Getting Remote Experience In Your Early Career

On the 16th of June 2022, I hosted a Twitter space to discuss the ways early career stage techies can get work experience. We had amazing speakers that contributed to this conversation, and they are listed below:

  1. Sefunmi Osinaike, the Co-Founder of Co.Lab
  2. Helen Huang, the Co-Founder of Co.Lab

It was very insightful conversation, and the rest of this article is a transcription the Twitter space audio for you to catch up if you missed it.

ADORA (Host): Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, depending on where you’re joining this space from because this is a diverse audience and many of us are distributed across different parts of the world. For people that found the space without knowing me, I’ll do a quick introduction. My name is Adora and I’m also Software Engineer currently building Mixed Reality on the cloud, I’m also an Author, and I have an AdoraHack study group that I’m doing to create a safe space for people that are currently learning and have a ton of questions and no one to answer them, to be able to learn with their peers and grow with them and answer their questions. We hold office hours every week, I think the data structures class is the one that booms a lot, that’s the one that’s currently doing well. You can go check that out if you want to, I’d leave a link to that on the jumbotron. I would be introducing the two co-founders at Colab, Sefunmi, and Helen. I think I’ll leave them to talk about themselves, so I’ll start with Sefunmi, please tell me about yourself. 

SEFUNMI (Co-host): Thank you so much Adora for having me and also it’s great to see the stuff you’re doing for your community. My name is Sefunmi, nice to meet you all. I was born and raised in Nigeria, I moved to Canada 12 years ago to further my education, I went to the University of Waterloo and studied Electrical Engineering, it wasn’t particularly tech but I was fascinated by the stuff that was going on in Silicon Valley and I wanted to be one of them, didn’t know how to code or design but I still felt like I wanted a space in the tech industry. Many years ago, I decided to build a product and that’s where I got my first opportunity in a tech company. I started as an intern at Microsoft where Helen. Later on, I went to Apple in California, working on the iPhone I believe the 7+, I can’t remember it was a long time ago. Then after that, I worked as a product manager for about 5 years with different startups, and bigger companies in Canada and US, and now I spend most of my time working on Colab as the Co-founder with Helen. So now I’ll pass the mic to Helen to introduce herself. I’m super excited to chat about Colab, what we do and how we can give you our remote experience in your early career. So over to you Helen. 

HELEN (Co-host): Thanks Sefunmi, I’m excited to be here as well. It’s so funny how Sefunmi, Adora, and I have all been in Microsoft at one point in our career. I’m Helen and I’m one of the other co-founders of Colab. I was born in China and immigrated to Canada, where I also went to the University of Waterloo for Earth Sciences then I decided I did not want to be an earth scientist, so I wanted to pivot into tech. I ultimately was a Product Manager at Zynga, Microsoft, and Github before quitting to pursue Colab alongside Sefunmi. In terms of my interest, I love cats, I love dancing of all sorts and I’m also really digging into the Web 3 space right now. So again, super excited to chat with you all, and let’s have some fun. Okay, back to you Adora. 

ADORA (Host): Thanks Helen and Sefunmi. This is funny because listening to all of you, I’m still at Microsoft but it’s like every speaker in this space is currently or has worked at Microsoft at some point in their career. It’s interesting working in top companies and studying your career, you both were doing well, but somehow you decided to leave what you were doing in your 9-5s to come together and start Colab, just sort of telling everyone what Colab is about. 

SEFUNMI (Co-host): I’m really happy to take that one. Essentially, Colab is an online school and we focus on giving learners real-world experience, this is going beyond theory, if I’m going to break it down, we don’t teach people how to code or design or be a product manager, we don’t do any 0-1 instead what we do is we help people effectively work in a real-world environment, we simulate what it feels like to work in a tech company so that you can get industry mentorship for you to be able to succeed in the tech industry. Whether you are trying to break into the tech industry for the very first time or you’re trying to upscale, maybe you’re a developer and you’re trying to get more remote experience, you want to know what is like building on a remote team, actually going through some of the challenges, we help simulate that workplace environment while making it accessible to all. And so far, we’ve graduated 500 students across 25 different countries and we’re super excited to help people to be more confident, and more competent and place people in large tech companies, now I’m even proud to say we have our Alumni in Microsoft, Apple, Google, and other companies that myself and Helen couldn’t work out while we were in the tech industry. So that’s sort of what we do, we give people real-world experience so they can succeed in the tech industry. 

