Developer Spotlight: Adrian, and Code for Social Impact
“I got to work on a product that really resonated with me.”
Adrian is one of those people that will be remembered for his dedication to community growth. He could use his talents for so many other kinds of projects, but they're not where his passions lie. Adrian cares a lot about helping people make a difference, so he codes for social impact. With Co.Lab, he fit just right where he wanted to be.
Like most of us, Adrian grew up on the internet. He loved browsing the internet as a kid and had always been really fascinated with the world wide web. He started designing as a hobby but later wished he knew how to code. Adrian graduated from coding boot camp in 2019 and began his freelancing journey. Following a six-month internship and a few freelance projects, he found Co.Lab.
When he saw the Co.Lab application link in one of the Slack channels he’s in, he got very interested in the prospect of learning by doing. Five weeks to build a product looked very daunting; it’s a really short time. But Adrian wanted to challenge himself and see how far his team could go. Also, he saw Co.Lab as a wholesome experience where he didn’t have to come up with the idea (role of the product manager) or design the product (role of the designer). He just had to do what he does best — coding.
Building The Bridge
Adrian’s team built Impact Nigeria (originally called The Bridge). It’s a curated database of non-profit organisations in Nigeria dedicated to different causes. It’s targeted at the Nigerian diaspora and anyone really looking to lend a hand and support a cause in Nigeria. Primarily, Impact Nigeria has placed focus on Women’s Rights, Youth Empowerment and Education with the intention to expand even further. In streamlining their three focal causes, the team conducted user interviews.
The result from the user research was that people needed organisations they could trust. There are a lot of fake profiles of charity organisations on the internet and people just want a database of vetted and approved organisations that will actually channel the funds received towards the organisation’s objects. An interesting feature of Impact Nigeria is that it’s a progressive web application. This means that you can access the database without internet connection as long as you had loaded it prior while there was a connection. Adrian thought it vital to include this feature to make the database more easily accessible and to eliminate the lack of internet connection as a barrier.
Creating Impact Nigeria has been very fulfilling for Adrian. He’s worked with start-ups and on many freelance projects but he’s never been a part of something from start to finish. To him, the Demo Day (the day designated for teams to present their products to industry leaders in tech) feeling is different for developers who usually contribute to codes other people have written or wait many months for a start-up project to launch. He really appreciated being a part of something impactful from its early developmental stages through to completion — in 5 weeks!
Fighting against time
According to Adrian, time was their biggest challenge. While they were able to ship their product in time, there was so much more that they wanted to accomplish. They used a week to conduct user research, and while he understands its importance as it was very helpful in shaping up their product, it was time that could have really supported the product’s technical development. He really wished the program were another week or two more, though that doesn’t really matter for their very dedicated team. They had customers, real users, waiting. They were going to provide real value and impact. And they had a team that worked extremely well together. It’s no surprise that they are still working on Impact Nigeria and hoping to launch officially in 2021.
Co.Lab gave Adrian a project of real value, one he hopes to be remembered for. Impact Nigeria is an actual project he worked on, live on the internet, that speaks for him and his skills. It’s supplied him with confidence that helped to validate his belief in himself and his abilities.
Also, he was able to grow abilities outside of coding. His interviewing skills evolved, he learned how to communicate better within a team , resolved how to organise his time to meet deadlines, got familiarised with remote work and so much more. Plus, he gained a new community. He gave coding advice and responded to a few questions from developers in Co.Lab. It’s what members of a community do: help one another. Adrian encourages developers to go through CoLab and values the experience so much that he says he would apply to Co.Lab again soon.
Right now, Adrian works as a learning assistant for 2U Inc / Trilogy Education, a coding boot camp. He owns two businesses on the side, takes on freelancing projects and is still developing Impact Nigeria. He knows he can use his skills for a lot of good, to really drive social impact, and so use them he will.
Adrian was part of the September 2020 cohort of Co.Lab. For more information about Co.Lab, click here.