“My name is Ronald Dosunmu, I am a 17-year-old Full Stack Software Engineer, and that is a little bit about me,” is how he starts, but the teenager’s story is rich enough to inspire the next generation, especially because he wrote his first line of code when he was only ten.
He was in JSS1 (Nigeria’s Junior Secondary Level), but it was a holiday, and he “didn’t want to be idle,” even when his mates were having a swell time playing games and hanging out.
I tried many things and stumbled upon Python. It was the first programming language I learned and I liked it. It was very interesting to see that you write a few lines of code and the computer does something.Ronald Dosunmu
When he got into SS2, after he had become more consistent with learning codes, and was part of a programming club. COVID-19 came and made his learning process even better. He got a scholarship/mentorship to study Data Science.
“The mentorship program stacked my knowledge in Data Science and Machine Learning, and I got really good at it. But, after then was when I decided that was not what I wanted to do,” Ronald said.
Interestingly, when he started building things, he had to move from taking free courses to paying for advanced courses, and at that point, he had to “ask my mum for financial support.” He says the kind of support he received has been instrumental to his support.
Don’t you wish all African parents would see that helping children build careers in chosen tech fields will make Africa’s future better than imagined? Fortunately, we have the Dosunmus and many more who support young techies building the future.
Ronald Dosunmu’s coding experience
He says he never registered for a coding school and would encourage others to take courses instead because, on those platforms, you can determine your learning pace and commitment.
Now, Ronald is a Frontend Engineer at Devtranet and co-CTO at Ecommerce Complaint and already has a career path. Full Stack Software Engineering is a long-term plan for him, and who knows what will happen after then?
Meanwhile, it is his coding experience that led him and his team to win 250,000 Naira at an Ingressive for Good Hackfest in 2021.
“I joined the team, and from then, we started building. It was supposed to be for three days, and we started building the night they announced the problem statement. I was coding for up to 3-4 hours a day, and we were hopeful.
“We built Tranzanct, a platform that would keep track of all your subscriptions so that you would not pay for what you don’t want to pay for. We used the mono API to get records of all your recurrent expenditure for the last six months.” And this is what is now Ronald Dosunmu’s most exciting project so far.
Ronald is already earning tens of thousands of Naira (more than his pocket money for school) and says, as a thrifty spender, he saves 95% of his earnings.
Be like Ronald. Vanity upon…
Managing academics and tech
“Academically, I am very bright to the glory of the Almighty God. In secondary school, I finished with eight A1s and a B3. In the University (Covenant University), I am on a strong CGPA,” Ronald boasts.
He argues that it is difficult managing a tech career alongside an academic career, but “give priority to what you are supposed to give priority.”
Ronald says to teen techies
His first advice is to ask young techies to find out what they like so they don’t become the ‘Jack of all trades and master of none,’ kind of individuals.
He insists that people find what they like and find courses to get better in the field.
He adds that people don’t build alone and join communities (like GenZTechies and Code Clan Nigeria), so they meet other people who can help them solve problems and improve their craft.
What about childhood?
It has been argued that “Technology can negatively affect children’s developing social skills, relationships, health, and overall ability to focus. This can lead to more children being socially awkward, withdrawn, shy, or intimidated by social situations.”
And, when it is coding and developing a career as a teen, that becomes worse. But Ronald Dosunmu disagrees.
“It (tech) has not stopped my childhood in any way. I mean, I play games, I watch movies, and I have lots of friends. It depends on what you describe as childhood too.”
Though he says he had dreams and those things – like hanging out more often – were not going to help him get there. “It is basically all about you and what you choose. There is no perfect definition of childhood, and I feel like I had a perfect childhood,” he argues.
Watch the interview here:
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