Over the past one year as the Developer Student Club Lead, I have worked with amazing individuals who have helped me in my path. I have also received a lot of support. From the best program manager in the world, Daddy Auwal MS to the amazing staff of the University of Lagos—Dr. V Odumuyiwa, Dr. K Orolu, Dr. Ogunwolu, Mr. Abiola Olatunbosun and my amazing friends to many more I can not mention. I am extremely grateful.
Tuesday 6th of August, 2019 started as a regular day for me. Around 1:30pm, I got a mail from Komal Sandhu confirming my selection as the Developer Student Club Lead of the University of Lagos.
As a person who believes in sharing success stories, I took to Twitter to share the news and a lot of people commented and wished me luck.
My first step was having a lengthy discussion with my predecessor, Ebony Hope and it gave me a lot of insight into the current state of the community and the key things to improve on.
Afterwards, I proceeded to open applications for people to join my DSC Heroes Team (what others call Core Team) on August 13, 2019. Basically, I asked members of the community to send in their names, department, faculty, the roles they will like to play and why I should select them.
I divided the roles into:
- Physical Event Hero – the person in charge of hosting physical events.
- Online Event Hero – the person in charge of hosting online events.
- Twitter Hero – the person in charge of managing twitter and email communications.
- Instagram and Facebook Hero – the person in charge of managing Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp group.
- Slack Hero – the person in charge of managing slack.
- Content Hero – our in-house content ninja.
- Video Hero – the person in charge of telling our stories via videos.
- Branding and Design Hero – our in-house designer.
- Developer Hero – the person in-charge of leading developer projects.
- External Relations and Strategic Partnership Hero
- Developer Relations Hero – the person in charge of leading my tutors and mentors.
It’s safe to say that this approach didn’t really work well.😂
The first thing we did was to create an on-boarding system for existing and old members of DSC Unilag. This was done with a Google Form – http://bit.ly/unilagdsc . When a person fills the form, an email is automatically sent with details of Slack, WhatsApp group link, Socials etc. Afterwards, we add their email to a Google Group we use to communicate with all members.
The first event we hosted was a Meet-and-Greet with members of DSC to share my plans with them and introduce members of my team to them. See pictures here
The University’s website announced my selection as the new lead for my campus. This created a buzz and made more students know about the club. A downside was that people thought I was being paid for it because “Google” lol.😅
I was invited to attend SSA Community Summit where I met, interacted with my fellow leads in persons, attended sessions to learn both technical and soft skills, and had fun. One key advantage of the summit that proved extra helpful was that I could finally put a face to all the amazing leads I had talked with over the phone and my circle of international contacts grew as a result of DSC.
When I returned from the summit, we started a 5-week class on Python development, UI/UX, Mobile development and Web development. Unfortunately, the Mobile classes couldn’t hold due to logistic and internet issues as Mobile development consumes a lot of data. We were however able to hold classes twice a week, (Wednesday 3-5pm and Friday 4-6pm) for five consecutive weeks for the other tracks (Web development, Python development and UI/UX). With the help of my team, we presented a case to the DSC Team which got us a projector for the weekly classes that further eased the learning process for both the tutors and the students.
We hosted the Flutterwave Student Hackathon, University of Lagos on the 4th of October, 2019.
- 1st position — Team Bungalow (Led by Lawal Oluwatammilore)
- 2nd position — Team Rav’n (Led by Bakare Emmanuel)
- 3rd position — Team Orbit (Led by Akpan Anthony)
Our DSC members attended Tensorflow RoadShow on the 9th of October, hosted Hacktoberfest Unilag on the 11th of October (which was a really cool event to introduce a lot of members to open source) , attended DevFest Lagos on the 2nd of November and DevFest Ibadan which held on the 9th of November. I was invited as a Keynote speaker for the DevFest Ilorin.
One very interesting event we had was Food Fest, an evening where we gather, talk and connect over snacks and drinks. Members showed up without their laptops to relax and network among themselves.
At the end of the semester, before school went on break for the session, we hosted a three-day workshop where holiday classes were held on:
- Explore ML workshop
- Content Writing workshop
- Node-JS Workshop
- UI/UX Workshop
- Python Workshop
- Front-end Workshop
- Cloud Study Jam
In 2020, we hosted events around Solution Challenge where we had EBA train the students on design thinking.
We also hosted an event where we introduced Google CrowdSource to the students.
We resumed weekly classes pre-pandemic at three different faculties – Faculty of Science in partnership with SEG, Faculty of Engineering in partnership with ECX and Faculty of Social Science in partnership with SOSSA (this failed hehe 😂).
We also hosted a Cloud Study Jam, FSI Hackathon and started our study groups.
For this year’s HashCode event which we hosted in partnership with CITS Unilag, a team from Unilag had 24m+ points. One of the biggest feedback from HashCode is that students can thrive, you just need to give them an enabling environment.
After school closed because of COVID-19, we hosted International Women Day, Deploying TF Machine Learning Model, Getting Started with Accessibility on The Web, 30DaysOfCode, Firebase Cloud Functions, Open Hack Week among others.
Here are the lessons I picked up along the way:
- Partnership can open untapped doors for you. We were able to figure out a lot of logistics overhead by partnering with Engineering Career Expo (to train students in Engineering), Social Science Student Association (to train students in Social Science) and Society of Exploration Geophysicists (to train students in Sciences).