ADORA (Host): That’s nice, it’s not necessarily starting your tech career today, if you don’t know JavaScript come and learn it at the end of 3 months you should know, it’s not that, it’s more. I mean you’re going to learn because you’re going to be working in a simulated working environment, but the main goal is to give you valid experience that you can take into the real world and job market and then go find jobs. 

SEFUNMI (Co-host): Absolutely. 

ADORA (Host): I’m going to come back to a list of questions, but off the top of my head, if I were a Colab Alumni and I’m done with my Colab Bootcamp, I’d learned a lot and I’ve been part of that simulated work experience and I have that experience and I want to restructure my resume with the new that has happened in my career with the last couple month, I know that in boot camps, people normally put them in qualifications or Education, is it something that I can as put as valid work experience or an internship? 

SEFUNMI (Co-host): Absolutely, it’s a very common question even our students ask, with the Colab project, it is a real work experience, we help people with legit real-world experience because you are on a team with project managers, project designers, and other developers, you go talk to customers, you find use cases to build for, we see some of our students end up with nonprofit or small businesses to solve projects for them. So it’s real-world experience, think about it like a short time freelance experience, getting to do a bunch of stuff with a short amount of time and you can put that at the top of your resume, some people end up working on the projects beyond Colab we have people from our very first cohort from Colab the one we did in 2020 that we are still working on the project till today and through that experience, you get to put it on your resume you get to talk to hiring managers about it and that is what will give you a competitive advantage and sets you apart, even the things you’re doing on a day-to-day basis. We do have some of our alumni and we invite some people to speak about some of their experiences later on. I hope that answers your questions Adora. 

ADORA (Host): Yes, it does. Thank you so much. Now you’ve sort of told me what colab is about and I want to know why you started Colab, you and Helen I want Helen to take this one why did you both decide that okay this is a problem and this is something that I want to tackle want to create a see me later work environment for people seduce things before they get their first job, why did you want to do that? 

HELEN (Co-host): Yeah, I think Sefunmi and I have known each other for a long time and we have actually been friends for over 8 years and both of us when we were transitioning Into tech just that experience overall was very difficult, Sefunmi has his journey that he went through but at least for me I was coming from a non-traditional, non-technical background, I had studied earth sciences there was nothing that was overlapping at the time at least it’s felt like to me and I also didn’t have a community, I didn’t know anybody in tech I didn’t know all of these study groups that are like all the resources that were out there people that are looking to transition and level up in space. I was just that on my own and I remember I applied to over 500 jobs, out of those 500 applications I think I only landed about 4 interviews luckily I still ended up as a product manager at Zynga at Microsoft and then later on at Github but just that experience overall was really difficult rejection letters and they’d always say you don’t have enough experience but it was always like if I don’t have the experience I will need the job to get the experience but then you’re not giving me the job because I don’t have the experience and so Sefunmi and I had this problem in mind when we decided to start up Colab. We were like getting experience is hard, how do we help give people experience, there are so many courses, classes, videos, and books out there and all of those are helpful but how do we help solve the real problem of experience working on tech teams that’s how we came up with why don’t you go beyond theory and help people walk together and this cross-functional teams, let’s get a developer walk with a designer or a product manager to get that real-world experience showcase on their resumes and stand out from the crowd and we both felt passionate about it that we quit our jobs around this time last year and it’s been super exciting, it has been stressful but it has also been a lot of fun seeing some of the impacts and values we’re bringing. 

