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Johnson Ogwuru
Johnson Ogwuru

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2019 - The Path to Growth

Hey, Johnson from the past, I got your letter about traveling abroad. Lol. I’m sorry to disappoint you man, you are still in Nigeria. By the way, this is Johnson from the future. But like you already know, I’m no bringer of bad news alone, so I’m pretty much going to tell you, You had a bang of a year in 2019. From getting a job to losing it and getting another.
Well Let’s start and entertain our readers gradually, shall we?

Making sacrifices for Growth

2019 started with me having a strong disagreement with my parents concerning a career decision I was about making, a decision that led to a lot of ehhhhhh🥴 and ahaa🤯 moments in my life. So the thing is, I was working in a company where I was sort of like the star developer and for me, that didn’t feel right, I knew I wasn’t growing, but I was earning good money, something some dev's in Nigeria would be comfortable with. But you know it isn’t just about the money most times in tech, rather is what you know and how competent you are at defending it. That’s what gets you the next best gig. So I set plans in motion, I was going to work for a Nigerian company, that has lots of devs and a good track record of producing great Engineers and by February of 2019, I left my previous company and joined Andela by April 2019.

Joining Andela for me then meant accepting a compensation 30% of what I used to earn and it also meant I had to either pause on the side gigs I had or let them go, most of which I let go of (this wasn’t Andela’s doing, I decided on this because I needed less distraction at the time).

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Yeah, I know that was crazy, but to me then what mattered was the growth coming my way and the relationships I was going to build working with amazing Engineers. Well, it all worked out well.
For a start I got enrolled at Lambda School with all expenses paid for by Andela. Joining Lamba School opened me up to a world of crazy possibilities and networks, I can comfortably boast of having friends around the world right now from India to Europe. That move was what got me something I never had in the bags for 2019, but it happened. Well, it didn’t all work out as I planned.

The hard times

Losing my job

By September 2019, I got the shocker of the decade, I lost my job due to some complicated issues, my 6months old Job, lol. The same Job I had sacrificed my well-paying Job for, not because I wasn't technical enough. The reason can be found here.
I was bitter for the best part of 2 weeks. But during that time I got to realize that I got what I came for, the growth, the relationships, the experience working in a fast-paced environment and that was when I came out of my bitterness.

House rent and Upkeep sets in

Just then I got hit with another realization, my rent was expiring the same month. was a little depressed, no I was depressed!!!!! 😂, but fortunately, we got paid our severance package, combined with my savings I paid off my rent and had some money left for upkeep. I realized I was going to be in serious financial crisis if I wasn’t careful, the least I could stay without a job would say 4 or 5months. So I set out to find another job.

Several interviews and failings...

I set plans on how to move on, prepared 5 variations of my Resume and 25 different cover letters, all ready for some serious, high-level Job application stuff.

I have a bookmark of companies hiring remotely and others requiring relocation I had started compiling since 2018, so I kicked it open and started applying to each of them, I was applying to 10-20 Jobs every day except for Saturdays and Sundays, I felt the recruiters needed some rest away from work.
At the time, rejections were dropping like 2 or 3 a day, It was tough, but I got used to it. Funny thing is, I didn’t just get used to being rejected, I got used to interviewing, it became more fun than boring. I felt I was learning a lot so I kept on applying for any Job that seemed fun and challenging. In some days I’m sure I applied for 30 jobs or more, it was fun, the rejections were cool, the interviews too, I even interviewed for a managerial position I was sure I wasn’t qualified for just to know what it feels like.

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Funny thing is, two of the rejections I got were because the companies chose to go with a different candidate they felt was asking for something lower than what they were offering me, not even what I was asking, crazy right?
After the rigorous application process and technical interviews, the first one had me go through. They asked for a rate which I gave them, they gave me their offer, which wasn’t nice, but was something I could accept, so I opted to think about and accepted, only for me to be slammed with a rejection mail the week I was supposed to receive an offer from them, stating that the opted for another candidate whose rate was lower than the offer they wanted to give me.
The second company accepted me after the interviews, we didn’t discuss price since they already had a price labeled on their career page and I was cool with was on the page, it was cool money mehn, I was happy that I was going to blow, lol😂. Then it dawned on me when I got an email from them the day I was supposed to resume, that they won’t go ahead with me because, well you can guess.
It was meant to be a 9 months contract and I lost it also because they didn’t want to pay what they advertised again and because they found a cheaper labor.
Amidst all of this, I was still hitting it hard;

