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A leap of faith: Anthony Ede's Bold Move into Game Development
Everyone faces the imposter syndrome because when I wanted to apply to this job, I was scared and I kept thinking I wasn't ready yet. I decided to apply and told myself that whatever happens happens.
THE ALX JOURNEY
In one minute or less, tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Anthony Ede. I started doing game development in 2019 or 2020 while still in High School. I was in a boarding school then so I couldn't keep up due to difficulty accessing the correct tools for learning game development. When I finally graduated last year, I joined a bootcamp that helped me level up my skills for a while. During the bootcamp, I discovered the ALX Software Engineering program and I had to balance the two classes. It was a bit stressful but I managed.
In sprint 2 of the program, I felt confident that I had built my technical skills substantially hence I applied for a paid internship in a Nigerian company, Maliyo Games. During the application for the internship, we had a long list of assignments we were asked to do. I believe the intense application and training at ALX software engineering program helped me a lot because every week we have tight deadlines and projects that keep you on your toes 🙂. I was able to meet my deadlines for all the technical assignments that Maliyo Games sent as part of their screening process. I was on YouTube all the time to watch tutorials that would help me finish the task and meet all the deadlines. Afterwards, I got into the interviews, which by the grace of God, I completed successfully, and then I got the job! I have been working at Maliyo Games since February 2023 in addition to the ALX SE course. Unfortunately, it was impossible for me to balance both resulting in a backlog of projects hence I made the decision to defer.
What attracted you particularly to the ALX program
The world class curriculum. I always wanted to be a software engineer so the curriculum had everything I had always wished to be able to learn and so much more. There are other institutions where I could have done it but I could not afford it. The fact that I am acquiring this kind of knowledge on a fully sponsored scholarship slot courtesy of MasterCard Foundation was at first too perfect an offer for me to even believe. I grabbed the opportunity and ran with it!
What attracted you to the role of a software engineer? Did you always want to be a Software Engineer?
Software Engineering is powerful because it equips you with so many technical skills that can be applied in any field or industry. I know the entire knowledge would be helpful for me. Looking at how dynamic the industry is, I could decide to make a switch using all these transferable skills. Currently I am deep in game development but I don't know what the future holds. I could find myself in a totally different field.
The technical and soft skills I have acquired through software engineering center a lot around design and problem solving which are the most important skills as Julien always tells us. The task-based and project-based learning at ALX has equipped me with the ability to see that no matter how difficult a problem may seem at first, I can get onto a whiteboard and break it into simpler details. Concepts such as logic programming will continue to give me a good technical background and as a result, I will be able to make better games. The main thing about programming is that despite the language, the logic is usually the same.
THE JOB: Maliyo Games
How are the skills that you acquired during your time in the program helping you navigate and excel at the current job that you got?
I think the first skill is not even the technical stuff but rather the soft skills I have acquired. Number 1 is working in teams and this was something that I was not used to but overtime I have come to appreciate the power of teamwork. When I joined Maliyo, I found that one must work and collaborate with a team hence am thankful that ALX had already prepared me for this.
The ALX software engineering program trains and wires you to meet very tight deadlines. The program constantly keeps you on your toes and as such I have never missed any deadlines. So far, it has been helping a lot as I keep drawing from the discipline I built during the program of doing my best to finish the weekly tasks and projects. Currently at work, the equivalent of the weekly tasks is something we call sprint planning. We always meet at the beginning of every week to plan the sprints for that week and everybody assigned a specific set of tasks. I always finish all my weekly assigned tasks before the given deadline because it is a practice that I was used to during the software engineering program.
In aspects of core programming, the tech skills that have been particularly helpful is C programming, because I have come to enjoy C programming more than even Python. So skills such as logic programming have really helped me a lot to succeed in my current role.
Tell us a little about your current job. How did you hear about it? What was the application process?
I saw on Maliyo Game’s website that they had an open role for paid internship hence I applied for the internship. Maliyo Games is affiliated with the Gameup Africa bootcamp in partnership with Google. At the end of the bootcamp, I already had a little bit of knowledge on the company. So as I was beginning sprint 2 of my ALX software engineering course, I applied for the internship and then I got the job.
