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S4E19: From Learning to Code on a Phone to Working for an MIT Startup With Elvis Chidera

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Elvis Chidera is a software developer who grew up in a rural part of Nigeria and taught himself how to code on a Nokia phone.

When he was only 11 years old, Elvis became curious about how websites were built and wanted to download games on his Nokia phone. That curiosity led him to coding tutorials, and he began using a simple notepad app to code.

Eventually he was able to save up enough for a laptop and begin freelancing, but before that, he managed to develop microedition apps using only his phone and Java.

Today, at the age of 19, Elvis is an Android developer at dot Learn, an MIT startup that builds educational apps for students in emerging markets like Africa. He has also worked on over 50 apps which collectively have millions of downloads from the Google Play store.

In this episode, listen to Elvis's story, his experiences programming on a phone, what he's been doing career-wise, and what the future holds.

Key takeaways:

  • Anyone can learn to code, even if they feel like they don't have the “right” technology or can't afford it. It might take more hard work and creativity, but anything is possible if you're determined–even if you're learning to code on a phone.
  • Never feel like you're too young to start pursuing your dreams or going after the job you want. Show people what you can do and why they should take you seriously.
  • You can start freelancing even if it's early in your coding journey. Take small projects and let that motivate you to solve challenges they present. Use those gigs as learning experiences and sources of side income.
  • Once you've “made it,” try using your skills to help others in your situation avoid some of the frustrations you faced.

Links and mentions from the episode:

Thanks for listening!

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Special thanks to this episode’s sponsors

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