‘Access to resources, the biggest barrier facing Nigerian software developers’

EZE EKENE, the Director of Developer Experience at Plasmic, speaks on how software developers are bracing the odds by developing bold ideas to drive long term sustainability in the tech scene of Nigeria’s digital ecosystem. In this interview with EBUNOLUWA LADIPO, he shares his view on the challenges facing Nigeria’s tech industry and the company’s growth prospects.

There are different perceptions about software development, how would you explain as one in that field?

I am not sure what other people’s perceptions are about software development but to me, it encompasses all the processes involved in creating software. So, the process of designing, building, and also supporting software all fall under the umbrella of software development.

Where I think there could be controversy is in the definition of “Who is a software developer.” Some might argue that you need a CS degree to call yourself one. Different people have different opinions but since software by itself is just a set of instructions that tell a computer what to do, the moment you build a program that runs on a computer to perform some actions that you’ve designed for it, I’ll call you a software developer.

Why are you into software development and what’s your area of focus?

I am in this field because it was the most viable option I had. I graduated from the university as a Chemical Engineer in 2015. After NYSC it became glaring that this path was not leading me anywhere, from where I stood, I was either going to become a Chemistry teacher in a secondary school somewhere or just settle for bank jobs.

I weighed different options and considered different paths and chose the tech route. It was the harder path, but it was the one that promised the kind of life and opportunities I wanted. Since then I’ve come to work across three different areas of focus including Fintech at Flutterwave, modern web development with the Jamstack at Netlify, and now working in the no code/low code space at Plasmic.

What kind of solutions do you provide at Plasmic?

Plasmic is a no-code visual page builder that integrates with code. With Plasmic, non-developers can build and deploy web pages without oversight from developers or managers. When needed, developers can also integrate these pages into any existing website or app codebase and go live in minutes.

Read also: Lighting Up Commerce and industry Through Energy-as-a-Service

We are removing the dependence on engineers and making it possible for non-developers like marketers, content creators, and designers to manage their processes end to end. For teams of all sizes, this approach ultimately saves development time and maintains engineering focus on the core business goals.

What are some challenges faced by software developers in Nigeria and could you proffer some solutions?

I think it generally comes down to the availability of resources. For instance, there’s barely a place in Nigeria with a constant power supply and if such a place did exist, It will not be affordable for the regular software developer. Security is another one, most places in Nigeria are not safe for a software developer to thrive, you can’t walk around with your laptop without harassment from the Police.

Talking about solutions, what I do know is that most successful Nigerian developers passed through similar conditions and somehow managed to come out on top. Everyone’s situation is unique to them and I can’t possibly say that it will work out for you because it worked out for the other person, but regardless of all the challenges, you have to keep doing your best and showing up for yourself till your breakthrough comes.

What is the most important information entry-level software developers should know?

There is no shortcut. Early career developers are very often in a haste to “make it” that they skip vital parts of the process and incur knowledge gaps that they always come to regret later. Take the time, learn the right things, trust the process and you will be fine.

As a software developer, what’s one misconception people have about your job?

This one never gets old but they still think I fix computers for a living. The ones without a tech background at least.

With the evolution of technology, as well as your experience, what would you say makes you unique from other software developers?

I don’t think I’m any different from every other developer that is out there doing their best and trying to get better every day. However, to stay relevant, I try to get better every day. With every job, every meeting, and every experience, I see lessons to learn and improvements to make. If you look hard enough, you will find lessons in everything, and I think this is something that has been particularly helpful to me.

What is the cost of using Plasmic for individuals and organizations?

Plasmic is free for everyone. This free tier has all you need to build and ship your projects to production. Including unlimited code components, unlimited workspaces, version history as so on. However, as your team grows and you require access to more features or more collaborators, we have pricing plans that range from basic to enterprise as listed on our pricing page, on our website.

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