- Have an Inclusion Evangelist. DSCs aren’t only for STEM students. You should try to have people from other faculties that aren’t stem to be a part of your team so they can drive the growth of the club there.
- Clarity will come along the way. Just start. I didn’t know how I wanted to really compose my team until I was about 3 months in. That didn’t deter me though, I started and I iterated along the way.
- If something fails, try another approach. Breaking my team into heroes for different task didn’t work for some reasons. What I did instead was to now break it for every event. So for our weekly events in Engineering, we had Ifihan, Willy, Chris and Abdullahi there. For events in Social Sciences, we had Ridwan and Lateefah. For events in Sciences, we had Oma, Chidi and Ghost. And for other events that were not weekly events, I alternated the lead planner amongst my team mates. This approach worked better.
- Don’t give your friends free ticket to join your team. Your friends have good intentions, yes, but do they really want to be a part of your team? I let them apply normally and go through the application process. I had a tough time by keeping a friend on my team for so long even though he wasn’t delivering.
- Set clear guidelines and metrics for judging your team. This helped me set expectations, numbers and decide who to fire hehe.😂
- People are willing to help, you just need to make them understand how they can help.
- Study groups are great and are an easy way to help your community grow a smaller in-house club. Study groups are small groups of people who are on the same level and following same curriculum to achieve a set goal. We had a FrontEnd Study Group and a ML Study Group.
- Do not forget your personal growth. I was so focused on helping others grow that I almost forgot to grow.
- Share your story and journey. Please don’t keep it to yourself.
- Do not share your successes alone. Share your failures.
- There are a lot of technical skills tutorials online. Help your community make sense of the noise by curating content they can consume for them and add in a bit of soft skills training.
- We never completed the DSC Unilag Website. We started a three-phase project to build a DSC blog (completed), build the website for the club and a DSC Event template but we didn’t finish it. This is mostly because we didn’t prioritize it.
- We didn’t have a clear social media stategy.
- We didn’t figure out a content strategy so that we could put the blog we built to good use.
- We never finished and launched the pair mentorship program.
- We didn’t have a proper onboarding plan. So when members join the club and get the onboarding email to join the WhatsApp group and Slack, they were often lost as to what to do next, especially the beginners.
- We didn’t perfect the art of follow-up for our trainings.
Special thanks to my team members who illuminated light on the path and made life easy:
Abdullahi – super helpful in planning, led training of students, always available to take some load off the team and inspires me a lot with all the hard work and effort he puts in. Thank you, my dear friend.
Abimbola – helped managed our non-technical events, co-ordinated our swags, and made sure we got the best deals. Our life of the partyyyyyyyyyy.
Bami – my sweet Bami, if there’s anything I am proud of, it is that Bami is still in 100 level. How is someone so smart, brilliant and helpful so young? Led our FE Study Group
Chidi – my man! Co-ordinated our ML workshops and made sure the NGO part of OHW was successful. Thank you my G.
Ifihan – my Ifi! Thank you for always being my 2iC. Ifihan makes sure that even if we are tired, we must push on. I’m super proud of your growth over the past one year both on the technical skills and communications skills. I’m certain DSC is in good hands under your able leadership. My Lead!🙌
Irene – my super amazing Irene! Worked on the technical projects we had. Thank you, Irene.
Lateefah – Our Orange Girl! OHW Chair! I hail o! Lateefah is a sweet soul and always ready to help. Eventually led our OHW Team and worked on the SOSSA partnership team.
Christopher – Chrisssssssssssssssssssssss! Designer toh bad! All those fresh designs you see us churning out… All thanks to Chris.
Olamide – Olamide mi, our physical event hero! Thank you for all the stress you had to endure looking for venue for our events and setting up. You did really well.
Mbaoma – I’m super proud of Oma and your growth over the past one year. Oma led our communications team both Slack and WhatsApp.
Oseyemi – My very able head of logistics and money woman. Kept our finances in check and made sure our resources werekept safe.
Ridwan – Inclusion Evangelist. Helped spread DSC to Social Sciences and cordinated the trainings there. Thank you hot boy.
Timileyin – Prof T! My genius! Led all our developer related projects and executed it with style. We still get fight sha. Thank you Timi.
Williams – Willlllllllllllly my love! Willy has a super sweet soul and is a super amazing designer! Leads our design classes, helps out in event and uses his creative touch for all our amazing designs.
Heartfelt gratitude to all the amazing individuals I have worked with over the past one year – Usman, Olumide, Patrick, Abisola, Nifemi, Akinwunmi, Damilola, Imisi, John, Oni, Joseph, Yisau, CuriousPaul, Raji, CyberUltron, Tolu, Osas, Sulyman, Daniel, Temila, Adavize, Tamilore, LordGhostX, Adeniran, Tomiwa, Murtadore, Ebinyi, Okeya, Dada, Ore, Bukar, Samuel, Benjamin, Daniel, Feezy Hendrix, Olasunkami, Zubair, Bolu, Fortune, Ose, Babatunde, Sodiq, Jamal, Kruse, Precious, Joke and all the amazing individuals that made my last year worth living. Thank you.
Now, my watch has ended.