The Right Shoulder: A Story of beginnings and progress

by Tefe Mebuiefene| November 04, 2022

When I hear a lot of women complain about not having enough support to begin their tech career, I empathise with them, although my experience has been different. Granted, I was a little confused at the beginning of my career journey but I would say that I got the best support anyone could have gotten for that stage.

A potrait of me

In the Beginning

I’ve always found the tech industry fascinating and constantly evolving. I got very interested in it toward the end of my undergraduate degree — I was already seeing myself as a Woman in Tech. I could already see the career opportunities and I was convinced that it was something I was never going to get bored of. The people who know me personally know that I’m quite adventurous and if something is not driving all my adrenaline, it gets harder to stick to it. So yeah, tech was that thing and I could already see that I wanted to do it instead of biochemistry.

It wasn’t easy in the beginning, or should I say pre-beginning. But I was eager to understand front-end development. I had to combine it with my university education. So there’ll be times when I had tight deadlines to deliver small gigs, yet needed to study school materials. It was a little bit hectic because I had little knowledge, but I knew it’ll be worthwhile soon. Then COVID happened. And I had more time and opportunity to focus on my dream. I joined a bunch of programs and by the time the covid break was over, I had gotten very familiar with the tools and basics. When school resumed, I realised that it was easier for me because I wasn’t starting from scratch. I was just building on what I already knew. I got into front-end development because I honestly just love a good website. You know how you visit a web page to get something and you are just so attracted with the ease and you just smile every time you have to visit that website. Yes, I loved that I was going to be a part of the process. Building something that users will interact with directly feels like I’m touching lives and it comes with a sense of fulfilment. I remember my first code — I wrote it and went to the browser and it was just there. It felt so good to see it come to life, and I still feel that way when I work on a good design.

Gaining Experience and Progressing

One of the habits I picked up while learning to develop websites was to join communities like SheCodeAfrica, etc. I was scrolling through my messages one afternoon when I saw a link to join the TeamApt Women in Tech internship. Initially, I was worried about scaling through the assessment but I decided to apply first and see where it goes. I applied, and there were a series of interviews. I think there were four stages. It started off with a criteria test, and then I was given a project to work on. I then had an interview with HR, after which I had an interview with Felix, TeamApt’s CTO. The interview process went well. Although at that point it felt challenging because I was not used to so much structure and processes, but I would say it was good. The TeamApt Women in Tech internship offer letter came on my sign-out day from school. It was the perfect gift and it crowned the whole day. Imagine signing out and getting an offer letter — double blessings.

A photo with Apt5 (women in tech)

I started my internship with TeamApt as a front-end developer on the Monnify team. Oreoluwa Falomo was assigned to be my mentor and I learned a lot in that period. I wanted to expand my knowledge too, so I took courses to come up to speed with some of the tasks I was assigned.

There was a period when my product manager (Damilare Ogunnaike) needed someone to work on a project that had to do with Angular. I had no idea how it worked because at that time I had only worked with React. In fact, I had never used Angular before but because I really just love learning new stuff, I just went on and told him I could do it. He asked if I knew how to use Angular and I remember replying “No, but I can quickly take a course on it and brush up on it myself”.

I gave it my time and it went well. I was able to complete the task and he was impressed with what I did. I remember that some of my teammates were surprised that I could pull it off after saying that I didn’t know how to use Angular. I was just happy to have learnt something new. The internship in general was a very exciting time. The hardest part was the first month but afterwards, I was pretty much caught up with everything and it was a great experience. I learnt something every day and the growth has been massive.

Getting a Full-time Job

With the internship coming to an end, I began to think about my next steps and deep down, I knew I didn’t want to go anywhere else. The experience was unlike anything I was previously used to and I didn’t want that to come to an end. The major selling point for me was the people. Everyone was so relatable. There was no barrier, stigma or anything of the like. I was free to talk to my boss or anyone when I had a roadblock. I didn’t feel less, no matter what the issue was. Everybody was open and willing to help, and it felt safe to be here. Working remotely is an addition that I was also happy with. The fact that I got to just work from the comfort of my home or from wherever I choose is always a relief. As the internship drew to a close, I had a meeting with Damilare Oguinnaike, the head of online payments, and he told me that I was doing really well. I then had a formal appraisal where I was told that I did very great and that I’d be retained. I remember I got an offer letter in my mail, after which I spoke to HR and they helped me with the whole stuff.

I joined TeamApt in August 2021 as an intern and by February 2022, I got retained in a full-time role. An exciting thing about being at TeamApt is that growth is paramount and the value I add to the team is evident. I work here and I know that my input is beneficial to the company. I work on features that are being used by people out there and it is satisfying. Being in tech is a mix of fun and work, this seems unreal but TeamApt has a perfect balance. I’m here and I’m loving it. If you ask me, an internship is a great path for anyone to start their tech journey, because it still looks like the easiest way to get experience. I have learnt a lot while interning at TeamApt and most of what I do now is based on that knowledge I gained. I think back and I’m happy I took that step by applying for the Women in tech internship.

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