The above picture is myself and Ibrahim Olamilekan a 17 year old Nigerian software developer.

Sometime last year precisely around August (August , 2017), myself and Ibrahim Olamilekan set out to learn Javascript. We purchased udemy courses, watched YouTube videos and read articles online. We found ourselves sharing helpful links, attending and hosting tech meet ups, we did all those to really level up on our tech skills in the shortest time possible.

Fast forward 3 months after we started this amazing learning journey, we saw a tweet by November for the Sauce Code Hackathon competition, we were super excited as this would really help us put what we’ve learnt into a real world use. We both formed a team named ‘Team Fire 🔥 ‘

Over 100 teams started out with the sauce code hackathon challenge and good for us we made it to the final 6.

It was pitch day (10/03/2018) and we were getting ready to set the stage on fire 🔥.

Our app seemed blazing hot on heroku, we had built an app called Consult Ifa, an app that allows you to anonymously review schools in Lagos. See image below for some of the technologies we used:

It was Wakanda Style

I pitched the product and we got feedback from the judges mostly on things we should have worked on.

Then boom, Team WeVote (4 Andela Nigeria developers formed this team) took the stage, they built a very simple application. While they were presenting, it seemed so obvious that you can achieve all the features of their app using just html, css and vanilla javascript. I knew they would win even before the presentation was over (they built an app that checks for voter readiness for the 2019 Nigerian elections).

Here I was thinking to myself, we tried to implement most of the knowledge we’ve gathered lately trying to build what users might not easily relate with, before us these experienced devs from Andela built something simple that users can easily use.

We lost because we focused more on trying to use technologies we’ve learnt lately rather than putting our focus on building a product that satisfies a market need.

I learnt my lesson the hard way. Listed below are the things I learnt:

  1. There is no product without a user.
  2. Never get sucked up with your code as a developer, try to understand what the need of a market is before you even get to work.
  3. Yes, you’ve learnt how to use 5 javascript libraries in the last two months, keep it simple, use only what is necessary.
  4. Try to get non technical people to test your product rather than fellow tech guys, keep in mind the market you’re building for.
  5. I cannot say this enough, let the features of your product be the solution to a problem.

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By the way, congrats to Ibrahim Olamilekan , He just got a role as a back-end developer with OKTIUM 🔥 🔥