ADORA (Host): Oh wow, thank you so much. We have talked a lot about international companies and personal experiences. So personally, this whole you need a job to get experience, but somehow you need the experience to get a job, is something that I saw in my future. My journey into Microsoft is kind of funny, there was also a thing where I got an internship and I didn’t want to put the internship even after the time the Internship was supposed to be done because I was scared that if I don’t have enough experience I would not find another job I will not find another job so a 6-month internship became a 2-year internship just because of that. Imagine if I had Colab at the time, I wouldn’t have to do that. My next question about remote walk culture, something that has existed even before the covid, but post-covid, we’re seeing people get more remote opportunities, we’re seeing companies get more distributed as well so why do you believe that remote work is an important topic right now with the way the industry is going. 

HELEN (Co-host): So okay this one as well, funny that you mention post-covid because I agree are we post-covid or during covid? but yeah we have seen so many benefits of the switch to remote work first of all Colab is a completely remote company, as a company we have employees from Brazil, Nigeria, Philippines as well as here in Canada and the program is also fully remote and we put that where we made that in with some of the trends we are seeing as well. But in terms of benefits again, business benefits and there is increased productivity when people are working remotely from home, because it’s more flexible and easier for people to get started top that is actually translating so further employees happiness and satisfaction in general but of course an additional, it is also really just about the access, for companies, there is a lot of value to just being able to have access to great talent from all over the world. I think before they were structures in place which made companies feel like they weren’t able to tap into the talent resource. I feel like those structures are being challenged a little bit now with this move towards the remote. People, employees, and workers all over the world are starting to get a sense of hate, okay I can take my talents to this place which brings a lot of choices to each individual and I think that’s always for the better. 

ADORA (Host): Okay. What do you think are some of the barriers to remote work? 

SEFUNMI (Co-host): This is a very interesting question and I think about it a lot because there is so much talent in Nigeria, I mean I spent like 3 months earlier this year in Nigeria and the fact that I met so many talented people was like the world needs to see the talent coming out from Nigeria. I think number one is the network, I do think when you don’t have access to the International Network, that could be a huge barrier because if you think about the jobs you wouldn’t know the job that is available and what is likely to hire remote both outside of the job what are likely to hire remote both outside of the job boards and we know that most jobs happen through referrals or conversations or through like code DM or code Emails so if you don’t have access to that remote network knowing that someone is willing to hire a developer that is remote as long as you have the skills and needs the barrier. And a lot of Nigerians meet the barrier to those opportunities so access to that information is significantly lacking and I think that is preventing a lot of people from really exploring some of these opportunities, not just big tech companies but also startups and there’s a need to be a lot more work regarding making networking a lot easier, making access easier, job boards, anything that is user-generated or community generated to enable other people to have access to information that was previously on that under gig or not readily available. So I’ll say that’s sort of the biggest barrier because I don’t think it’s the perception, there are diverse ways of solving problems if you just go outside of your comfort zone they might have trouble reaching out to some of those people so I do think that there need to be a lot more solution that bridges that gap in terms of the information, the access, and community, so that’s sort of like what assets that I’ll see is popped one of the biggest ones that I’ve come across. 

ADORA (Host): Okay, thank you. Based on these things you’ve said, these barriers that exist, I know that in this part of the world for some people there are some technical problems they might have when they are trying to work remotely, trying to find a way around it and they have been working and trying to go to school remotely, so how can Colab help people with these problems you said the networking, the lack of information, and all of that stuff and there is like a part 2 of that question, which is what kind of exposure does the Colab experience give the learners in the program? 

