My Pivot Journal: This Ghanaian miner took a one-year profession break to concentrate on his transition into tech

My Pivot Journal is a Ventures Africa weekly collection documenting individuals’s profession transitions from one trade to a different, particularly to tech.

For Jonah Etuaful, turning into a tech bro was not a coincidence. Jonah went from being a novice and being cheated for his work to mentoring tech newbies. At the moment, he’s a full-stack developer that sometimes needs he had continued on his mining path. That is his pivot journal. 

The way it began

Jonah first fell in love with pure useful resource administration when he realized the various alternatives inside the course. However it wasn’t his most well-liked alternative. “It was my dad’s thought,” he says. “I needed to be a lab technician.” He selected pure useful resource administration on the College of Vitality and Pure Useful resource, Ghana, as his first alternative, and laboratory technician at a technical institute as his second. “The pure administration admission got here first, so I went for it. By the point I acquired my second admission, I had change into focused on pure assets. So, I let it go,” he says.

Whereas in class, Jonah realized he wanted a aspect hustle to make some cash. In his third yr on the college, he dabbled in graphic design. “I went on YouTube, and the primary video I noticed was by PixelPerfect, a graphics design YouTube tutor.” The channel taught him photoshop. He additionally got here throughout movies on database, visible fundamentals, and HTML and CSS. This could be his first brush with tech. And though the sector was experiencing a growth in Africa, it was not sufficient to ignite a spark in him. He centered on graphic design as his aspect hustle. 

In 2018, Jonah graduated with honours and set out for a profession in pure useful resource administration. 

Jonah Etuaful


Upon commencement, he enlisted for a one-year nationwide service, and satirically, acquired posted to work at Plant Genetics Useful resource Analysis Institute, Bunso to work as a lab technician. After 4 months of working as a lab tech, he acquired a brand new position. There was no IT personnel obtainable. And in typical internship trend, the tasks of an IT personnel grew to become a part of his duties. This was how he got here to like tech. “It was pure. It felt like a divine path,” he says. 

Jonah’s final six months on the establishment have been centered on IT, troubleshooting, and assist. “I needed to examine internet programming. I began with WordPress, drag and drop CMS WordPress websites. Then moved on to HTML5 with CMS and Javascript. And eventually, PHB and Java language. I used to be on the newbie’s stage and there wasn’t a lot I might do with it. I additionally didn’t have the intention of going into it full-time. So I used to be nice with the fundamentals,” he says. 

When his service yr ended, the establishment supplied him the position of each lab technician and IT personnel, with the corresponding remuneration. “However considered one of my supervisors suggested me to not take it. She instructed me to pursue IT as an alternative, that I might do good there,” he recollects. A bit of surprising however good recommendation, Jonah took it. 


Though he had briefly dabbled in programming, it was solely after his former supervisor’s recommendation that he determined to transition. Jonah’s subsequent steps have been as intentional as his present job. He took a one-year profession break to enhance his programming ability. Throughout this one yr, he centered on Internet Programming.

He began following Traversy Media, a software program developer who provides internet improvement and programming tutorials on YouTube. “That was my first level of name. I’m a tactile learner. So it was hands-on work for me. I devoted my time and every thing, and I grew to become good at PHP and python,” he says. 

He proceeded to construct two software program on his personal. “There have been individuals who needed me to monetize what I had completed. However I wasn’t certain about it. I used to be merely constructing for expertise,” he says. Jonah might not have been focused on monetizing his software program. However considered one of his mates was and would go on to promote his software program (with Jonah’s consent) and make some cash from it. 

It was after his pal gave him a part of the cash he made out of the sale that Jonah started to understand his capabilities. So in October 2020, virtually on the finish of his one-year break, Jonah signed as much as LinkedIn and casually sends out job functions. “Though I had completed a number of gigs, I’m unsure how I had survived. I knew it was time to get a job,” he says. 

Happily, the primary three functions resulted in interviews. The preliminary job interview progressed to the technical take a look at stage. It was an algorithm take a look at. “That’s once I realised I had lots to study. I had no thought what I used to be doing, despite the fact that I had been utilizing algorithms,” he recollects. Algorithms uncovered him, and he didn’t get the job. “While you go for interviews and listen to the stack of languages different individuals know, you understand you don’t know something,” he says. The third interview was successful. He acquired employed as a junior developer. The third time’s the appeal, or so he thought.

Jonah joined Twitter afterwards and acquired acquainted with individuals with the identical ability set. “Once they talked about their salaries. I noticed my wage was not equal to my price,” he recollects. His friends earned 3 times greater than he did. “That’s once I remembered how, through the interview, my employer had expressed shock once I accepted his first provide. They even elevated it. However it by no means occurred to me that I had negotiated for lower than my price. I used to be a novice who was simply glad to get a better-paying job,” he says. He stop the job 5 days earlier than the tip of the month. “I had constructed 80 per cent of the promoting software program for them at that time. However I didn’t need any downside, so I left with out pay. At the least, I discovered the safety side of internet improvement,” he says. 

Every week after, he acquired one other provide with 3 times his former remuneration. He additional discovered the best way to use the open-source library, React. Jonah was now an intermediate-level programmer. 

How it’s going

Jonah is at the moment the top software program engineer at Hashcom Tech, an organization that gives broadcasting-related software program options, and web-system options for organizations. He works 9am to 5pm on weekdays. “The official closing time is 5. However generally I’ve to do additional time,” he says. “My day often begins with an hour of programming. Then I evaluation the codes of my subordinates. I’ve to ensure every thing is working easily, and that there are not any safety points.”

It’s been two years since he transitioned to tech. “Generally, I get jealous of my former coursemates who toed the trail to mining. Their pay is big, they usually don’t do as a lot as I do,” he says. “However in tech, there may be all the time room for enchancment and wage developments. So I take solace in that.” Jonah is set to be in tech for the lengthy haul. “Finally, I’ll stand alone. I’m pondering of reviewing my outdated software program. I’ve additionally began studying Hybrid app improvement,” he says

Profession hack.

Focus. Get all the data and mentorship you want. 

“Concentrate on what you need. That manner it’s straightforward to navigate any confusion. Additionally, get the mandatory info. I used to be blind to loads of issues throughout my transition. I want I had a mentor. A mentor can information you as a result of they’ve been by it,” he says.

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