You have to be a human being first to be a software developer and some people miss that part.
We’ve been recently talking to Tolulope since he just got hired by Ogun as a Senior Software Engineer. We were so impressed with his story and his soft and hard skills that today we want to share it with you too.
Tolulope studied Chemical Engineering at the Covenant University of Nigeria. “It was very challenging, since it requires a lot of your mental capacity. You don’t have to be very intelligent, but you do have to be very good at logic.” Tolulope is also multilingual: he speaks English, French, some local languages like Yoruba and Igbo, and he’s currently improving his Spanish.
Interviewer: This is already breathtaking! Can you tell us more about your work experience and how you’ve implemented your knowledge throughout your professional career?
I was already curious about software engineering during secondary school and once I started university, I had the idea of building an app to help students repair their laptops and phones. I realized that I liked doing this, and that it would push me to learn new things. So, I decided that once my studies were completed, I wanted to move into this field. First I joined a startup company, Israel Keys Wealth, based in the UK. I was the only developer at that time, so I was lending support in many areas. I learned a lot about database design, security, business, and also about how to communicate! When I left there, I joined a local startup company, FixusNg, where I worked for over three years. I had the opportunity to work with two other developers and it was great to learn from them.
I then decided that I wanted to focus more on remote positions and I went to this bootcamp run by the Microverse that is a global school for remote software developers where students learn through remote pair programming and don’t pay anything until they get a job. They accepted me as a student. I met a lot of new people and learned from them, and I became a better person. About 3 months into the program, I was selected to be a mentor; it was the first time I had formally been a mentor in my life! I had 2 developers under my wing to help and motivate. Sometimes people want to give up, and you have to convince them otherwise. It was then that I realized I was good at it and that I was helping people follow their dreams. I started a little internship program where I would help developers learn how to code, help them get access to the internet and get them the technological tools they needed, among other things. I helped 25 developers! I still do it to this day, I try to meet them and give them advice. When I can’t help them, I can always point them to a source that helped me in the past. You have to be a human being first to be a software developer and some people miss that part. My advice to junior developers is to just stick with it. Eventually, we all get to this point. I have been a freelancer and was still able to pay my bills. I was working with different clients for specific periods of time, until the service was completed.
I: It is very inspiring to learn how you devoted yourself to helping other developers! So then, why did you stop freelancing?
I was looking for a more stable job where I could still have some flexibility. Before I joined Circular, I was applying to jobs and getting rejected all the time! There was a company, Bebanjo, that I really liked. They didn’t have a place for me on their staff, but they kept me in their database. Their HR person, Lucía Etxabe, contacted me to tell me about Circular and she endorsed me. When I joined, I was scared that most of the jobs would require EU permits. I wasn’t sure if it would be possible for me to get a job. But I followed the instructions to get more endorsements from other employers and I received an interview request from Ogun. I got the chance to talk to them, and Ignasi Salvador was genuinely nice. I liked what I was told about the company. I got even more excited after the first chat with them! He told me that the language could be a problem, as they would prefer someone who was fluent in Spanish. It was totally understandable, but I gave it my best shot anyways and I got hired!
I: That’s excellent news! As people say, “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. How would you describe the quality of Ogun’s hiring process, with Ignasi as the recruiter?
It was the best interview process I’ve ever gone through. It was very transparent – from the very beginning he focused on the most important things, made very clear what my job would be, and answered any questions I had. The process was very smooth. I got the exact timelines and they stuck to them. Also, because of COVID-19, it has been a pretty unique moment to change jobs. I have more relatives now in the house, so it’s been a bit difficult to find a room where I could study and prepare for the interviews. So knowing what was going to happen next in the hiring process and what was expected from me helped me be well-prepared for every interview. They were very considerate and I really appreciate that.
I: I’m sure he will appreciate these very kind words. Congratulations are in order to Ignasi for doing such a good job during the hiring process. Is there anything you’d like to say before we end this interview?
I totally recommend this hiring experience. I am already endorsing friends on Circular. Gaby, who was my Talent Advocate, was extremely interested in learning about the job I wanted to get. She followed up with me every time I had an interview. Even when I was concerned about the language requirements, she was very reassuring. It’s good to have a person that kind of gives you tips along the way during your job search.
More about Tolulope:
🍲 A meal: all kinds of pasta
🗺 A place: Amsterdam
🤹♀️ A hobby: playing guitar, running, parkour