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Bolaji's Groundbreaking Telegram Bot is Changing the Game!
In December 2021, I could not write code completely and I was just learning a bit of HTML and CSS. Now about a year later, I have built a telegram bot all thanks to ALX software engineering program!
My ALX experience
My name is Oyedele Bolaji from Lagos, Nigeria part of cohort 5 of ALX Software Engineering course which kicked off on 14th February 2022. I am a software engineer and graphic designer. Before I got into software engineering, I was always a fan of software. I just didn’t know how to code and create my own software.
The ALX SE program gave me the perfect opportunity to get into the tech world and learn a lot. I am eternally grateful for this opportunity that I am accessing on a fully sponsored scholarship courtesy of the MasterCard Foundation. I have recently built an amazing product, a telegram bot, that uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to generate images directly on telegram via a set of prompts. But first let me tell you about my journey into ALX.
My journey started accidentally as I had not planned or thought about it so much. Initially, I had a business idea but I could not afford to pay somebody to create a website for me. I, therefore, decided that I needed to learn so that I could do it myself. I joined a WhatsApp group where one of my friends sent the link to apply to the ALX Software Engineering program and I did apply and got accepted. At that point, I was simply looking to switch careers but never imagined I would get into tech. After this ALX SE experience, I do not think I can leave tech because I am now addicted. It has given me a great sense of purpose seeing myself becoming a problem solver.
My favourite projects were the Airbnb clone and "Menjar''. Menjar is the final presentation group project of the ALX SE foundation curriculum. The most powerful thing about ALX is how they emphasise the amazing power of community and teamwork. It is the single most powerful thing that has kept me going throughout the program even in moments when I felt like dropping out, the community would come through to support.
During this particular project, my team and I made a web app for a local restaurant where people can order various local foods. The most challenging project I faced was recreating the printf function in C. I, however, got a lot of help from my teammates. I lacked any programming background so getting the ideology behind programming was not easy for me but after some time I got used to the way things work.
I would encourage other participants is to leverage other sources such as ChatGPT and watch the video tutorials as well as the resources provided. When you need to know something, you will continue to search for the topic on Youtube and after watching the video you can go back to the reading so you easily understand what you're reading.
I would further encourage them to be intentional about working with their teams and showing up. They should also not feel reluctant, ashamed or afraid to ask for help, there is always somebody willing to help.
The project: An AI-powered image generating telegram bot
I signed up on Upwork some months ago to get some freelancing gigs. The job I got stated that the clients required a telegram bot that can generate a generic image from Midjourney. Midjourney is a generative AI that can produce images from prompts however, Midjourney does not have an API yet. I, therefore, had to opt for Stable Diffusion which is an alternative open source AI model. I created a Telegram bot that can generate an image and send it back to the chat on telegram where the prompts are being generated without having to go to stablediffusion separately as the bot is linked and pulls images from StabilityAI API.
This bot is relevant to people that need to generate images for designs, for blogs, for comic books and even for presentations. It can generate all sorts of unique images making it easier to stand out and be authentic. The bot is ready and fully functional hence I am open to collaboration and talking business with anyone that is interested.
(Sample photos generated by the telegram bot direct on the telegram chat pulling from stable diffusion)
I would advise my peers not to fear AI but rather to embrace it because you can see that my product would not be a reality without AI. AI is already advancing very fast and it is true that it will help some while it will misplace those who refuse to adapt and keep up with the pace of change.
A lot of students are leveraging the power of AI to learn new things and they can do the same. It is a deeply personal initiative because for example developments such as ChatGPT or Midjourney are not in the ALX software engineering program. Follow people that are interested in new technologies to keep up because for example I follow Julien on twitter and I have my notifications turned on for all his posts.
In December, 2021 I could not write code completely, I was just learning a bit of HTML, CSS but now about a year later, code easily rolls out of my fingers. The secret is to stay hungry, research a lot and never get tired of learning!
Final words of wisdom and Fun facts
Tell us about Betty and her checkers.
Haha! I can say that Betty is a wicked genius because she knows your errors in great detail. I must say first encounters with her are very frustrating but slowly you get used to her. I came to appreciate it because she has shaped me to be very attentive and keen when coding and also to structure in a very professional manner. You can be wrong but the checker can never be wrong.
Vim or Emacs? Why?
Vim because it is auto indents while writing codes
Would you rather have a pause or rewind button in your life?
A rewind button
If you were trapped on an island and had to eat only one type of food everyday, what would it be?
What gives your hope for the continent?
The fact that there are people out here like Julien, Fred and programs like ALX willing to help empower young Africans by providing such fully funded scholarships. We are born in Africa and despite all its challenges, we have to stay here like in Nigeria, we do not have a good supply of electricity. Simply, most young Africans are not born with a silver spoon but with such programs, we are able to use our resilience to make it.
What are your final words of wisdom to ongoing SE cohorts?
Keep going no matter what. Keep referring to your grades for motivation and when you feel like you can not take it anymore, do not quit. Take a break, a cold shower and rest or any other responsible activity to cool off and then get back to the project afterwards.
Set reminder for the upcoming Twitter Space with Bolaji happening on Tuesday 4th 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 Bolaji here.
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