The Nigerian tech ecosystem is experiencing a remarkable surge, propelled by the nation's dominant youth population which continues to make significant strides in the industry. With innovative startups, cutting-edge technology, and an expanding tech-savvy workforce, Nigeria is positioning itself as a major player on the global tech stage.
However, amidst this rapid growth and enthusiasm, there remains a challenge of upskilling young tech talents, from beginners to experts to startup founders. There also exists a demand for Nigerian tech talents to secure employment opportunities with international organisations across the globe.
In bridging the skill gap among tech enthusiasts in Nigeria and boosting their attractiveness for international tech jobs, Bincom Dev Center, a talent development platform, has committed to training and developing tech talents. The center’s programs, including the Bincom global tech programme for beginners and intermediates, Bincom mentoring platform for tech experts to validate their status as mentors, and the LABs by Bincom programme to help techies build their startups, and the tech career coaching service to avail talent with work and emigration opportunities, young Nigerian tech enthusiasts are.
An alumnus and beneficiary of the talent development platform’s tech programs, Collins Uzebu, in a recent Twitter Space, shared his experience at Bincom Dev Center from his early days in tech to becoming a Front-end Software Engineer with Marine Traffic, a Greece-based tech company, and a mentor.
While speaking on how he found interest in tech from working as an animator to becoming a software engineer in 2018, Uzebu recalled his first encounter with Bincom Dev Center. He said, “In early 2019, I applied for an internship position at Bincom but was rejected. I knew I wasn’t qualified yet, so by mid-2019, I committed fully to tech. I knew that to acquire the industry experience and level of skill set I required, I would have to move to Lagos from Imo State. So on the second try, I got the internship position at Bincom in the fall of 2019 and since then, there has been no break in my journey in tech.”
Uzebu further shared his first experience at Bincom and how it shaped his tech journey. He added, “When I first joined Bincom, the first thing I realized was that it wasn't all smooth sailing. So the first skill I had to pick up was multitasking. Some might argue that multitasking is bad, but I must say that it helped shape me. Without the ability to multitask effectively, I could have faced difficulties later in my career. So, I had to learn how to handle multiple tasks simultaneously and do them well. Another crucial skill I learned was teamwork.”
Also speaking on the technical skill he learnt, Uzebu said, “Because we were always working on live projects, it meant that I had to learn a whole lot of things. I joined the team knowing Python and scripting, but by the time I left, I had gained knowledge in everything related to software engineering and even data science. At Bincom, the philosophy was not to learn just one skill. After 4 or 6 months, you had to learn another programming language. I acquired skills in database design, structuring, caching, and many more during my time with Bincom.”
The tech expert elaborated on his journey to becoming a front-end engineer, covering tech end-to-end while working on various projects at Bincom.
“I had the opportunity to work on the "Social Reputation System," a proprietary algorithm for Social Lender. That was the first project I was assigned to work on during my internship,” he revealed.
Uzebu also recalled his early struggles but the supportive guidance he received at the center. He also spoke on the public speaking skill he picked up during his time there. He said, “The primary aspect of knowledge development for me was public speaking. Everyone had to research a particular topic related to what they were doing and explain it to the team, and not just the team, but the entire organization. Doing this gave us the opportunity to learn how to speak in public. I believe that presenting regularly to the team built our confidence in public speaking.”
He continued, “Other things I did that helped were getting involved in leet code. I mean, these days no company wants to try and solve all of these algorithm data structures and problems on their own. So, being active in leet code at Bincom gave everyone an edge in tackling such problems. There was also a reward for the person who could solve those algorithms or data structures first. Building that skill helped me even after leaving Bincom. Another thing that helped was global recognition because we were encouraged to put ourselves out there and let the world see us. For example, if you Google a person's name, will you be able to tell what that person has done? So, things like this at Bincom motivated us to achieve more.”
By the time he left Bincom, Uzebu had become a confident and experienced tech professional with valuable skill. He focused on upskilling as a full-stack engineer between 2020 and 2021 and secured his first remote job with a Philippine company within 2-3 months of the switch.
Uzebu also explained that he wasn't particularly concerned about a job’s location as he scoured jobs on platforms like Jobberman and sent personalised messages to startup founders or CEOs to express his interest in their companies. He noted that his experience in community events at Bincom helped him to gain the skills required for the job market.
He explained, “When I started applying for jobs, I had about 3 months of frontend development experience and nearly a year of backend experience. It was challenging to land a backend role as a junior developer since the responsibility of backend development could be significant, and mistakes could be costly for the company. So, I mainly focused on frontend roles. However, I eventually got my first job as a full-stack developer with a company. It was not an easy process as it required multiple applications to various companies that were hiring.”
Speaking on what foreign companies seek in tech professionals, Uzebu advised the participants in the Twitter Space, “For startups, they usually seek candidates who can handle multiple roles and be adaptable in a dynamic environment. Working at a startup can be demanding, so having the right mindset and enthusiasm for such work is crucial. For established companies, gaining expertise in specific skills can be essential for retention. Startups, especially, need employees who can contribute to various aspects of the business.”
With a commitment to upskilling young tech enthusiasts in Nigeria, Bincom Dev Center continues to play a crucial role in equipping individuals like Uzebu with the necessary skills and expertise to thrive in the tech industry.