Shodipo Ayomide, a Nigerian that got into Stack Overflow—a global tech firm
Shodipo Ayomide's education and career journey has been exhilarating. Read my account of his story, after listening to him for over 3 hours.
Shodipo Ayomide is a Nigerian Senior Developer Advocate based in Lagos, Nigeria.
He has worked at TechPoint as a Software Engineer, VanHack as a Developer Advocate and recently got an offer from Stack Overflow. The Stack Overflow job makes Shodipo Ayomide one of the very few (if any) Africans based in Africa to be hired by the global company.
Over the past few years, he has led and contributed to the running of major communities in Africa like the unStack Africa, Facebook Developers Circles Lagos, and Open Source Community Africa. Also, he speaks and moderates sessions at conferences. He moderated a session on "Working Remote" at the GDG Lagos DevFest 2018.
There is a lot to uncover about the young man's eight years of experience programming and managing developer programmes. So, on Thursday, January 7, 2021 I caught up with him and we had a conversation over lunch.
Shodipo Ayomide's Growing up
Shodipo's path to tech is unconventional. Although the man has made enough money to pursue an online MBA from Harvard Business School in 2020, he did not go through Undergraduate studies at a University. Yet, he will be resuming his MSc next month. "My educational path is something else, it's complicated", he admits.
Shodipo is the last child of three children and as such was dealt with more levity than his older siblings. "I grew up in a family of three children. My father is a plumber and my late mother sold drinks and other things", he says. While listening to his story, I found many similarities with mine.
He grew up in Agege, a not-so-wealthy suburb and Local Government Area in Lagos State. My family also grew up in Agege too but while he was raised in Fagba-Iju, I was raised around the Pencinema axis.
One major thing his father was able to do for him and his siblings was send them to a good secondary school. Little did he know that his secondary school was going to be the start of his journey into the world of programming and tech. Shodipo Ayomide says "I attended Providence Heights Secondary School, a private school at Fagba. I first heard about programming from my ICT teacher in my first year of Senior Secondary School. My school introduced us to Java and C. And I maintained a curiosity about how computers and system applications worked.". But, he didn't have the means to get a laptop.
While he was still in high school, he sold game CDs and made money off it. To achieve a profit, he would buy a pack of CDs at a discounted price from Computer Village, Ikeja. Then, burn the games onto each CD and sell them one by one. Overtime, he made enough money to get a laptop for himself. After buying the laptop, his programming journey accelerated. Not too long after, he had picked up a wide range of languages including HTML, C#, and C. "My (programming) path was scattered", Shodipo tells me.
His father wanted him to become a Pilot, but he was scarred from the news of a fatal plane crash that happened close to his house. "I was too afraid of plane crashing", he told me. Instead, Shodipo Ayomide wanted to become a developer just like someone in his church who built a payment solution for the church.
Contrary to his father's wish, Shodipo didn't become a Pilot but recorded early success by getting a job as a Web Developer and making his own money, however little it was. "At the time, I was earning ₦5,000 (per month)", he told me. "What parents really want is for their kids to be successful", says Shodipo Ayomide, reflecting on his journey.
The progression of Shodipo Ayomide's career
"My first job was as a Web Developer and Graphic Designer at NDM Company in 2013", Shodipo says. He worked at NDMC for two years before starting his first business, Avicsoft Interactive—a software solutions company which he ran for another two years before shutting it down in 2017.
"At Avicsoft Interactive, we made money...I ate all the money because I didn't understand how business worked." He would later take his learnings to the new company—Fremer Inc—he founded in June 2018. Fremer Inc focused on building software products end-to-end for startups. "Fremer Inc made a ton of money. Our first project came from Silicon Valley and that was big for us. I was excited about that. We had about 13 employees", says Shodipo Ayomide.
Shodipo's Fremer leveraged on his relationships and experience working with communities to prepare the startups they worked with for accelerator programmes like the Facebook (FB) Start Accelerator.
While running Fremer, he got an offer to join TechPoint Africa as a Software Engineer, which he did for seven months, before joining a Canada-based company, VanHack as a Developer Advocate in April 2018.
Ever since then, he has always worked remotely for international companies.
VanHack marked his first entry into the world of Developer Advocacy, a relatively new and overlooked field. "A lot of people feel like Developer Advocates just do community work, fly up and down. I believe Developer Advocates should be treated better. I understand why people downplay the work of Developer Advocate because some don't know about the engineering side of being a Developer Advocate", says Shodipo Ayomide.
Since 2018, his influence has grown as an Entrepreneur, Software Engineer and Developer Advocate. I asked about what has stood him out as a Developer Advocate and he said that the fact that he had things he had worked on before.
He is a Technical Instructor at egghead.io, Media Developer Expert at Cloudinary, GitHub Star and Host of DevRelChat.
On getting a Job at Stack Overflow
Before settling for the job at Stack Overflow, Shodipo interviewed with Google, Facebook, Amazon, Orbit, and GitLab.
For many of Shodipo's assessment, he would go the extra mile to build a front-end, and purchase a domain name to be used for the submission. "So, how many domains do you have now?", I asked. "About 25", he replied.
Throughout the different interview process at the different companies, he says that he was looking for something specific that he would love. "I was looking for somewhere I know I would do what I really love doing long-term and it was really specific", he says.
"My interview process at Stack Overflow started in October 2020 and by December I had an offer to start this month" says Shodipo. He will be joining the Stack Overflow team working in-between the Community and the Platform Engineering team.
Update made at 12:35AM, Jan 11, 2021.