Meet Valentino Ugbala, a Young Nigerian Developer who turned Down a Job Offer to join the Enye Program

Valentino Ugbala
Student Stories

Meet Valentino Ugbala, a Young Nigerian Developer who turned Down a Job Offer to join the Enye Program

How did studying Electrical and Electronics influence your decision to pursue a career in software engineering?

In my second year in university, a lecturer asked me what employable skills I had that stood me out from my peers. I couldn’t come up with anything asides ‘I am hardworking and intelligent.’ I felt bad, and, after some research, I decided that I needed to learn to code.  I picked up the Sams Teach Yourself C in 24 Hours handbook, and after two months, I was able to build a GP calculator. I realized that Electrical/Electronics Engineering and Software Engineering go hand-in-hand. Coding is necessary for Electrical/Electronics engineers, especially in writing firmware for microcontrollers.

So, you are a self-taught software developer who joined Enye early 2019. Enye actively reaches out to software engineers and developers to mentor them. What informed your decision to join the cohort?

I came across an Enye ad on Facebook sometime in March. I was quite comfortable in coding at the time but I am not a complacent person, so I was constantly searching for ways to improve myself. Enye promised mentorship by experienced software engineers. Throw in the fact that I’d also get to work on a project to help people in my society and I couldn’t resist the prospect. The best part is that I didn’t have to pay.

You just jumped right in?

Honestly, initially, I was skeptical about it because it looked too good to be true. I had joined similar programs before which all ended badly. But Enye’s selection process was as challenging as it was fun, so I knew I had to give it my best shot. Each challenge turned up the heat from the previous one. The rigorous selection process and the work and opportunities that lay ahead drowned my doubts about the program and convinced me that it would actually be worth it.  I got a software developer job offer the same day I got accepted into the cohort, but I turned it down because I felt Enye had more to offer me than quick cash.

What did the day-to-day work of an Enye cohort look like?

Well, it was really cool! Every Monday morning, my team discussed everything we wanted to complete by the weekend. Every other day, we had standup meetings by 9 a.m. where we reviewed the previous day’s work, what we intended to achieve that day, and whatever blockers we were experiencing. Saturdays were for demos of the previous week’s work with the founders. That way it was easy to have an overview of what everyone was working on, and also to help anyone having blockers. After that, we worked on our specific tasks. Once done, we’d be reviewed by the mentors and our fellow team members before the current work was merged to the existing code. The reviewing part was crazy because your code had to be airtight.

What project did you work on at Enye?

I worked on Leer, an application that helps high school leavers prepare for their O’Level exams. My team decided on Leer when we realized that tons of secondary school students can’t go on to higher institutions because they underperformed in their O’Level exams, effectively cutting short their academic dreams. We decided to build the platform to solve this problem; we added fun and engaging features like head-to-head quizzing, learning resources, and practice sections to ensure that user engagement is always fun and challenging.

What are some of the biggest takeaways from your time as an Enye student?

A lot of things, really. Uche, one of our mentors, has taught me to ‘fail fast, fail forward.’ I’ve learned teamwork. I’ve learned to write clean, optimum code so well that I couldn’t write bad code now even if I tried. My Javascript skills have increased remarkably, and I’m much more proficient in using premium tech such as Nextjs, Redux, Redux-saga, and many more. I have exceeded my initial expectations pre-Enye. I’m entirely grateful to the team for the work they do.

Cohort 2
Valentino Ugbala

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