Achievements 0f 2019

  • I got to attend 2 conferences and volunteered In one, which was part of my goals for 2019
  • I completed the Hacktoberfest challenge for the first time, contributing to open source projects
  • My articles reached over 100k readers and had over 4k interacting with them
  • I wrote another 15 articles this year, some of which were accepted by the community, my best being
  1. Demystifying the JavaScript call stack
  2. Optimizing React Components with Error Boundaries
  3. Introduction to Higher-Order Components(HOCs)In React

You can find the rest here

  • Smashed through 3k contributions on Github and had a streak of 322 days of active contributions on Github

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  • Got into Lambda School which was so fun and eye-opening
  • I started getting paid to write about certain technologies, and I’m currently writing for 3 companies so far. These weren’t included in the 15 articles I talked about.
  • Lastly, my 3 weeks of Job hunting paid off, by the end of October 2019, I got an amazing offer from a company In the BVI(British Virgin Islands), and by November 2019, I resumed as a Remote Software Engineer, after submitting over 200 applications and 50 rejections. Something I didn't think was going to happen in 2019. It has been an amazing experience so far, I have grown more attached to my bedroom 🤪 and laptop. And yes I still miss interviewing.
  • I drew closer to God as well, because I had more time studying and reading about him and his will.


2019 won’t have been fun completely without appreciating a few of these people,

  • Gift Egwenu and Paradise Kelechi, these two were instrumental in my getting into Andela, they prepared me for what was expected, interview preparations and through the recruitment phase.

  • Everyone I met at Andela, awesome folks, you guys are amazing, our early morning gist and evening arguments before the close of work. It was fun working with you guys. Ezekiel, Benjamin, Melvine, Noble, Kelechi, Nabeelah, Chinedu, Timi, Yusuf, Kunle, Yemi, Pascal, Basil, Anu, Vincent, James, Wasiu.

  • Sarah Chima has proved to be a friend in troubled times, she is one of the people I can comfortably say I look up to. And I know has my back any day. Though we have some shared goals we didn’t complete lol 😂.

  • Benjamin Grabow, Matt Hardman, Anna Winther, amazing folks I’m proud to call friends now.

  • Samar Vir, Dude legit sent me poems when I lost my job, made sure I was mentally stable at all times and has been an amazing friend.

  • Steve and Tomi, these are my best friends any day, they have always been there for me.

  • Sarah Drasner and Angie, thanks for the motivations and encouragements, whenever I reach out to you guys.

  • Ogay, one person that has always been there for me, the good and the bad times, I appreciate you alot my paddy. Gelic 😛

Things I'm looking forward to in 2020

Next year, I’m looking forward to doing a lot of stuff;

  • Traveling the world, but I’m starting from Africa though.
  • I planned on giving a talk this year but failed on this because I didn’t submit much CFP’s. So I’m pushing it to 2020.
  • I plan on becoming a mobile Engineer by the end of 2020, right now it's just a passion I want to explore.
  • Create some contents on YouTube and write more articles.
  • I never got to publish the book I am working on, but I hope to do by 2020.
  • Draw even closer to God

In all, it has been an amazing year, and I’m grateful for everything and everyone in my life.

Yo Dude, Future Johnson, when you see this piece, remember to live not just the good life alone, but a more balanced one. I look forward to hearing from you in 2020.

Top comments (6)

awamelvine profile image
Awa Melvine

My man!!! You smashed it this year. You had downtimes and you pushed through them with the fortitude of a navy seal. I have never felt better about the future and I know 2020 will be an even better year for all of us.
PS: When you finally decide on becoming a mobile engineer let me know so I can give you my akant details for you to pay me your tuition fees😜

ogwurujohnson profile image
Johnson Ogwuru

Thanks man, you were amazing last year. Let's get things done in 2020. Lol, which tuition thought schooling was free. Lol

gozman17550414 profile image

Proud of you bro
The sky has always been your starting point

ogwurujohnson profile image
Johnson Ogwuru

Thanks bro

paradisekelechi profile image
Kelechi Paradise Iheanyichukwu

You're a fighter, man! You're already going places. Keep it up and may Jehovah strengthen you!

ogwurujohnson profile image
Johnson Ogwuru

Thanks, for all you do bro.