The first month of the internship has been focused on training and onboarding. During this phase, we focus mainly on programming and learning how to do the technical details. I have now progressed and we are focusing on game design. I am currently having several classes with the creative director of Maliyo on game design and how to make better games. I've had to use concepts of design thinking and ideation during the course i.e. understanding why people play games and how to satisfy these emotional needs of players has been the focus of my first month in the company. I have been in game development for some time but I appreciate this learning phase since when you program your games on your own, the different ways you do it may not align with the methods of the company. So in these first months, we are learning the architecture of how Maliyo makes games following the technical leads and the architecture they use. This is important because the games can then be moved from one team to the other without issues because everyone already knows how to work with the architecture.
My advice to other participants is not to be afraid to go for job opportunities especially at internship level. Everyone faces the imposter syndrome because when I wanted to apply to the job, I was scared and I kept thinking I wasn't ready yet. I decided to apply and told myself that whatever happens happens. I then submitted my resume and I was asked to come for the test where we will be given a task to do within a week. I also did the task still unsure just to try my luck and see what comes out of it. One thing led to another and I got invited to the interview and now I have the job. Everyone second guesses themselves, the difference is in not letting it hold you back. Imposter syndrome is something ALX has talked to us a lot about so just fake confidence if that is what you need and keep pushing.
I would further advise that in the age of remote work, they need to have their guard up and do lots of background checks before accepting offers. This will help them to not be victims of fraud, scammers, project theft and so many other vices. For me, I searched for articles about the founder of the company and I found a link to a Forbes article about the founder of Maliyo Games that is changing the gaming landscape in Africa. A good company also needs to have a website and also look and read them up on various social media platforms. On salary, I am happy that I got a paid internship but my main driver was not the money or how huge the compensation is. If it is possible for you to negotiate your salary at the start of your career, by all means go for it. However, I think the major thing that should drive you should be the experience and being in a place where you can learn as much hands-on skills as possible. Later on when you have lots of experience under your belt, you can be in command and effectively negotiate for better pay.
FUTURE PLANS, PARTING SHOT
What is now your plan as far as the ALX software engineering program is concerned?
I will be starting University here in Nigeria in August of 2023. It is going to be challenging to juggle the job, university and the ALX program. At the moment, I am deferring the ALX SE course until after I have completed my internship with Maliyo Games. I will, thereafter, resume ALX and juggle it with my University studies since I am undertaking an undergraduate course that is closely related to the software engineering program.
Amazing! We can’t wait to have you back. What was your favorite project and what was the most challenging one? What advice would you give on how to hack them?
I think my favorite so far has been the one where we were asked to make a bytecode interpreter for a language called Monty language. The most challenging one was the simple shell project at the end of sprint 1. This project was so challenging that at some point my team and I were all lost and had to do a lot of research to keep up.
I would advise participants to ask for help from peers if they get stuck. I would further advise them that at the beginning of the course, they should find a good peer learning group, and then use the buddy system very well. You can always ask them for help when you and your teammates are not understanding a concept. If they do these very well, I think they should be able to get through most of the struggles we face during the project.
What gives you hope for our African continent?
I think the young people of Africa give me a lot of hope about the future of the continent. Everyone that is watching the younger generation will surely see that they are creating a lot of impact, especially in the technology space. I see a lot of young African youth making waves around the world.
My current focus in game making is to create African inspired games. I can see the impact in my current space since every African game maker continues to include the African background in their work. This is a very conscious and intentional effort to put Africa on the map of the gaming world as a key stakeholder.
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS:
What is your take on Betty?
Lol! Betty is an absolute witch because she needs to be more considerate and understand that you have already suffered a lot. You spend so many hours working on a project and she just gives you a million checkers blinking in red.
Vim or emacs?
Vim because I am just used to it and I have not yet tried emacs
What movie or book have you recently read or watched and why would you recommend it?
The last book I read is Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe and I will recommend it to anyone interested in gaining a deep understanding of Nigerian culture.
Would you rather meet your ancestors or descendants?
My ancestors because I have a lot of questions that I need answers to. I am suffering because of some decisions they made hence I need answers!
Final words of wisdom and encouragement to current participants of ALX software engineering course
They need to know that whatever challenge they are facing, several other people are facing it hence they are not alone. Give it your best shot, work and study very hard because when they say 70 hours, it is AT LEAST 70 hours a week!
Do not copy code under whatever circumstances even if you look at what a peer has done on GitHub. The best thing is to ask that peer to explain how they did it and try to do your own.
Set reminder for the upcoming Twitter Space with Anthony happening on Tuesday 11th April 2023 at 4:00 PM (GMT) | 5:00 PM (WAT) | 7:00 PM (EAT) where we dive deeper into his story.
Share any questions you may have for Anthony here.