Devs, advice on best path to end up getting an internship next year without a degree

Vipi wadau, Nitakuwa na a lot of free time in the next few months na I wanted to use that time on working towards getting better at software development

Currently, I have some beginner experience with Python/Django and probably enough Javascript to start picking up a framework. Github yangu si impressive but nimehost projects kadhaa from what I’ve been learning. Kwa the past forums nimeona emphasis imepeanwa ni on learning some CS concepts and building meaningful projects, which I intend to do.

Advice nilikuwa nadai ni from you devs who have experience in the kenyan market, which tech stack would make it a bit easier ikifika time ya kutafuta opportunities?
Naelewa that the language itself shouldn’t be the primary focus, but nlikuwa nadai kuinvest the next few months into working with kitu enye at least iko in demand locally. Should I just continue with what I already know and work on getting better at it, simind kuswitch.

Nimeona kwa past forums Java na C# ikirecommendiwa sana for backend but pia watu wameclaim corporate wanakuwanga keen on papers, na siwezi substitute na experience juu I’m just starting out. Sikumanage kuendelea na degree ya bcom some two years ago

Ungekuwa in my shoes, what would you do from now on till next year to end up being in a position where you have a good chance at getting an internship?

We’re talking 5 months or so…
An internship is a very reasonable goal; and a very good bet at a breakthrough, considering the lack of a degree.
To reminisce when I was green in the field; it all began with an internship.
So, if I were in your shoes, I would focus more on networking with the local tech community than coding marathons for 5 months.
Here’s why:

  1. Unless you have a target company in mind; there’s so many companies in kenya all using a variety of tech stack, with different design patterns and coding standards (mostly dependent on the competency of the devs).
    Investing the majority of your time doubling down on a stack, would only be detrimental to you, as it’ll narrow down the jobs you’d be applying to. You’ll consider yourself an ‘expert’ in the stack and be more biased by filtering jobs with that stack.
    As an intern, you’ll rarely be building apps from the ground up, you’ll be lucky to contribute a production codebase.

  2. Development is an ever changing field, innovation requires constant learning. Hence, you’ll never be ready, no matter how many months you put into focused learning. By the time you wake up from your ‘hole’, there’ll be new releases in like 50 dependencies of any one project/ framework.
    It’s probably why most ‘mid-size’ companies don’t bother upgrading their legacy systems; if it works, why bother, you’re better off investing the capital in other areas of your business, than paying the huge number of devs you’d need.
    And these should be your target, higher probability to get an in.

  3. The companies that often need interns with no college degree, and not junior developers, are mostly cash-strapped. So:

  • they might not have an advertisement budget/ platform(career section in their site)
  • the job requirement might be written by a clueless HR or Hiring manager, that no intern would believe that the advert is for an internship position
  • they’ll be more reliant on their network when sourcing, that is devs or company employees in general.
  • they’re open to taking anyone in, papers rarely mean anything. They’d rather have an intern who’ll show some enthusiasm in their product, than a super qualified competent dev that’ll bolt out of there at the sign of a better opportunity. Businesses love a stable and grateful staff.
  • the interview process is most probably just one round. You have better chances bullshitting the technical stuff and striking a rapport with your interviewer, than ‘wowing’ your interviewer with your exceptional tech skills that you picked up in months. Even the more reason to network with the local dev community, you might probably meet your next interview in this bunch.
  1. If you go out to a social event with an aim, your chances of success are greatly improved. You will fail a bunch of times, but you’ll be in control:
  • of who to follow up with
  • of who you’d love to work with
  • of first hand info of where you stand
  • of the scene, a casual place where you’re more comfortable and can openly vet, including salary/ stipend figures .
  1. So, if I were in your shoes, I’d get off my room and start mingling. Because if you can go to a club and get a stranger to follow you back to your place, all in one night. Imagine the possibilities with a 5 month timeline.
    Like you said, you already have projects deployed in github, so the lingo isn’t an issue.

PS, there are Technical managers with no idea of how version control works; the IT field is too wide to know everything and very diverse to limit yourself. Cast your net wide.

Good Luck!!

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@Kadonyele Thanks for sharing all this in great detail. I see how putting all my efforts on one stack would lead to an oversight of the other opportunities around me at large. I have some project ideas that I’d like to implement, and even though the stack isn’t that important, I just wanted it to be in something that local experts would recommend for whatever reasons. But as per what you said, I’ll definitely worry less about specializing sana into one stack.

On the kind of companies that I’d have higher chances with, I’ll keep this in mind for when I’m applying. It certainly makes sense that my chances would be higher with ones that are small to mid-sized. And quite frankly, I’d be down for whatever I can get, like really. Stipend no stipend, as long as I’d be racking up some experience.

I agree and have also thought about how important the last bit on engaging with people in the field is. I’m a bit limited on how aggressively I can attend tech meets and any other related events juu ya finances, but I’ll do so whenever I can. However, there’s a Discord server with a lot of local devs so I guess I’ll start there.
And the github repos are really beginner, a Django cruid blog, pretty basic js apps and some html & css pages for when I was starting out. That’s why I still need to work on more complex projects.
Networking is my main takeaway, so I’ll be sure to follow through with that.


What @kadonyele has said

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Toa porno. Iko na Doo kushinda tech