Experientially speaking, doing things merely because of money is the highly likely reason why our planet is not so teemed with ultra- successful people.
Why, if this conjecture is patently false, then the limited number of the most successful on the planet will have to cease to exist.
Anyway, in our daily hunt for minds that are diligently creating, serving and taking risks, we came across Rowland Otieno, the 24 year-old fifth year student from the University of Nairobi whom Risk Takers sees as among the few people in the world that are walking the path to greatness as shown by the drive and selflessness he has for what he does best. .
Here is how it went when we made a deliberate encounter with the self-learning enthusiast.
Who I am
“I am a self-driven, self-taught software engineer with a passion for learning new things. I deal with Android mobile apps, Virtual Reality and Machine Learning,” begins Rowland about himself.
“Besides, I am a jovial, calm, easy-going individual. I hate conflict and I like interacting with people aiming to learn a lot, especially from them that share the same interests with me.”
How it all began
Just fresh from High school back in 2012 with absolutely no idea what programming really is, the geek due to graduate in three months’ time intimates that one fine day, while playing his favourite game Angry Birds, he began to wonder just how it was made.
I taught myself
Then he was led by the strong curiosity to Google stuff on the same, where he began to teach himself more often than not the basic programming languages such as HTML and CSS. As time passed, he went on to Java from the basics to the complicated.
“Then I ventured into game development, and I would spend most of my time learning and learning on how to go about it especially by following renowned developers on Social Media, who would give me a lot of insights on how to come up with top-of-the-range game applications.”
With time, Rowland says he has come to know so many game technologies, and that without being formally taught.
“And despite having come up with very good apps and other software so far, I have just posted my products on open source platforms such as Github and UDACITY. I just want them to be seen before I can later commercialise them.”
Meanwhile, he says, the people he follows on Social Media are the ones that have been the biggest influences in his developing career.
“Most of them are pace-setters and trend-makers in matters technology and app development. Other key motivators are my friends, who have been pushing me quite hard to do what I love,” But as to the definite contributors to his success, the self-collected, self-effacing techie says it is simply the way he thinks–in that anything can be done when the heart and mind are in it–and the strong to obsessive desire to learn.
How I think
But as to the definite contributors to his success, the self-collected, self-effacing techie says it is simply the way he thinks–in that anything can be done when the heart and mind are in it–and the strong to obsessive desire to learn.
“The other important aspect is self-drive which has pushed me beyond limits. I also attribute my success to focus: when I fix my mind on something, I must just do it and well. I won’t forget my parents who have provided me with many resources to do my thing. “And indeed today he is doing his own thing and is hoping to be his own man in the quite near future.
My own man
And indeed today he is doing his own thing and is hoping to be his own man in the quite near future.
“I wouldn’t do any other thing. I am pretty happy I took the right path,” says a visibly satisfied Rowland.
“Initially, having scored a straight A in High School, I wanted to do medicine straight away, but I immediately realised that the course is too restrictive and you cannot be creative enough there. I decided quite early to pursue Electrical Engineering and Computer Science instead.”
What makes an expert
His message to those dying to succeed in their fields is captured in these realistic but energising words: If you really like something, there is no option but to be good at it by learning it very well. This may require a lot of time and effort to see you become an expert in anything you really love.
“Also, it helps to know upfront that school does not give you everything. And it doesn’t help to be a jack of all trades: do just those things you can really be good at.”
BY MOSES OMUSOLO