Read how this tech enthusiast went from newbie to becoming a Linux System Administrator, Security Engineer, and even a mentor and trainer to upcoming techies, all in less than five years. Simisola Sola-Saheyi, an alumnus of Bincom Dev Center, a talent development platform shares how he found his place in the highly competitive tech sector. 

What’s your story? Give us some insights into your tech journey so far. How you started, what you’re doing now, your challenges, failures, and successes?

I’m Simisola Saheyi. I’ll give an abridged summary of myself. I’m a computer science graduate from the Federal University of Technology, Akure. Even though I studied computer science, I saw myself as a novice about the tech industry. I knew I wanted to work in tech which is why I chose to study computer science, so after my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), I registered at Bincom Dev Center to acquire the skills I needed. 

I am now a certified Linux system administrator, a certified Azure administrator, a security engineer, and an Azure architect. I also support SMEs and other organizations using AWS, GCP, and Azure. 

Interesting, you graduated with a degree in computer science and you were still a tech novice? How so?

After graduating from the University and completing NYSC, I knew I wasn’t technically fit and I didn’t want to waste any more time, so I decided to equip myself for the career I wanted. My tech journey officially started at Bincom ICT Center. I was committed to the training for six months. After my training, I stayed back as an intern, then later became a permanent staff at Bincom Dev Center which was an opportunity to be more grounded in my training. 

Since then, I have gained a number of certifications like the Linux system certificate, Oracle, AWS, and Azure. In the tech space, having certificates added to one’s portfolio, though it’s not mandatory but it helps prove your knowledge and expertise. Thanks to the experiences I’ve acquired so far, I have worked with different cloud providers, AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. 

That’s quite a number of technical knowledge you have. Do you think studying Computer Science gave you some leverage?

I’d like to say my tech journey started when I was really young. Growing up, I watched so many tech and tech-related movies that developed my love for tech. That was more or less the passion and knowledge base I had then. I thought to myself, “If I study computer science, I’ll definitely end up working in the tech space”. During my undergraduate study, my passion had grown, but the knowledge, not so much. So, when the opportunity at Bincom came, I jumped on it and that was how my tech journey officially started. 

How long ago did you start your tech journey at Bincom Dev Center? 

I started the training program at Bincom in November 2017. After six months of training, due to my performance and involvement during the program, I was offered an opportunity to stay back to work as an intern. Since I always wanted to work in a tech-enabled environment, and I also had no tech industry background at all, I embraced the opportunity wholeheartedly. 

Let’s delve into your career from your experience at the training program to your current career achievements, in almost six years.

Well, it’s been five years since I started working in tech because the training was a learning phase. I actually started my tech career during the internship at Bincom, because that was when I started working with real-life projects and supporting organisations that were partners and subsidiaries of Bincom. I really got hands-on experience during the internship.

After Bincom, I worked freelance on various projects and also worked with different companies as an employee. With the variety of knowledge and skill I developed, I was able to secure a role with my current employer. We provide IT support and guidance for SMEs in various industries.

Tech is now in vogue, but when you started in 2017 it wasn’t. What challenges did you face, especially in the early days?

I believe what really helped and is still helping me is the solid bedrock that Bincom gave me. While I was at Bincom, there was one thing that was part of our KPIs that we had to implement. We had this 20-hours-of-learning challenge every month, because of the saying that once you practice a skill for at least 30 minutes a day, within six months, you should become an expert because you would have learnt so many things which are bound to make you an expert in the field. 

During my time at Bincom, 20 hours of learning was compulsory. I applied myself and attended virtual classes, self-learning, and personal development, for at least one hour on most days. For people who say tech is difficult, I’ll always say that it’s difficult if you don’t practice. You can’t wake up today and say, I’m going to learn tech, and tomorrow you become an expert, it doesn’t work like that. 

It’s the same thing with knowledge, work, and school. you can’t decide to go to school today and then become a graduate tomorrow, you have to go through the process. It is your dedication that pans the outcome for you. You can’t spend one, two, or three months and give up. They say ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. Expertise is a gradual process. So, tech is not hard, but it requires dedication and consistency. 

You have given some really useful tips. So, what was your training about? What aspect of tech did you focus on?

When I started at Bincom, I registered for Infrastructure and DevOps training. But I picked up skills in Linux and managing Windows systems. Then I started delving into other fields including servers and databases. I did a Linux administration course and also learnt Linux in-depth.

I also had to pick up networking because I was assigned a task to engage with network engineers at a bank and I found that challenging. As a result, I had to learn networking and Linux administration. On the same project, I learnt how to deploy VPN since the project required integrating with a flagship product. I had to learn how to set up VPN connections, troubleshoot, and VPN tunnels. 

We know that technical practice can be different from real-life practice. How did Bincom bridge that gap for you?

At Bincom, I gained real-world experiences from both scenario-based and real-life projects. Since I work in a production-based tech, I was handed real-life budgets and also handled client support (internal & external clients) to manage their infrastructure, email system, applications, registration, and similar projects.  

While I was at Bincom, apart from the technical skills, I also learned what we call customer-facing or customer engagement. So, I learnt soft skills alongside hard skills because apart from your technical know-how, you need to know how to relay your technical knowledge to people who may not be tech-savvy. Bincom also gave me a great platform to network, attend tech events, and meet industry experts. They trained me to produce results and not excuses, no matter how concrete.

What is your take on the Bincom Dev Center Global Tech Programme? Recommendations or suggestions to new or intending participants.

One piece of advice I give people is to focus on the end goal. Focus on why you want to do this, on why you are here, and why you chose tech. Then, give it your all.

The Bincom Programme gives participants a sense of freedom to learn things that are even outside the scope of the chosen track. From my personal experience, I applied as an infrastructure engineer, but when I was at the training center, I saw that I needed to learn Python because as an infrastructure engineer, you’re required to do scripting which involves coding. Then, when I saw that the Python class was also ongoing at that time, I expressed my interest to the project manager and was allowed to join the Python program alongside. 

So, Bincom gives you the freedom to explore, the opportunity to network, get hands-on experience, and develop expertise. I see the training for what it is – a golden opportunity for techies and aspiring techies. You can register for Bincom Global Tech Programme here

You have had quite an intense career in a short timeline. What other goals are you looking to hit?

Haha! So, this is like an interview question, are you asking, why do you want to join this organisation? 

I mean, we would love to know if you have any aspirations for your career and what they are.

Currently, my career path involves a mix of DevOps, infrastructure management, application support, networking, and tech freelancing. For my next career path, I see myself in a managerial role, or working in advisory as a consultant to both individuals and organizations. I hope that answers the question.

Yes, it does. Lastly, this is a personal question, and frankly off-topic. Are you considering moving out of Nigeria soon, or do you feel there’s still a lot you need to achieve in Nigeria? 

This is a relevant question since Tech is global. With the skills, knowledge, and experiences I’ve gained so far, I do not see myself working only in Nigeria, and definitely see myself working on a global scale. 

So, when the opportunity comes, I will be happy to take it because I see myself as a global talent. I love the word global talent, because it reminds me of our motto at Bincom back then, “producing global talents”.

Fantastic! So how do you support newbies in tech?

It is very important for me to help new techies find their path, and that’s why I serve as a team mentor at Bincom, where I support the infrastructure and DevOps teams. I’m a product of passionate trainers so I know how important it is to be mentored and trained. 



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