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Editorials, The Grid

Entering Tech in 2024: MacBobby’s Recipe

Seasoned software engineer, MacBobby Chibuzor shares invaluable insights on the less unexplored ways of starting a tech career in 2024.

  • Johnson Opeisa
  • 27th June 2024

Starting a tech career, like so many other things, doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all blueprint, for an obvious reason—the route to leveraging technology to enhance the creation of another or solve problems is a wide one that has, over the years, seems to defy popular narratives. 

 

However, for an industry that offers relatively higher paychecks, faster growth, flexible working mode, and greater job satisfaction compared to other fields, the availability of substantive and up-to-date insider insights like this proves invaluable.

 

Though, possessing over five years of actual hands-on experience in the tech industry doesn’t make MacBobby Chibuzor any more of a blueprint, his strong affiliations with the industry within and beyond Africa make him one of the few persons in a pole position worth listening to—or in this case—reading from.

 

From taking on less technical roles in the technical writing niche to dabbling into frontend, backend engineering, and now blockchain, MacBobby told Bounce, “There’s no fixed process to becoming a tech professional, but if a method worked before, it’d most likely work again if you follow the same steps.”

 

As a senior software engineer who, away from his meteoric growth, has seen and contributed to the making of tech professionals by virtue of his leadership role in a local chapter of prominent tech community—Open Source Africa—MacBobby believes pursuing an academic qualification in Computer Science through the “right channel and systems is the best possible way to get started, as it gives the best knowledge of the industry’s fundamentals— programming principles, data structure and algorithm development.”

 

“But, if you aren’t able to pursue a CS program, or like me, you prefer to study something else, seeking a roadmap–in the form of industry’s specific courses, and YouTube resources—that keeps you in check should be prioritised. I also suggest having a mentor. People are busy these days, so if you can’t get someone you know and have access to, you can also make do with learning from afar,” he added. 

 

If it wasn’t obvious before that the information technology ecosystem would greatly influence the future of Africa’s workforce, it certainly is now more than ever. According to Briter Bridges, the continent’s tech startup ecosystem is expected to create over 3.5 million jobs by 2027.

 

As it turned out, the narrative that this predicted foray into the industry would make it saturated doesn’t sit well with Bobby. “The tech market can only be saturated for people with generic skills,” he said. “You do HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, it’ll be a tight one for you, especially in this age and time where generative AI can easily get these done.

 

“If you’re starting as a beginner, there are places that you should actually not consider going to just yet. The threshold has moved beyond the normal, so the more people move into this space, the more you have to be intentional about your pivot into this industry.” 

 

Speaking of smart transitioning, you need to take the next section more seriously than you did this. 

 

Unconventional Routes to Pivoting Into Tech 

 

The competitiveness in the tech industry doesn’t get worse by the day. MacBobby advocated for internships as a vital entry point for newbies looking to pivot into the industry, evidenced by the fact that they provide “the right tasks to take on, the right amount of exposure and risks.”

 

The conversation took a sublime controversial turn when he asserted that “the only thing you should take more seriously than your career and skill-up is to put yourself out there.”

 

If you have a hard time grasping that, think of it as personal branding—leveraging platforms like GitHub, LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter) to consistently talk about your growth, lessons, and missteps amongst other interests, in a way that distinguishes you and opens up opportunities. MacBobby continued by saying this can lead to interest in lesser-explored, but equally—and gradually more rewarding areas of tech that are mostly overlooked in the ecosystem.

 

There’s also the unexplored part of tech where people don’t go: Entertainment, influencer and edutech, most importantly. I can’t give a clear distinction between these fields, because they’re just coming up, but they’re also viable routes—although unconventional—to finding your space in the ecosystem.

 

“A popular example is the co-founder of ALTSchool Africa, Akindele Yusuf Sultan (AKA HackSultan). Sultan is seen as the representative of tech bros in Nigeria because he’s the one who speaks the loudest on X. So, it’s safe to say he’s a tech influencer.  The point is he has a newsletter of over 60, 000 subscribers–“NTBTS” (Not the Boring Tech Stuff) where he humorously covers the weekly happenings in the Nigerian Twitter tech space. If he decides to monetise his massive newsletter audience and pick additional interests in vlogging, gadget reviews and the likes, he’s going to be making an average senior developer’s three-month income in a month.”

 

Insane as that sounds, it goes without saying that it starts with taking calculated and ballsy steps like one MacBobby concluded with: “If you’re in your developmental phase, you have to be very decisive with taking decisions.  Though cliche, there are some opportunities you won’t get twice, so always strive to always figure out things on the go, knowing full well that your most payable skill is your ability to figure sh*t out on the job.”

 

There’s more where this came from. When MacBobby isn’t building cloud-native applications and solving FinTech solutions with performant backend systems and blockchain solutions, he contributes to community knowledge through well-documented code, APIs, and tutorials on his blog website and budding YouTube channel.

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