Everyone has a story to tell. When you read the story of career growth, it’s usually in the form of progressive growth within the same field in which they’ve been or started with. My story is a bit different — Software engineering is currently the role of my dreams but it wasn’t always so.
Let’s take a quick trip down my memory lane.
It was sometime in April 2019, when I had just finished school and was looking for internship roles to keep me busy before I got called to serve my fatherland. I put the word out to my friends to be on the lookout for me, and one of my former coursemates sent me a link for a business analyst role at TeamApt Inc. That was how I applied.
A few days later, I got an invitation for a physical interview. After the interview, I was told that my qualification set wasn’t exactly in line with what was needed at that time. Not one to give up easily, I told the interviewer I wanted to do this before starting my service. He asked when I could resume and I told him I was ready to resume immediately. Maybe it was the speed of my answer or my refusal to give up, but he was convinced and I resumed that day after I got my work tools.
And so the journey began……
I started with the Moniepoint team. We had a list of people that were interested in getting our POS terminal and my job was to go through the list, reach out to them via phone call, screen them and ensure that they met the requirements that our business owners had to meet. One thing that caught my attention and I found really impressive was the fact that every day, we would get thousands of people interested in getting a POS terminal. We used color codes like yellow, blue, and red to highlight the list depending on how qualified the prospects were.
That was the routine, most of the time. Then NYSC called, and during the course of the orientation camp, I tried to ensure that I got posted to TeamApt for my PPA. When I got back from camp in August, I was moved from Moniepoint to the Monnify team.
Returning from NYSC orientation camp to TeamApt for my PPA
Before going to camp, I had already fallen in love with the team, a factor that influenced my decision to stick with TeamApt all through the service year. I liked the bond I shared with the guys, especially because we had an on-site work policy then. In one month, I built relationships that look to last me a lifetime and it was a sign of an even greater future to come.
There were additional perks to the TeamApt work experience, from how we could dress casually, to the immense opportunity for growth, especially because of the people I had access to. In a nutshell, I just knew that I was where I was meant to be.
Easy peasy? Not really
On the Monnify team, I worked in Customer Support, and my earlier experience made me assume it would be fairly easy to do since I had been relating with customers at Moniepoint. At first, I wasn’t doing much because it was a new product and we were trying to break into the market.
Then, little by little the work started to come in droves. I guess that’s what happens when you have a stellar sales team because dealing with so many requests turned out not to be as easy as I had imagined. I had no major experience working on a payment gateway, more so being the main support officer. I learned on the job and I learned pretty fast; from banking systems and the process of collections and disbursements to steps to take in resolving various payment issues customers might face. As time went by, I fell in love more with my job, going from handling my first transaction to dealing with numerous transactions each day.
A day to remember
When I started getting complaints, initially, there were things I could easily sort out like pending transactions that just required confirmation from the bank.
Then there are the big guns, one of which I don’t think I could ever forget.
A customer had reached out via email complaining that money was sent using our payment gateway and it had been pending for too long. I was really confused because I checked everywhere — from our system to the bank — but the money was nowhere to be found. It was scary to me.
When I had exhausted all of my options, I informed my line manager, Tobi Amira, to figure out our next step. It was after he took a look that we realized it had been a NEFT payment (a type of transaction that only reflects the next business day), and we were able to close down what had seemed to be an impossible problem.
That one experience would improve my approach to work. I started asking more questions and building friendships with bankers, which made it easier to just put a call across to clarify situations. As a result, we resolved cases much faster.
Of course, as our transaction numbers grew, the Monnify team expanded in response.
The Big Switch
I like to think of the future a lot, and during one of my usual musings, I began to consider what steps I would take next in my career. My love for TeamApt and what we continue to do has always been a major point to consider, and it became apparent that I could do more than I already was.
I liked the idea that we were building products to better the lives of Nigerians and the world as a whole, but I had yet to directly influence the development of such solutions. And then it hit me.
The engineering team got to do exactly just that, and soon the idea that I could work on products and get thousands of people to use them the way I engineered them to work became etched in my mind.
Acting on that train of thought, I asked a colleague who had just made a similar decision. I reached out to her to get a sense of what it would entail, and when I was convinced, I reached out to my direct manager - Damilare Ogunnaike. I told him I wanted to delve into software engineering, a decision he was very supportive of.
Getting approval from HR was really easy, a testament to TeamApt’s dedication to developing its employees, and by December 2021, I handed over leadership of the Monnify Support team to someone else. By January 2022, I went to Moat Academy for Developers and started my engineering journey.
Life after Bootcamp
Remember how I said the process of switching from one role in TeamApt to another was seamless? Well, it’s a different cup of tea personally, when you’re switching from one career to another.
After the BootCamp ended in April, there were a lot of instances where I developed cold feet. The rather rough hands of doubt would grab me on some days, and I’d ask myself questions like —
“G_uy, do you think you’ll be able to do this? Do you think you’ll be able to cope_?”
However, for every difficult situation I found myself in, there were people that made things really easy. I had a family with the Support team, and now with the engineering team, I can say the same thing. Everyone has been great. I get to ask questions without fear and there are always people available to answer me, even when the timing is not really convenient for them.
I think the most important part of the journey for me has been the access to tasks and projects. With TeamApt, I get to work on some complex use cases, and with the available resources, I’ve conquered more than I would have on my own.
We’ve only just begun! There’s so much more to do, and I can’t wait to see where this road takes me. I already know I have a great foundation, thanks to TeamApt Inc. and Moat Academy for Developers, the sky is really just the starting point.