"Failure is not when you don't manage to do it. It's when you stop trying." - Wilfried Canirinka
Microverse students from around the world work hard to become professional web developers. From making sacrifices to support themselves throughout the program, to spending hundreds of hours learning, they’re committed to improving their lives. Microverse alumni have landed jobs around the world, earning more than what they made before — without paying Microverse anything until they’re employed.
We are delighted to highlight another alumni, who established a software community in his hometown of Bujumbura. Wilfried Canirinka works as a Chief Technical Officer of Aclis, a creative agency focused on web design development and branding in Burundi. We spoke with Wilfried about why he decided to join Microverse and how he is giving back to his community with his new knowledge.
Beginning the Journey from Kenya to Burundi
Wilfried graduated with a bachelor's degree in computer science from Africa Nazarene University in Kenya. Though Wilfried loved computers, he had limited access to them. When he started university, he became exposed to the world of coding and fell in love with it. His first job, though, was different from his passion. He worked as a support analyst to assist auditors in breaking down the digital audit process.
While working in Kenya, Wilfried realized it was more developed than his country. Contributing to a developed society while his hometown was struggling didn't feel right with Wilfried. He wanted to give back to his community instead.
Despite already having a degree, Wilfried decided to learn full-time again to gain more skills. "I had in mind to start a community, and I cannot go to the community with other skills." Wilfried explained, "When I go back to them, there's experience that is added. So they will listen more."
Learning for the Community
Life is harder in Burundi than in Kenya and Wilfried noticed people complaining about the differences between the two countries. This spurred Wilfried to take action and change their circumstances.
For his plan to be successful, he had to work on himself first. It’s important for people to believe in his skills and make himself known for it. Wilfried looked for web development programs to help him do this. Then his friend told him about Microverse. The program was what he was looking for, so he decided to take a big step and join Microverse.
Wilfried began the program in October of 2019 and by 2020, started his career as a software developer.
Facing Differences at Microverse
Imposter syndrome kicked in the first week of starting Microverse. "I was like, am I good enough? Am I going to be able to make it?" He had a lot of doubts on if he would be able to understand and finish the lessons.
"Before you do it, you feel like you cannot do it. But when you start doing it, you realize actually you knew how to do it."
Another struggle Wilfried faced was the time difference between his schedule and time zone. Because of that, he usually finished the program at 1 - 2 am. It was difficult for his body to adapt to the time shift.
During the program, Wilfried worked with peers from France, Brazil, and more. Working with people different from you is a challenge but Wilfried believed it was a necessary experience.
Establishing His Own Community & Organization
Wilfried organized the first hackathon ever in Burundi in April 2019. His efforts were questioned by people who didn't understand what he was trying to do. "I want them to see the talent, the local talent that is already here." The passion behind his work was to showcase the untapped potential in his area. He and his team managed to organize the event despite the lack of sponsors.
A few months after joining Microverse, Wilfried had a momentous idea. "Why can't we create something that can generate money that we can use now to organize these events?" He collaborated with his friends on how to begin this start-up idea. His goal was to create a company to generate money for the community.
"That's how it was born; with the community in mind."
There's a lot of technical talent that is mostly hidden in Africa. Wilfried thinks that the people should believe in that local talent. They should have higher hopes within their community to provide skilled workers. For the country as a whole, there is a need for investors who can support African startups.
From idea to reality, Wilfried managed to establish Aclis with three other team members. The company receives support from Google with their projects, giving them resources to share with the community. Now, the developer community in Burundi is thriving through Wilfried's efforts.
Organizing Local Tech Events
In March 2020, Wilfried organized an event for international women's day alongside WTM. It was a meetup with different women presenting their ideas and it was a great opportunity to see how more women are starting to work in the tech industry. Wilfried noted that in Burundi, "Women are often afraid of tech. We're trying to see if we can remove that fear and show them that there's space for them [in the tech industry]."
Due to the pandemic, the event was held on an online platform. Wilfried is looking forward to starting in-person events again because not everyone has access to laptops and technology in his area. Fewer people attended the online events than his previous offline ones.
Advice for Microverse Students and Aspiring Web Developers
"Failure is not when you don't manage to do it. It's when you stop trying."
It took Wilfried many tries to pass the coding challenges initially. "It's not easy, but you have to keep pushing yourself…You have to go through it, as long as you're willing to put in the work and do your research, you will be able to do this."
Wilfried also shared some advice on preparing to join Microverse. The four things you need to do are:
- Understand what you're going into
- Read well
- Be clear on your motivations for joining
- Be prepared
On a person's readiness to join Microverse, Wilfried says, “If you are waiting to be ready, you will never be ready to join.”
For those who are starting a career in software development, Wilfried has three don'ts to live by:
- Don't doubt yourself
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
- Don't procrastinate
Through a lot of hard work, focus and dedication, Wilfried managed to build a company and contribute to his local community using his Microverse experience. To date, Microverse has enrolled full-time students from 100+ countries in its full-time online program, and helped students from around the world land life-changing jobs. If you’re ready to change your life by becoming a global software developer, get started below!