SEFUNMI (Co-host): Yeah, so first of all I would like to explain how the program works, so people have context of what we do. In Colab, we put you in a cross-functional remote team, product managers work with product designers and software developers and the industry mentors and he get together for 8 weeks to build a product, you have such structures to programs, every week you have a particular milestone that you are supposed to hit to help you get to the goal of building a product at the end of the 8 weeks. So our curriculum sort of simulates what it feels like to work in a real tech company, it simulates the product development life cycle. In terms of actually being able to help, the first thing that we do is that we put you in a remote team already so whether you’re from Nigeria on North America you are guaranteed to be able to work with someone who isn’t in the same time zone as you, or a different background as you or different upbringing. So during the 8 months, the majority of your time you’re going to be spending most of your time with your teammates, the first week you’re going to be spending time trying to work in sync with people, what time do you meet? What tools do you use? What are the ways you can organize yourself so that you can do the things you’re supposed to do? so we throw you into the deep end so you gain some experiences immediately almost in real-time so you can gain some of those skills. Next up, we also provide industry mentorship, we have people who have worked with Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and  Facebook who are joining us as mentors and they will meet with these teams every week to understand how these things are progressing, and we get to talk about the project, some of these challenges that they are facing, having conversations about next options in their career or anyone that is hiring. We provide not only team industry mentorship but also that structure of understanding what it means to work in a team, knowing all the milestones you need to hit, and making sure that you are disciplined enough, and hard-working enough to be able to meet your goals. So these are the things that we can provide to them not to just mention also the community, once you go through the program you are part of the community and have access to the community of over 500 people who have gone through the program, ended up in different places, who regularly post jobs or post resources come together to organize different sort of things that are happening in our community that’s interesting whether it’s a book club or for interview prep or some of the amazing things. To summarise what I said essentially, we provide you with a team, of people from different parts of the world, we provide you with industry mentorship, structure, and community that you can benefit from whenever you want to ask for help to find the next task for things you need to do. 

ADORA (Host): Okay, thank you so much. This sort of led to my next question before we started the space, when we decided we are going to do this space together, I see that you have three tracks,  a track for Product Management Product Designer, and Software Engineering, how do people get to decide the truck that they want to join in Colab, what if there’s a thing where I am a software developer and I have experience building front end apps, but I want to switch to product design without taking any course is the product design boot camp at Colab enough for me to get started since I have zero Product Design experience, that question is more for Helen and there is a part 2 of that question where if I decide that I want to learn product design but I don’t know the first thing about product design, what is the assessment like to get into the boot camp? 

HELEN (Co-host): I think for us the main type of learning that we try to instill is learning by doing, right so we don’t want to learn all the details within a certain topic, we want you to learn the things that you need to get the job done so you do not work on something that’s if you are passionate about, alongside people that you care about. So again in terms of the admission process, we do have a two-step admission process where we speak to every single person that comes true. Of course, we have a lot of self-taught students, but what we need to see is just that desire to learn. say you were stuff to a developer about what you want to try out the production design track, what we need to see during your interview process and your admissions flow is that desire to be willing to put in the work, to leverage all the community resources you have, to have to get an effective output to the rest of my team. Speaking of the dev example you gave, I think what makes the part of the Colab experience fun for developers coming true is that they can choose what stack or what framework or what technologies to use with the rest of the team and I think it’s having that free-flowing project-based focus that is a lot of fun that just get people to show off their skills. Again, so so much and interviewing everyone keen to select the track that they want to pivot into, but just know that the core attributes of what we want to see from collaborators are people who are motivated, committed, and know that they are ready to put in the work it is an opportunity for growth and everyone is learning no one is an expert, we always like to say that you are here to learn with and from one another. But yeah, very open to beginners and we always welcome people that are career switching. 

ADORA (Host): Thank you so much Helen and I just want to say to people on this space, you’ve heard everything they said and I hope you’ve taken one or two things from this space, and shared some information about some interesting things towards the end of this space. If you have any questions, make sure to tweet using the hashtag. Before we go into the next section which is inviting some Colab Alumni to the stage, and talk to us about their experience, I have a question from a listener, I am one more thing to my Cloud Computing course with AltSchool Africa, what advice the both of you or one of you have for someone like me still learning to optimize my journey? 

SEFUNMI (Co-host): I’m happy to answer that and also shout out to AltSchool, I’m a big fan of what they’re doing. it’s also a great question because I really like how you are already thinking about how to stand out and how you can move forward so I think the first thing definitely person in the work, go beyond what you are learning the curriculum because our curriculum will give you one perspective of how cloud computing is supposed to be, so I think it’s important and that’s just like challenges online a different problem I would always recommend working on a project with people, if you can find a way to work on cloud computing Project whether it’s just for free or with a couple friends or if you can find a client and just to do something, already setting you apart from everybody in the class who’s just doing assignments, so being able to just look ahead and think that, if you are sitting in front of a hiring manager, and they’re trying to see why you are just better than person A or person B, you need to be able to have at least 3 things that you have done and that could be that you have done a project with friends or a client, and that’s why you’re ready stand out compared to every other person who is just going with their final certificate or project. So it’s never too early to start the process even though you are one, two, or three months in, try to find a bunch of opportunities or network, try to reach out to a bunch of people, you can read Adora’s book on cloud computing and join Communities that will essentially put you towards be problems and doing a bunch of challenges, that’s my biggest advice for you and I’m so sorry that’s we don’t have cloud computing arm for Colab if not I would have recommended it here, join Colab, build Project, use real-world applications to set you apart and give you a competitive advantage. 

