Shining the Spotlight on Elvis Kibet: Creator of ALX's Intranet Dark Mode Extension
It does not matter what background you are coming from, anybody can make it in tech if you put in the work. I came from a fashion background hence I had to unlearn everything I knew.
My name is Elvis Kibet but on twitter I am mostly known as Ich Heiße Kibet due to my background in German. Ich Heibe simply means ‘my name is’ hence Ich Heiße Kibet simply means My name is Kibet. Before ALX, I did not have a solid coding background being that I undertook fashion design and marketing as my undergraduate course. Luckily after graduating in 2019, I immediately got a job at a leading fashion company in Kenya called Vivo Woman. I worked with Vivo for about one and a half years in the design department starting off as an intern and gradually got into a full time position. A little while later, I lost my job due to the pandemic and since work was not forthcoming easily, I started thinking about my life and career paths. At that point, I knew that as much as I love fashion, I was feeling something was missing like fashion is probably not my true passion as a career path. I had a lot of time on my hands hence tech peaked my interest and so I started reading and getting conversant with HTML.
I was digitally literate but I did not have any coding experience so my friends who were coders encouraged me to give it a shot. However, at the time I was so into fashion and I was not sure if such a switch to deep tech would work. After I lost my job I had some time on my hands and decided to give coding a try. I started seeing advertisements on YouTube about the ALX software engineering program while I was starting to learn HTML and at the same time I saw a certain friend who was in my fashion class doing the course. I got a boost from knowing that somebody with a similar background is doing it so I too can hence I took the step applied and I got accepted. One thing led to another and now 8 months later, I am currently in cohort 11 sprint 3. I actually did not know what to expect from ALX because at the time I just wanted to improve my coding skills having learnt a bit of HTML and CSS. The realization that you can build something by writing different lines of code got me so excited about creating a passion out of tech. I, therefore, just jumped in and told myself that I will just go with the flow and see how that goes.
My biggest lesson so far has been that for you to become a software engineer, you must put in the work in the process of learning. You have to separate your life because since joining ALX, my social life just went away and it is a sacrifice for the good. The other thing I have learnt is the power of self-led learning where as much as we are usually given some resources and reading materials, you must do a lot more research to grasp a concept. For example when learning C, what helped me is that I used to look at the course calendar and see what topic and project is coming up next. A day or days before the project is released, I would do comprehensive research and reading on it so that when it is finally released, I come in with some level of understanding in mind. Three months into the program, I started struggling with my eyesight because I was spending 90% of my time on the ALX intranet and it is usually set to light mode. I, therefore, reached out to Julien on twitter and requested if they could introduce an ALX intranet dark mode feature. To my surprise, he threw the challenge back at me and tasked me with coming up with the dark mode extension. I, therefore, went ahead and created a discord channel and asked anybody and everybody who was willing to collaborate to code out the dark mode extension.
We have added some bespoke features on the ALX intranet dark mode for example we have color coded the checker errors so that one can easily tell whether it is the requirement or the code that has failed. I am very happy with reception from the ALX SE learners because initially I was just trying to solve a personal problem but I did not realize a lot of people were in a similar situation. I was so happy when we released it via twitter to see so many people saying thank you that we have made their learning journey easier. Everyday when I see those comments, I get motivated to continue doing more, like listening to the user feedback and doing what they want to so that I can reduce their eye strain and improve on their productivity.
Looking into the future, we are looking into expanding the reach of this extension to other ALX programs such as data science, The Room portal and various other Learning Management Systems under ALX. I have also recently embarked on building my weather app which is up and running flawlessly and anyone can review it here on Github. It uses a powerful API key provided by http://openweathermap.com and it effortlessly fetches real-time weather data of locations all over the world. I can tell people that life is all about learning and unlearning. That is one of the things that I am willing to do day in and day out.
It does not matter what background you are coming from, anybody can make it in tech if you put in the work. I came from a fashion background hence I had to unlearn everything I used to know to learn again to enable me have another purpose in life. If you look at fashion, I realized that I have to find my niche in this industry. Yes, I'm a fashion designer, but I can incorporate this new fashion that has tech and bring it and it can be a niche and it can be a game changer. I want to integrate fashion into tech because fashion has really been left behind and I am keenly exploring how to use emerging technologies such as AI to create fashion projects.
To stay in touch with Elvis Kibet, contact him on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Github. Also do not forget to join in this upcoming twitter space on 4th July to hear all about the backstory of how the ALX intranet dark mode was created.
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