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Never Too Late To Start – My Tech Story

Mary Abiodun who is an alumna of She Hacks Africa Coding Boot Camp Cohort 3, shares how she started her journey to becoming a software developer.

I decided to write about this to remind me of how I started this journey, how I felt at the beginning, and to let you know that it is never too late to start.

A few years ago, I returned to tech after a 4-year break. Tech looked so strange to me like I was a total stranger to the whole idea but I found passion again. Even though it felt like I had forgotten all I knew, I still found myself trying to remember things I once knew. It was always nostalgia.

A part of me was full of regrets because I was thinking of where I could have been if only I didn’t go on a 4-year break but on second thought, I went through situations beyond my control and the break was never on purpose. I saw people doing amazing things and I thought of all I could have learned and done within the periods I was away. I was a total beginner again!

I decided to tell this story because it is just a little over two years since I returned to tech and truly I can say it is never too late to start. All we need is to take one step at a time towards our goals and ensure we are moving daily. It doesn’t matter if a lot of people have gone far ahead of us and we think we have got a long way to go. Remember that a journey of a thousand miles always begins with a step.

There might never be another right time to start except now. This year, I found myself telling a lot of people to just start. Start small! Start anyhow! Just start! One saying that motivated me is the saying that the last best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is NOW! This just goes to say that what you couldn’t do yesterday, last year, two years ago, four years, you can do it now. You can start now.

Tech is a field that continues to evolve and that evolution makes you think, “Where do I want to start from?”. There’s so much to learn and you never stop learning but starting somewhere can make all the difference. Another question you might want to ask is, “What stack should I learn; what aspect of tech do I begin with?”. You will find different answers to this question. But when you do get an answer or if you find no answer at all, still start somewhere.

After I wrote about my tech journey so far, some people asked why I didn’t focus on a particular stack and learn all about one thing instead of having to try my hands on several programming languages. When I started, I didn’t really know where to start or what problems I would really want to solve with tech but nevertheless, I started.

Let me share a story. 

December 2016, I attended my first Google DevFest event. It was my first time seeing Prosper Otemuyiwa and Ire Aderinokun. They both took sessions but I have to be very sincere; I was lost in the entire conversations and sessions. After that event, I had a phobia for tech conferences. I only attended tech training because I thought there was no point going for events where I didn’t know what they were talking about. I would rather go for events where I can learn the practicality of what was being said at those tech events. Someone had to change my perception before I started getting comfortable with them again but by then, I had gained some tech knowledge to help me understand some tech jargon. 

March 2019, I anchored a panel session at a tech event where I asked panelists questions about some aspects of tech I knew nothing about. I didn’t even have an idea of some of the answers they gave but I learned quite a whole lot in that single panel session. Right now, I’m no longer scared of tech events and conferences. 

If you’re an established career person, business person or still on the journey to fulfillment, think about how you started and where you are at the moment. Definitely, there is a lot of difference. That is not to say that there haven’t been challenged on the way or you have never encountered one problem. You have! But you kept ongoing and that’s why you are where you are and not where you used to be.

Think about it if you never started at all. What do you think the current situation will be like?

It’s alright if you started at some point and had to give up or leave off what you were doing. Life happens. But it is never too late to start up again. 

 Going back to my story again. I’m happy I started back again two years ago. I have learned a lot on this journey and it has opened up a world of new possibilities to me. I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t start again. 

I really believe you can because…

It is never too late to start.