ADORA (Host): Thank you so much Sefunmi for answering that question, you’ve said it all. I’m going to hand over to Sefunmi to invite the Colab Alumni to the stage. 

SEFUNMI (Co-host): I’m excited to hear the final announcement before I even invite anyone to speak, one thing about Colab is despite having a high placement rate, I think 85% of people who join our program end up landing jobs or promotions within 3 months of completing the program, we don’t promise jobs similar to any boot camp, no boot camp is going to tell you that immediately you graduate, we are going to give you a job you do need to put in the work but we’d like to see that we create that environment that gives you all the resources that you need and if you are genuinely looking if someone posts a job in the job board and you are networking and reaching out to a hiring manager and networking with people in the community, referring one another, maintaining that relationship with the mentor that you’ve got, again some mentors hire directly from our program, if you’re doing all these things, then success is the outcome. I wanted to call that out, I don’t want to say that if you join Colab, you’ll land a fine job or you’re going to work at Microsoft, but you still have to put in the work, every person that has succeeded by Colab is by their merit, we give them that environment but ultimately they still put in the work to be successful. The first person I’d like to invite Jibola, he recently finished our program, talk about your experience a little bit, tell us who you are, what you’re doing right now, and how Colab was able to play a role in that. 

EVERYBEES (Speaker): Thank you very much, this is a very great platform for me to be able to share my experience and also hear myself speak. Sefunmi, thank you so much for the opportunity, I’ll just get to share my experience with Colab which is a very Wonderful platform, they have been able to link me up with opportunities, and I’ve been able to interact with wonderful tools but mostly my tech journey is a very funny one, from mechanical engineering to software development but majorly I have been able to get seats remotely which is the most exciting news this year. Before that, I was working for a local tech company and I always knew that I wanted something else, I wanted that peace of mind that remote work gives, where I get to have the freedom of time. I’ve always been looking for, always been applying but unluckily for me, I never got any follow-up, I got the opportunity from a friend to join Colab and fortunately for me, I got a scholarship. The first two weeks, we were introduced to very familiar attempts, agile methodology, building with a close meter of skilled people, so we were just 4, we had a product manager based in Canada, a designer who was based in Germany, a software developer based in Brazil and me in Nigeria. It’s also very interesting that I get to work with a distributed team that eventually Aided, I think it was what helped me in getting my remote gig. I learned a lot from these guys having to share different types of experiences, the one that I can never forget and I am very appreciative of is being able to work on a product that even though it’s not large-scale we were able to build as little as an MVP which also broadened my horizon, gave me more insight on the possibilities building something similar in a foreign country also in Nigeria, so it’s called the Ameno, it’s a restaurant solution where we’re trying to display the QR code, more or less like a PDF kind of menu that is being displayed to users or guests. So, I was faced with that problem when I went to a restaurant and then, unfortunately, on the menu that was served before my order arrived, I saw a particular price but when I wanted to check out, I saw a different price, immediately that solution hit up, it was like yes, this would work. But majorly, the thing that was able to help me in securing my current job, as I was asked the question, do you have any experience working with a distributed team? Before joining Colab, I was working with a local team and it was mostly onsite. I think I wouldn’t have been able to answer that question properly if I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to join Colab. Fortunately for me, I was asked that question, and I already had that project that I worked on. This and many more opportunities are opened to those that will join Colab, you’ll be able to come in contact with many tools and opportunities in your way to be able to work with a distributed team and you’re going to be exposed to veterans in the industry. Our Manager was someone who was already experienced, who was a product manager in a top tech company in the states. This is just a summary of my experience in Colab, I don’t have all the time so I’ll pass the mic to Sefunmi. Any questions? I’ll be hoping to answer. 

