19:55] Tobiloba Adedeji: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Thank you Nikema really honored to be here . I really wanted to be here, so yeah. I’m really happy I made it and made work out really happy.
[00:20:04] Nikema Prophet: Yeah. We made it despite the tech technical difficulties. We did it
[00:20:09] Tobiloba Adedeji: despite that we did it. Yeah.
[00:20:12] Nikema Prophet: And I’m honored to have you here too, and I’m gonna go ahead and wrap it up.
I don’t have I don’t have an outro yet. I guess I should start thinking about that. Oh yeah. At least. Okay, let’s try one. I am Nikema Prophet. I just spoke with Toby at Toby Solutions on Twitter. Check him out. And this has been the Our Voices Podcast. Thank you