Guest Post: Emerald Adjei

I missed about five calls. I almost missed the opportunity to meet amazing people. I had seen the number calling countless times but I told myself I can’t pick that call, cos I was ‘busy’.

The number kept calling so I decided to pick one evening. “Is this Emerald Adjei?”, the voice asked. I replied. “This is Ibrahim from Global Summer of Code, I was calling to confirm your attendance of the program and to find out if you would need accommodation. My huge eyes almost fell out of their sockets. I screamed. This was a free program and now free accommodation? Of course, count me in. 💪🏾

This was my first ever Code camp and first ever hostel experience so I had mixed feelings.

The day finally came, I was all up in my game, excited. I got to the venue quite early but eventually the doors were opened, the tutors(Ben and Alex) walked in all smiles and ready with a huge bag containing Pis.

The first day was for introductions, the intros went this way, [second year: Computer Science, final year: Computer Engineering, first year: Computer Science, second year: Electrical Engineering], I was like, dude okay this is going to be tough. This is really a Code camp. There I was a Psychology student with interest in Programming, how was I going to impress the tutor when there are so many computer science students here? Lol

The first day was intriguing, we got ourselves Raspberry Pis. Funny thing is, I had heard about Raspberry Pi before. A friend had been talking nonstop about them and their superpowers in a ‘tiny body’. I decided, what better way to make him jealous than send him a picture of my Pi and all the ‘cables’?

The first week passed by smoothly. We had our Raspberry Pis installed successfully and I had bagged the very basics of GitHub, trust me, I’d been trying to get this for more than a year. In my ‘pocket’ and my notepad were notes to help me .git add and commit my projects with ease and notes on how to use a terminal in Linux. In my “bag” was also the basics of Python, we got the [“Lists”] and {“Dictionaries”} and gave them var = {“with: keys”}.

What intrigued me most about the first week was the Command Line and how the Pi/Computer can be controlled/used using small lines of commands. The Command Line was used for practically everything, from the installation of Python to the changing of the Time and Date on the Pi.

By the close of week Two, we had been through HTML, CSS, Web Apis, Advanced Python, used our Raspberry Pi cables and bread board to turn lights on and off, make so much noise with just a click and perfect arrangements on a small piece of board and few lines of code – I felt like an Electrical Engineer.

Favorite part of week two was meeting Gjeta and Damask, these ladies spoke passionately about their jobs and how intriguing it was. In a country where 1 in a 1000 women are in the tech sector, their passion alone could have turned more girls into wanting to be in the IT sector.

I had my very own special moment with Sam, we spoke about our love and dislike for JavaScript, a program you cannot do without when it comes to the Web. While preparing for our project, we had the opportunity to talk to Gjeta about our project and get more suggestions.

The third week was intense, Miriam, Bernard and I worked on a task management application with a public forum, I must say we underestimated the stress/miscommunication that can happen when working in a team but we had a Superhero (Ben Evans). The planning was ‘amazing’, we had sketches and everything. We knew who was going to work on the Frontend and Backend, the person who was going to do the research. Funny enough, we never thought about how we were going to put the frontend and backend together. At the end of the week, we had a working product with some bugs and a ‘hurried’ version of the frontend. We still presented it though and we killed it, I think.

In all, it was an amazing three weeks, for the first time in my journey to becoming a Software Engineer or QA Engineer, I had people I could talk to. I had the ‘amazing all smiles Ben’, ‘extremely helpful Alex’, ‘helpful in a funny way Sam’, ‘inspirational Gjeta and Damask’ and awesome ‘I will pull a chair and help you solve that problem Chris’. Even though it was just a couple of weeks, I learnt as much as I would in a year.

Lessons Learnt

  1. The command line can be your best friend if you know what you are doing.

  2. You can really get a project done in a short amount of time if you put in the work.

  3. No, the front end and the back end cannot be joined together smoothly like magnets.

  4. Working in a team isn’t as smooth as you see on TV.

  5. Good Communication in a team is very important.

  6. Being a Software Engineer is not just about the code, communication, understanding of the logic of the product; your team and everything in between matters more than the Code I guess because without all this in place, your Code will not function properly.

We are so repeating this next year.