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roakoth for Storyblok

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My give and take tech journey

I know most of you are wondering what I mean by 'give and take'. Simply, in order for one to give something to another person, one must have that particular item, idea, or concept. You can not give what you don't have. I will highlight how developer communities build me through access to learning opportunities, mentorship, and networking events and how I gave back to the same communities through volunteering, mentorship programs, doing a technical session and writing technical articles.

I used to see how developer community leaders used to organize events, reach out to speakers, share resources and opportunities. Then, I asked myself, what is their motivation factor, are they getting paid to do that?, no they were not, that is when I realized it was passion, love for community, the willingness to teach others and see them grow.

I started being part of developer community when I was at the University. I was a member of Google Developer Students Club and Google Developer Group Kisumu. They used to invite various speakers to do live coding sessions with us and share various opportunities with us. Truth be told, since there were physical meetings, I had a chance to travel different towns, meet new people, know various restaurants and the food was amazing. Haha, who doesn't love food, we used to turn up in large numbers which was amazing.

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In my final year University project, I developed an android project despite not being an android developer. One thing that helped me to navigate through was Google Africa Developer Scholarship programme sponsored by Andela, Pluralsight and Google. I had access to Pluralsight platform to learn Android skills as a learner, we were paired by a mentor who used to guide us. I knew about this opportunity through the Google Developer Students Club.

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In October 2019, I made a switch to web development. I had completed University and I joined Meta Developers Circle Community in Eldoret, Kenya. They used to be meetups organized on weekends and one of the organizers Fatma Ali shared an opportunity offered by Meta Developers Circle Community and Andela. I took part in it and I managed to get an award of full scholarship to pursue frontend developer path at OpenClassrooms for a year. I was excited about this opportunity and a chance to interact with learners and mentors internationally.
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There is power in developer communities. I joined OpenClassrooms community. I had a mentor from India called Siddharth Jain, we used to have weekly mentorship sessions. I did nine projects and at the end of each project I had to present it to an assessor who came from any part of the world. I managed to create a turn-based board game that I was proud of. Aladdin movie inspired me to come up with this game.

In 2021, I successfully completed my frontend developer path and graduated at OpenClassrooms. That is when my Student Success Manager Lesley Skousen asked If I can be a student community ambassador at OpenClassrooms and assist other students working in frontend projects and I gladly accepted it. That is when my journey of giving back to the community started.

I volunteered to be a mentor for Google Africa Developers Scholarship Programme(GADS) in Android development from May 2020 to September 2020. My role was to offer guidance to learners and also prepare short projects for them to practice their skills. I was also a mentor for GADS programme in web development from February 2021 to September 2021. This year 2022, I volunteered to be a GADS judge and my role was to hear learners pitch their projects ideas, ask them questions and then give them a score.

By being part of Andela Learning Community, I got paid web development opportunities. I was referred and matched to Eldohub. I created a website for an Entrepreneur through digitization of women led businesses programme in Eldoret, Kenya sponsored by Andela. This enabled me to practice the web development skills in real life.

The best thing that happened to me was the decision to join Storyblok as a support specialist. Storyblok being a headless CMS is a tech product. This enables me to keep on upskilling by learning the product itself and how it integrates with other frontend technologies and also provide technical and product support to clients, something I enjoy doing each day. I did a technical session on how to use Storyblok with NextJS in ReactJS Developer Community in Kenya and I was very excited to teach learners that concept.

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I love developer communities, because they share learning opportunities, resources, and various concepts. You can make that decision and join developer communities that I have talked about or one near you. You do not have to wait to be an expert to start helping and teaching others. You can start by teaching others a concept you understand better and that is how you grow and develop.I also published technical articles on React Hooks and Activity Lifecycle in Android development

To wrap up, I have covered what I took from developer communities such as learning opportunities, networking events, mentorship and job opportunities. Then, how I gave back to various developer communities through offering mentorship to learners, writing technical articles and doing technical session. We rise by lifting others.

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