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Building and sharing in Open Source: Omolara Adejuwon

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Hi, my name is Omolara Adejuwon. I am an Android engineer currently based in Canada. My coding journey started years ago the night my dad bought a personal desktop computer. I remember installing software like Mavis Beacon that teaches how to type, and games like Solitaire, Spyder and some other nostalgic PC software at the time. I did a lot of things with the PC, and I became curious as to exactly how they work.

This curiosity was something I later explored while waiting for admission into the university. I went out to learn how to repair and diagnose computers. This experience was way off software development but It taught me a great deal about how the computer works. The motherboards, graphic cards, network cards, cables, and Wi-Fi; we had a field day with these topics. But everything changed when I got into university and in my second year at OAU, we got introduced to FORTRAN.

A career in tech?

FORTRAN was super abstract. It damped my energy for programming as I wasn’t getting anything from the classes and the concepts seemed to fly over my head. After that particular semester in 200 Level, I got in contact with my classmates and with their help, I finally knew what the deal with FORTRAN was. Then things started changing, I picked up JAVA and quickly grew to other languages - learning and scaling like it was nothing. This was my origin story.

I did a lot of things with the PC, and I became curious as to exactly how they work.

Think about what the internet looks like now and what it looked like 10 years ago. There is a huge gap in the quality of the tech we use today and the internet in comparison. I had to overcome challenges like access to the internet, power and even the status quo. Software engineering wasn’t the cool thing 10 years ago and my parents did not see the way this was going to work. Oil & Gas was where it was happening but for me, it wasn’t.

I got an offer from Total in 2013 for an internship position, went in the first day and never came back. I remember getting a call from the HR person asking why I was absent that day. I just didn’t see myself fitting into that space. Eventually, my parent trusted my decision to pursue software engineering fully and I think it turned out well.

Building, sharing, and open source.

Open Source wasn’t a thing I came into with intention. Everything started with the passion for sharing. It was just me working on projects over the weekend, pushing it out for people to see and asking for feedback. Sharing it also on Twitter maybe it might help somebody. And because I was also a consumer of lots of projects and popular libraries then, it was natural to just share. My goal was not to contribute to open source, I just wanted to share what I was building and that was exactly what I did with SlackWord.


SlackWord was a fancy app I built to help me get the meaning of words my colleagues used during conversations. Slack was just getting popular at the time and it allowed developers to build bots on top of its service to extend its features. So, I was like, there is a dictionary API, there was Slack, Let me spend a few hours hacking something together and see what I can come up with. After testing with my colleagues, I shared it with more people outside work and the response was satisfying.

My goal was not to contribute to open source, I just wanted to share what I was building.

Open source generally has just made me more of the engineer I am today. The fact that I can easily open people's projects, see what they are building and how they structure their projects has been a big help in improving my skills. It has made my journey easy and my growth easy. It takes a bit of discipline and boldness, to be honest. But once you can break the initial limitation and start sharing, it starts getting good from there.

Advice to Software Developers

I'd advise other software developers to keep contributing to open source. It doesn't have to be you writing code, sometimes it might just be you maintaining the project, opening pull requests, or even buying a coffee for the author or maintainer of the library or open source project that is helping your life.

It can be as simple as that. It helps them focus because, to be honest, many people are not being paid for doing what they are doing. It goes a long way to say - I see you, thank you for building this. This is my token, you know, so you can either be monetary or even if you decide, open a PR to that project and contribute updates to it.


Open source is here to stay. It's not going anywhere. And I just want to say thank you to everyone who's taking time out of their everyday life to build something that helps thousands of developers outside. I know that there are lots of communities and conferences happening these days around open source, so this points to the fact that it's here to stay.

People are getting more and more involved in building projects and enriching the community. And that's one thing I'm very excited about, that we are not being selfish developers. So, yeah, thank you so much for having me.

Connect with Omolara on Twitter and GitHub

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