HELEN (Co-host): Thank you so much for sharing all of that and your experience in general, I love how you got to experience the same problem that you were solving within your team, I think that is awesome. 

SEFUNMI (Co-host): Thank you so much, it’s very refreshing to connect back with you again and I love what your team built, your team is one of the teams completely distributed, you didn’t have two members at the same time zone which sometimes can be a challenge, but it’s nice to see that you overcame that challenge and ended up building something amazing, thank you so much for sharing. 

EVERYBEES (Speaker): Thank you for the opportunity too. 

SEFUNMI (Co-host): Of course, you’re also a good member of the opportunity and I appreciate that. I want to pass it on to Micheal, I would love for you to meet yourself, talk about your Colab experience a little bit and share some of the main big learning that you got from the program. 

MICHEAL (Speaker): Thank you. I’m a senior front-end developer at Newage Solutions, I’ve listened to Sefunmi and Helen speak about the Colab experience and the joy I experienced, I don’t think they’ve properly represented that because it is beyond what they have said here, I think it’s when you get involved you’ll know what the value is, the content that they’ve carefully created for us the students to learn all those things. I’ve taken a process to an approach to talk about my experience before Colab, during, and after Colab. Before Colab, I finished from the University of Lagos, Marine Biology that is Biological Sciences, I had no connection with tech and software development but I’m a self-taught developer but something differentiated me from other developers during my process of learning, which was building personal projects, as a Nigerian, they’re key projects you build when you’re learning development like a calculator, todo lists and all of that and all those stuff you’d never move past and I think that became a problem because whenever I send my portfolio to whomever it is, and they see the project, it would be like this person had a proper development experience and so to say. That was going on and on but I had gotten a new job but where I was, it was more or less like a waterfall methodology, just take this task, do it, once you’re done take the next task, there was no proper communication between the developer and the Designer. I was sharing my experience with Kelvin who is also here, shout out to kelvin, he was like I think there’s a cohort coming on, can you apply? And I’m not a fan of filling very long forms but I just went ahead to fill that, then got interviewed by Helen, and I got a scholarship to come to join Colab. Fortunately for me, I was assigned a new project at my workplace and I had to juggle things simultaneously which was tasking for me, but the first orientation we had blew my mind already, with the way it was properly conducted and when I and my teammates had to go to our hub to check for our content, it was so mind-blowing and I said I think I’m at the right place. the journey started so now I’m inside my experience in Colab, I was paired with a software developer in Canada, a product designer in Portugal, and a product manager in Mexico, like Sefunmi said, there’s no point in time we operated in the same time zone when I had to sacrifice my night just to jump on meetings and brainstorming sessions with my teammates. My experience during Colab was massive because there are lot of contents that became valuable to me even after Colab, where I currently work, during the interview process, I was interviewed as a normal software developer, but the way I spoke with confidence Colab has given me and the project that I had worked on which I explained to them, the CEO was on the call and said you know what Michael, there is a senior role available, do you think you can sign up for that? I was like I came here for a front-end developer and I am leaving with a senior role, it’s part of the confidence that Colab has given me during my time in Colab, and the project we worked on, Pocket Me was the name what’s the name, it is almost the same thing with Abeg, but we found out that it’s quite an issue for everyone to track their content when I mean their media content like music, podcast, documents, down to your tweets there are some tweets that you bookmarked and you think you would look at it in the next minute and just totally forget about it, what pockets did was just too centralized and have one source of truth for all this content that you might want to view, watch, listen or read another time, we did that and got the MVP but we are still working on some few updates in the app. That’s my experience during Colab, and my experience after Colab, currently I’m in a senior role and everything just seems right to me every document, experience, and interpersonal relationship skills that I could have ever used for my team, I had already gotten it from Colab, is just played out nice and the first few months of my current job was very seamless and they were kind of surprised because Nigerians like straight to the answer stuff they don’t want to follow due process and I brought in process and procedures into the company, this should be done the right way and this is how it should be done, and it was done because I got all of all these documents and experiences that made me shine in my current workplace. that is me pretty most wrapping up my experience before Colab, during Colab, and after Colab and I will be eternally grateful for the experience that Sefunmi and Helen have given me, I was on a scholarship anyways, special shout-out to Kelvin, he went on multiple documents just for me and my team to release this our products, there were multiple times we had to work from 8 P.M. till 2 A.M, he.  wasn’t even in our cohort and that is a very good thing about the sacrifice that Kelvin made. Thank you so much for the opportunity, that’s all. 

