That time i wanted to be a programmer but got something else

When I was in 100 level all I wanted to do was fix computers, I liked how it made people happy, plus it paid a good sum for a young boy in 2011. I had this really cool friend called Emmanuel AKA “Steve Jobs” we had mad dreams and aspirations to take the school by surprise with super plans for corporate gadget repairs ….we tried to start a company together like 4–5 times but we were never able to start.

In as much as I liked fixing laptops I hated being tagged a “laptop repairer”. Maybe I was ashamed, who knows? It just didn’t sound right to me. In 200 level Omega(2nd) semester towards the end a course mate(Ebisine) of mine brought his girlfriend’s laptop to me to fix it. She had just got a new laptop but cracked her screen in less than 4 days. Now you see, I was really not a hardware guy, and although I had changed RAM and Hard-drives for people, I had never changed a screen, so I was very excited to fix her screen and the profit was even more motivating…. like 10K or so. To save time and not bore you with the ridiculous details of the next two days after I had taken the laptop…… I DESTROYED THE LAPTOP, yes I destroyed the 4 days old expensive Dell 6561 😂😂😂😂😂.

I’m laughing now but that time was one of the darkest times of my Hebron experience. Emmanuel and I spent hours trying our best to fix it, we were not in the same hall but I had to stay over that night trying to revive this laptop like those people that surround a dead corpse in faith. It’s funny because all I was meant to do was change the screen but I ended up destroying the motherboard. To make matters worse, when Ebisine and I went to tell his girlfriend that her laptop was destroyed she started crying on the road and all that was going through my mind was that this girl would ruin my reputation of being an efficient laptop repairer to all the other girls in my level; I didn’t have much female clients so I was really looking forward to leveraging on her to enter that market.

So, there I was a smallish 200 level student who didn’t have much except my monthly allowance and the little cash I got from fixing stuff for people, how in the world was I supposed to buy this girl a new laptop?? It was like one week to exams so she needed it urgently, I didn’t even bother to tell my mum because I knew she’d scold me. Miraculously, Ebisine said he would pay for the laptop (65K) but I would have to pay him back before 300 level begins, I gratefully and hurriedly accepted because, really, I had no choice, I still thank Ebisine till this day for that act of kindness.

Also during that period Emmanuel and I had the idea of making this website where students can post stuff they wanted to sell to other students. I wasn’t even thinking of profit at that time, the main reason for that idea was because, accompanying my device repairing business, I also sold tech gadgets at inflated prices to other students(also very profitable) but I was really shy and I hated marketing myself to other people so this site was my quick fix to making a lot of 💰💰💰💰💰.

Destroying this girls laptop broke me, my friend Carl teased everyday till the semester ended because of it. It was this incident that caused my decision to stop fixing laptops but start building my idea, I started downloading a lot of video tutorials on php,html and css. Lynda was the top tutorial website at that time so I got a lot of courses from them. I watched all through my 200 level to 300 level summer break, while my mates were having so much fun during S.W.E.P (1 month practical programme for 200 level engineering students). I was busy feeling sad for the 65K I owed and was watching a lot programming tutorials in my room. I later told my mum during the holiday and she paid Ebisine back his money.

300 level began in August and I had nothing to show for all the numerous programming videos I had watched all through the summer, so I decided to get someone to teach me and considering that I was also very shy that was a huge step for me, I went to the area where 400 level Computer science students stayed to find someone to teach me. Someone told me that a guy called Raymond was really good but wasn’t around but also that some other guy called Botoo, who was also good was available. I was really desperate and wanted to start immediately before someone “stole my idea and implemented it” but the Lord said I should wait 😳😳😳. I was shocked because it made no sense for me to wait for someone to resume school when there was someone else I could talk to right away, but thank God I obeyed.

2–3days later, I went back and Raymond had resumed. I met him and he was very friendly and cool, he was even more excited to teach me and share his skills (at least that’s what I thought… however he told me recently that he wasn’t that excited). So we started with some Css and Html basics and we progressed to php later, one of the things he also told me recently was that he never expected me to last long. He had met a lot of people that wanted to learn but after 1–2weeks they gave up, but not Douglas! I can attribute that to my desperation to not wanting to fix laptops again before I destroyed someone’s macbook 😂, plus he was a kind person without any shadiness involved. We weren’t in the same hall but he kept a bed in his room so I could sleep over sometimes and code all night , looking back now I’m actually very happy I obeyed God.

From Raymond, I also met his close friend(and currently his business partner) Ebuka who I must admit gave me the “evil” business balance I needed. As at that time in my 300 level, Raymond was a very free-spirited person, always doing good for free most of the time, but NOT Ebuka, Ebuka actually gave me my first paying job designing HTML templates for projects he was working on. He forced me to negotiate a good deal of which he could have given to me freely, They were like tutors at first but now they’re like brothers/managers/counsellors to me😂. Ebuka being the bad cop and Raymond being the good cop helped me become a better developer and businessman. Also, barely a year into being a developer, they flew me back and forth from Port-Harcourt to Lagos to join them on a project when I wasn’t even good enough for. Meanwhile, at that time, I miraculously got a call to do a website for Cobhams. It’s so funny because there was no possible way I would have gotten that job if I was in Port-Harcourt at that time.

Lastly one major thing I learnt from these two guys is how to be genuinely happy for people. I still don’t know how they do it but they are the happiest for all my small or big wins, they sympathise with me in any loss and give good counsel to help me get over it. I have never met anyone that could be genuinely happy for some other person’s success like these two guys.

By the way, I never built the website that made me become a programmer but I got to build one of the most important relationships of my life.

Original article posted on blog.kendyson.com

Written by

I complain about things (I care about) // Software engineer // Currently building Selar.co // douglas@selar.co

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