I have felt like a misfit on my career journey in the technology industry for the longest time. This feeling has resulted from multiple things, but I believe it has come from the fact that I have not chosen to specialise in just one area. I am passionate about so many different things such as — Business, Technology, Lifestyle and Creativity.
I have dabbled into so many things. With this, the inevitable imposter syndrome that comes from not specialising often lives rent-free in my head at different points in my professional career.
Would I be better if I just focused on one thing? What happens if I fail at all, failing at one thing is much more bearable than multiple failures.
We have been made to believe that we are to focus on one thing based on success stories from those who thrive from specialising.
However, what happens when you want a bit of everything and refuse to be made to choose a single path?
I like to think I am a student of the Steve Jobs school of thought on this topic, I believe you can never connect the dots looking forward and can only connect them looking backwards, and that is why I want to try my hands on as many things that pique my interest to see how they all come together in the future.
My Journey —
In August 2014, I decided to pursue a Computer Science degree at Covenant University. I chose this degree because my dad suggested it. I thought that I could always apply the skills I gather to any industry I eventually chose. While in school, I realised that I thrived more in executing user-centred, business-inclined projects or something that wasn’t too technical. This made me ultimately decide that CS wasn’t for me until I went on the 6-month undergraduate internship, a graduation requirement. I took up an Operations Intern role at Jorg Technologies, a Fintech and online event management startup based in Lagos, Nigeria.
Initially, I was hired to assist the operations team. However, I got the opportunity to work on a new project because of the diverse range of skills I was showing in my work daily. Working on this project — developing a telehealth solution for the Nigerian market was such a tasking and exciting learning experience. I learned to understand user problems and propose features that could solve them based on user research information. I also worked closely with engineers and saw some of the concepts learned in school being applied to solve real-life problems. The most exciting part of this project was becoming the mediator between engineering, design, sales and marketing, top management and potential users. It helped me build my collaboration, negotiation and stakeholder management skills. I also had to test the app and provide quality assurance reports so that improvements could be made.
Three months later, the first version was launched, and we hit a massive milestone in the first 24 hours. I was so excited and thrilled that the joy I felt on launch day convinced me that I had found a perfect role for me, where my multiple skills could thrive.
I loved each scope of work I handled during the project, and I continued to research what roles could afford me that experience over and over again. I stumbled on Product Development and Management and realised that this discipline created a room where each skill I acquired in my journey would help me achieve success.
After this discovery, I ensured that each role I pursued allowed me to build one or more skills I would require as I continued my product journey.
Being intentional about each opportunity that comes your way is part of the preparation process for the great ending you desire.
I am a product marketer — another role I’m trying to figure out as each day goes by. In this role, I work closely with the product team in communicating the benefits of the product to new and existing users. In this role, I’d say that research and understanding consumer psychology are vital tools for success. I want anyone reading this to realise that there’s room for you in the world of technology.
If you’re looking to break into tech, the best way is to identify your strengths and research roles that require those strengths.
In the end, there are multiple paths to building a tech career, whichever you choose, make sure it encompasses your passions and highlights your strengths; it’ll make every working day a lot more “fun”.
For me, it’s building useful products (physical or digital) that improve the lives of individuals.
Until next time,