Helen (Co-host): Thank you so much listening to all of this is very great and this is great hearing from you again shout out to you for putting in the work like you said hours are sometimes hard to manage but hey you got it done and that is why you deserve the new roles that you are in and sort of the newfound confidence in the community. So thank you so much. 

ADORA (Host): Thank you so much, Micheal. We have one more Colab alumni come to share the experience on the space and then I will drop the announcement. Oladele, if you can hear me tell us your experience when you were a Colab student. 

OLA (Speaker): Okay, thank you very much. Good Evening, I would like to start from my journey into tech, I’m an engineering student and I worked in an engineering firm, as part of my part-time side hobby, I decided to pick up on tech, HTML, CSS, and python, I learned little by little, built some small apps based on YouTube videos, and I said after all these things I’ve learned, I’ll go into tech properly but I was already finding it difficult landing a job because of can be a self-taught developer and be very good, but most companies and team are looking for practical experience and that’s what I lacked. I was just lucky enough to bump into Colab, I applied and I was accepted into the program, my experience in Colab was very helpful and the experience you can’t get on your own, I got Colab, working in a team, communication, conception, thinking of an idea, thinking of the other parts of building this product, thinking of the challenges, working in everybody in the team to make sure the product is available at a particular stick that timeline, all those priceless experience you actually can get on your own, that is why I’m grateful for Colab. So after that,  I applied for just one job after Colab, a side gig, it was a contract based and it was a big team, it was a startup but we had a diverse team, and the fact that I was able to work with Colab, I was able to work with product managers, product designers, software developers. I was able to get that experience with them, it helped me secure the position. I applied for and that is where I am currently. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a member of the cohort and a member of the Colab team. 

SEFUNMI (Co-host): Thank you all so much for sharing amazing stories about your experience, I do appreciate it and again we saw something very amazing, and every one of you that’s allowed us to bring you into the program, we don’t accept everyone who joined our program but you saw how hard-working and dedicated you are, you can all see that shortly after you completed the program, you were able to move forward in the next tips of your career and I want you all to know that it is by your merit and we are grateful that you allowed us to be part of your journey into the next steps in the Tech industry. So thank you so much for trusting us with your, career your time, and the effort that you used to build impactful products, get to the next day and I’m excited about the things that you continually do, thank you so much for being great members in the community and for speaking, I know we still have some alumni in this space boots remind me to get the time to speak to everyone, I wanted to pass the mic to Adora for the upcoming announcement that we want to make moving forward. 

ADORA (Host): Okay, thank you Sefunmi, I have added this week to the jumbotron, AdoraHack study group is partnering with Colab to empower entry-level software developers,  and the first of many things we are going to do is to offer 50,000 USD worth of scholarship to people to join Colab so that they can get these experiences if you want to be a part of that and apply to Colab, you’ve heard some of these amazing things and you want to start your career I guess remotes work experience so that you can advance your career maybe in a few months from now you will be in another Twitter space talking about your tech journey, take a look at the tweet on the jumbotron. Thanks, there is more but I would want Sefunmi and Helen to comment on this partnership but before we do that, I want to quickly ask a question that I just saw come through, so Sylvia said, thanks Adora for this I had just gone through the Colab page and there is no cost pathway, is there a plan for people in the data space? things like this are easily forgotten. Sefunmi and Helen, I know that there are no data analyst cohorts or courses at the moment but is there a work-in-progress plan for all these other fields, I mean someone talked about cloud earlier and now we are hearing data analysis, and there is a plan for all those beyond software engineering as the general software engineering program, product management, and product design, are there other plans? 

