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Meet Osinachi Chukwujama: From gamer to coder

Aug 17, 2022 - 8 min read
Dominique Sabins
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Osinachi Chukwujama has been an Educative Answers contributor since 2021. His introduction to coding evolved from a love of video games. Now, he is a Front-end Developer and a Microsoft Learn Student. Read below to hear about his journey to coding!

Q: When did you first take an interest in coding?

"I first took an interest in coding back in 2017. I wanted to develop apps, but it was a very fleeting interest. I had a genuine interest in coding the following year, in 2018, when I wanted to develop games. I was very interested in video games, so I started to teach myself C++, but that didn’t really work out for me so I began studying Python. I taught myself just on my phone using apps like Sololearn. Eventually, I got a laptop and began learning game development until I turned my focus on web development."

Q: Are you still interested in game development or have your interests changed? 

“My interests have developed in a lot of different ways from gaming. Game development felt too niche and difficult to get into. The chances of success are also not so high, especially for Africans because I feel like we do not have many game studios here in Africa. So my interests moved away and developed into fields like data engineering, machine learning, and robotics.”

Q: How did you teach yourself to code and how do you continue to learn? 

"I wouldn't say that I learned to code entirely by myself, I leaned heavily on my community. When I began taking an interest in coding, I found other friends who were also interested in coding and were a level ahead of me. I would reach out to them a lot for help. They would guide me and help me learn JavaScript or Linux. I started to have more structure around learning thanks to them. Otherwise, I learned from courses and I would just jump into something and try to figure it out. Whenever I got stuck I would reach out to my community to get feedback."

Q: What was the most challenging to learn when you first started coding? 

"In the beginning, the first challenge was asynchronous javascript.The whole java system was foreign to me. A few months ago, another challenge was Kafka Streams. Kafka Streams is a Java library for building stream processing applications. I experienced some challenges while writing an article on Kafka."

Q: How did you overcome this challenge? 

"I got a lot of help from my community. I called up some of my friends and we all hopped on a call together to try to figure it out. I also tried different projects and courses on Kafka. I am definitely proud that I eventually overcame that challenging article."

Q: What do you like to do with coding now? Do you have any projects that you are working on?

"Apart from my full-time job writing front-end, I write technical articles. I enjoy writing technical articles because they help me try out new things. One month I could be writing about Kafka, and the next month I’ll be doing something with Python scripts or data pipelines. Aside from that, I have been working on robotics projects, Python XML, and Bash."

Q: What is the most exciting part of coding for you?

“At the beginning, just getting something to work was really exciting. The most rewarding things for me now are getting an app to build or explaining a complex concept in simple terms to someone else. I have always wanted to be able to explain something new that I have learned to help other learners. I am involved in the Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors program, so I get the opportunity to speak at events and even host events about Cloud and Azure. Before I do these events I spend a lot of time learning the tech and the concept I am going to be speaking about. When I do these events, it’s very exciting for me to be able to explain a complex concept, code, software, or system.”

Q: What keeps you motivated to learn new things?

“I am motivated by getting feedback after finally explaining what I have learned. It’s almost like a dopamine rush. It is exciting to be able to explain something that was once difficult for me in simpler terms for someone else.  The vast nature of coding and of tech itself continues to put me in a state of awe. So I am constantly trying to understand better how things work.”

Q: Is teaching something that interests you? 

"Sure, I like teaching a lot, especially when I know what I am teaching very well. I’m not interested in teaching full-time, but I would love to help out at schools or speak at classes every now and then."

Q: Do you enjoy writing?

"I do enjoy writing when I know what I am writing about. I tried to write a fiction novel once a few years ago. I even finished it, despite it having loads of plot holes. The book was terrible, but I had fun writing it. At that point, I became very focused on tech and trying new things out. But doing non-technical writing is difficult for me. I don’t think it provides me with enough opportunities. I would rather write technical pieces; that is my main focus now. Maybe in the future, I will try fiction or sci-fi writing again, but it doesn’t interest me now."

Q: What brought you to Educative Answers? 

"I thought it was a way for me to get my name out there. I was getting serious with technical writing and I wanted to extend my reach so I began cross-posting my work to get more exposure."

Q: Do you feel like there is a large community in coding?

“Definitely. I feel most connected with the Nigerian tech community. There is a Twitter group of Nigerians who are into tech. I also feel connected to other African devs who are sharing their stuff and speaking at conferences. The Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador program is an awesome community because there are a lot of benefits that you can use. The program is life-changing, especially when you use it to the fullest. You are connected to some of the best minds out there.”

Q: What advice would you give to other aspiring coders?

"Please take this with a pinch of salt because everyone has a different path. But I would recommend jumping into coding based on your background and interests. I began because I was interested in video games which eventually evolved into other interests. Follow your interests until you feel like it is a good time to change. It took me 8 months before I realized that video game development might not be the best path to take. Keep learning and developing your skills until you feel like it is time to move on. 

If you are already into coding, try to build new things, learn every day, and share what you have learned. Sharing helps a lot to stay motivated. When you share, you will see what other people have shared. Ask questions and connect with people as much as possible. Recently, if I see something awesome online, I reach out to the person to learn how they did it and get to know them. This helps me because there are a bunch of awesome people out there, and you deserve to be connected to that pool of people to keep learning and building." 

Q: What goals do you have for yourself? 

"At this point, I want to travel the world before I am 25. I am currently 21. I see myself being a developer who is able to travel for conferences. I am currently a Microsoft Learn Student, so the path I am on is trying to capitalize on learning, communities, public speaking, and technical writing to land my next dev job. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll try to be a digital nomad and backpack through Europe. Later on, I would consider trying to build a startup- who knows! I want to finish up school, get a better job, and then I can tackle some of those bigger goals. I always visualize myself in Singapore, Norway, or the Netherlands as my first international travel. I might just flip a coin and pick the first place that way."

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WRITTEN BYDominique Sabins

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