Grass to Code: How Learning to Code Changed my Life.
The many benefits of learning to code are endless. We got to speak to someone who has lived this reality, who, picking up coding turned her life around for good. Come with us as our guest shares how learning to code changed her life.
Could you please introduce yourself.
My name is Adeyisola Yosola. I’m a Senior Full stack Developer at one of the tech giants. I wasn’t always this person and didn’t introduce myself as a Dev not to talk of a Senior Dev.
When you say you weren’t always this person, what does that mean?
Oh, well, umm…I wasn’t always a dev and when I did become one, it took a while for me to go about introducing myself as one.
That last bit, Interesting. I would have assumed developers would be proud to call themselves one, you know, tech bros…
Hahaha…I see what you mean.
So, what was different for you?
Everything that happened to me that led up to me doing what I do today.
Could you share more on that?
Hmmn…where do I start from?
Bahahaha… okay. People would say my story is the typical ‘born with a silver spoon then lost it along the way’ story. But I would say my story is my story.
I’m the first of seven girls, yes, seven girls. My father was a traditional Yoruba man that was bent on having an heir, a son. With every birth, my father grew distant from my mum and my siblings but he always made sure we had food to eat, a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs. But that changed after our fifth born, Yewande. The company he worked for upped and left the country. It hit my father so bad he started drinking, spending his severance package on drinks and other women. Blew the whole thing. Forced my mum to do this pregnancy thing two more times just cause he was looking for a boy. Remember, he had lost his source of livelihood but he felt having a boy would somehow rescue us from the penury. Hahaha…jokes.
Wow, I’m so sorry
Anyway, what that meant was I grew up thinking I wasn’t enough as a girl and as a person. So I was very insecure, had the lowest of the lowest of self esteem, was always afraid to speak up, I doubted everything about me. But it also made me bent on proving a point to him. But above all, I was determined to look after my sisters and my mum.
And how did that go?
Initially, I was too young to make any serious money but I started making hair for girls at school. I was in secondary school at the time. I had enough practice with my sisters at home so I did well at it. A 50 naira here, a 100 naira there. I would put these together and give my mum to add to what she had to make something for us to eat. She used to sell ice blocks. Thankfully we had a freezer she could use, that was before my dad sold it.
How was school like, especially having to combine the hair making with academics?
I wasn’t so bright a student but I found my way. Attending public schools taught me a thing or two that I am not proud of. But I scaled through and got admitted into unilag to study Biz Admin.
Ahan, from business admin to tech sis, how did that switch happen?
I was getting there. Back in uni, I used to wash clothes for other students just to pay my way through. Whatever profit I made from that, I would go to Vespa to buy first grade okrika shoes to sell. I made some money from that but it was never enough for us. One day, while selling to a student, I overheard her conversation about building a website but what drew me in was the back and forth over how much she was supposed to be paid. 200k! Omo.
I can imagine how that must have sounded to you.
I knew I had to find out more but I felt so little. The courage didn’t come till three days after when she came back to my stand with her friend.
I didn’t expect her to share but surprisingly, she did.
And that was how I was introduced to tech. She not only told me about what she did, which I now know as front end development, she got me in the door. Whenever I had time between washing clothes, selling shoes and school work, I’d meet up with her to teach me. She also got me my first laptop but I was uncomfortable with her doing that for me so I paid back by washing her clothes for free.
Gradually, I became good enough to take on small gigs and sometimes do some jobs she couldn’t do. Every dime I made from coding, I sent home to my mum and sisters. By this time, my immediate sister was already in uni as well, she also pulled her weight in her own way but as usual, it was never enough.
Shortly after, I got into a hackathon and my story changed.
How do you mean?
My story changed. The hackathon widened my network and in turn widened my opportunities. And I was very good, but because of my self esteem issues, I relied on people to toot my horn for me and that they did. I got an internship and and the rest is as they say is history.
Did this somehow affect the story of your mum and sisters?
Oh yes. They started eating good. Hehehe… with coding, I made enough money to care for them. But I had already drawn my two immediate sisters, Yeside and Yori into the coding world, so they were pulling in some bucks too which helped greatly. Learning to code was the turning point for us.
Would it be accurate to say you’re a coding family?
Maybe. It’s just the three of us though. But I guess you can say that.
Yours is quite a success story…
I know right. Coding changed my life to be honest. Changed the life of my sisters, my mum…
And your dad?
Well, yes. We do our duty by him but that’s about it. Anyway, that’s my journey to being a Dev and a proud one at that. I’m no more insecure about myself and about the work that I do, I can live the life I’ve read about in books and I was able to empower my family because of the earnings I made and make from coding. Learning to code is the best decision I’ve made till date.
Yisola, with this your PR for coding, I have half a mind to jump ship.
Maybe you should…don’t tell your bosses I said that. Hehehe.
They’d be reading this…
Thank you for sharing Yisola.
Thank you for asking.