HELEN (Co-host): That’s a great question, so right now we are mainly comprised of product management, product design, and engineering but we have gotten requests for things like cloud, DevOps including data but for now none of those programs are technically in the works but we are always trying to think of ways to make things still according to learning by doing brand that we are built on, so if anyone ever any idea of how can you learn cloud DevOps, ETC in a way that is learning by doing with others, we are always happy to take them, we are always happy to take the experts in to create a curriculum and focus on delivering some great stuff, so thanks for that suggestion. 

ADORA (Host): Okay, thanks, Helen. So, if you are into cloud engineering, data analytics, or other fields that aren’t mentioned, (AR/VR), Helen said that is something that could be a work in progress and you just pay attention to what the future might have, I mean relatively new initiative and as the company grows, everything grows, there will be more tracks. Based on everything I’ve said I would like Sefunmi and Helen to make their comments and what it means for them as Colab and giving back to the community. 

SEFUNMI (Co-host): First of all, I wanted to say a big shout out to Adora none of this would have been able to happen without you, shout out to everyone, I love another frustrated about everything you have been doing for your community for the longest time which is one of the biggest is tuition and driving force this partnership, this wouldn’t be able to happen, anyone that joins Colab as a result of this scholarship, know that it is Adora that this could happen. When I was in Lagos, I spent a lot of time talking about how we could partner with each other because you were very passionate similar to myself and Helen about making it easier for other people to transition into tech, you can go and succeed, transform lives and build products that you are excited about and solve real-world problems, that can make society better as a whole. So, we have that’s a mission and I think it was just like a no-brainer to say how can we make this happen and when you talked about your community, I’ve been there for a couple of weeks now and I can see how lovely it is which is why we are specifically making it for AdoraHack study group, the community because everyone there is so passionate, so Gifted is just an honor and privilege to serve those kinds of people which are our favorite signs of people that we know who to put into work, we know that they have what it takes, what is missing is just the opportunity, I want to be able to provide that opportunity it means a lot to me to see more people like Michael, Jibola and Oladele, who come into our program and excelling in their careers, solving problems, being able to do the things that they love doing, it just warms my heart that we can make that happen. Like I said, play a small role, this is all on you we are big believers, and the fact that you belong in tech, it’s our mantra, the name of our blogs, we’ve written books about it, how you can actually from whatever background come on and how you can develop your skills create something amazing. It means a lot to me that people look like me, are like me, and sound like me to excel and I think that this is just the start, I’m super excited to see people who end up signing up for this, hopefully, we can do something bigger next year, I’m very grateful to you Adora for making this happen, we are excited to see the amazing things that people build moving forward. We do have 2 cohorts happening in the remainder of the Year, one in September, and one in October, you’re hoping to spend a bunch of the scholarship dollars doing those cohorts and would sort of like reset that to see what we can do next year, so I’ll just pass it on Helen for final comments and we would take it from there. Thank you so much Adora and thank you all for being present and listening, we do appreciate it. 

HELEN (Co-host): Final comments, I feel like you just said an amazing bunch of really great stuff, I don’t even know how to follow up on that, thank you so much Adora for making this partnership possible, I know that we connected late last year, you and Sefunmi were able to stay connected hanging out in Lagos all I can say is next year if we have bigger plans, I plan on coming to Nigeria maybe can run some in-person events, but other than that, just excited to have this opportunity to do something I’m giving back to the community and continue to be strong call throughout all of this and we will both continue to make impacts. 

ADORA (Host): Thank you so much Helen and Sefunmi, so that we don’t take too much of your time. I will be ending this space right now, if you have questions, you can still tweet them and use the hashtags and we would respond in sync on Twitter. Thanks, everyone for joining and sharing this space, share this with your friends, we’d like to get more Nigerians in remote opportunities as much as we can so let’s do this for the culture, let’s do it for everyone, more Africans, I’m excited about the space and thanks everyone for showing up did you rest of your day or night. Bye!

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