Born and raised in Cameroon (African country), where the tech revolution that has gripped the western world is for almost a century, has had little impact, building up a tech oriented career looked sometimes an impossible task. I admit, I was not born with the love for software and binary flowing in my veins like some of the IT geniuses existing today. My first career goal was to be a Pastor, because of the huge part that spirituality plays in the African culture. Then as I grew older, I thought about going into sports, but I was never picked to play when the other kids were because I had no talent whatsoever. And then in my later part of secondary school, I developed a love for aeronautics. That again proved difficult because there aren’t any schools in Cameroon which provide courses on aeronautics.
Then came the turning point in my life, one night during the summer holidays after I finished my secondary school, deep in thought about what subjects I was going to choose to study in high school, I stumbled on a movie while browsing through channels, The Imitation Game. The movie was based on a true story of how computers helped to stop the Second World War by decrypting German attack messages. What I found surprising was that this computer was huge, literally filled a room on its own, and then I thought of the cell phone I had at the time, which could fit in my hand but was far more powerful and advanced than the one in the movie. I thought to myself, “if that huge computer could help turn the tide of war, what would the recent, more powerful computers be capable of?”
I soon realized that the sky really was the limit of what I could achieve with computers. With a good knowledge in computers, I could fit in any sector of society, any industry, any business, I could make a real impact in my community and thus, my love for Computer Engineering was born and I have never looked back. I woke up the next morning, broad smile on my face, and woke my dad up with the phrase “Daddy I want to be a Computer Engineer.” I still remember the broad smile on his face till this day.
I took up Computer Engineering as my major in the University, and although it was extremely difficult because very little practical work was done(the university of Buea did not have a well equipped computer laboratory at the time), my love for tech and desire to make a difference ultimately kept pushing me forward. I started actively contributing to the world of Open Source in my second year in university and have not looked back ever since. I was one of the pioneer members of the Buea Java User Group(A small group in my home town meant for all things java) and also a member of the Student Docker group for the University of Buea. I used this forums to spread the Gospel of Open Source as much as I could, in a bid to attract many of my peers into it.
Due to my active involvement in Open Source, I was granted a Diversity Scholarship for CloudNativeCon | KubeCon 2018, in Seattle Washington. It was my first time out of the country and I was so excited about the new experiences I’d have, and more excited about going back home after the conference and sharing the knowledge I’d acquired with my peers.
Getting to Seattle, it was a whole new world for me. After losing my way after leaving the airport, then getting stuck in the rain for half an hour, nothing could dull my mood. I was so excited! Over the course of the conference, I attended all the keynotes, several workshops, taking videos and notes from each of them so I could share with my peers back home. I visited the Expo countless times so I could gather as much swag as I could possibly carry, so every one back home would at least get something. My goal was not only to share the knowledge I had gained, but ultimately through my experiences, encourage my peers to be more active in Open Source development.
Personally, I learned a lot. Although most of the breakout sessions I attended were a little above my cognitive level at the time, it pushed me to know more. I discovered the power of Kubernetes and the power of the Cloud Technologies as a whole and it fed my curiosity. As a result, I immersed myself into learning and leveraging the power of the cloud, particularly the Google Cloud Platform. Fast forward six months to the date of writing this blog, I am a proud recipient of the Google African Certification Scholarship, geared at enabling africans take courses and ultimately get certified with a any Google Certification for free. And you guessed it right, I pursued a Cloud Certification(Google Cloud Associate Engineer Certification) and I hope to go through with it before the end of the year 2019.