Idayat Sanni is from Ogun, Nigeria. She became an Educative Answers contributor in 2022 when she participated in the Educative Technical Writing Workshop. Prior to that, she spent years running her own fashion blog and working with fashion brands to build their social media pages. Now, she works as a Public Relations Officer and is learning to code. In her free time, she runs her own modest clothing business on her Instagram and manages social media pages for brands. Read Idayat's story below to hear about her unique journey into coding.
Q: What do you currently do for work?
“I am a Public Relations Officer in a hospital. The job helps keep me on my toes, but I feel ready for something new. That is why I am diversifying my time by building social media pages for brands and learning to code on the side.”
Q: Do you want to eventually transition into a different job that involves coding?
"Yes, by the end of this year, I should be in a Front-end dev job. That is my goal."
Q: How did you first become interested in coding?
"Last year my friend introduced me to coding. I used to be a fashion blogger and had my own fashion website, so I already had experience building designs. I would play around with building websites using WordPress and Elemental. My friend pointed out to me that I should try coding. I really wanted to switch careers, so I attended a lot of seminars on Cloud Computing, Back-end, and Dev Ops. Through this search I realized that I was particularly interested in Front-end development. I loved that I could see what I was building because I am very design-oriented. Eventually, I would love to combine my passion for design with coding."
Q: You mentioned that you build social media pages for brands. Could you tell me more about that?
“This started back when I was a fashion blogger. I used to teach companies how to brand their social media pages. I would show them how to take videos and photos of their products to sell online. From that, a lot of companies asked me to help them brand their pages. I started out working with fashion brands, but right now I am currently working with a skincare brand. I help manage the models who display the companies’ products and talk about the benefits.”
Q: How do you juggle having a full time job, managing brands, and learning to code?
"Truthfully, it is a lot of sacrificing one thing for another. Sometimes I even sacrifice sleep, going to parties, or time on social media. It is very helpful to have a schedule and prioritize staying on track. It also helps to remind yourself that this is not going to last forever. If you are focusing on one thing now, you can move on to something else later.
Every day I go to work in the morning and when I am done with my official duties, I take time to learn to code or work on social media pages. Then I go back to work. I get home around 5 pm from work and I begin taking pictures for brands and editing images. Then, I study coding from 9 pm to 11 pm; but, sometimes I need a break. For example, this week, I am taking a break from learning to code so that I don't burn out."
Q: What do you like about coding? What keeps you interested?
"Seeing what I have built. I get so excited seeing that I started at H1 and can eventually see everything that I have done on my screen. I also enjoy that you get challenges along the way. For example, when my code isn't working, I can go back and see that I may have forgotten a period or square brackets as such a little thing can break your code.
Q: Do you feel that coding is adding a lot of value to your career?
"Definitely. There are so many things that I didn't know I was capable of before coding. I didn't know that I could build this kind of stuff. Once I started learning, I realized I could do so much with coding. It takes a lot of practice, patience, and trial and error. But it has been adding so much value to my self-confidence. I get excited with I think of my future in coding."
Q: How do you see coding playing into your future?
"I have not mapped out my whole future, but for now, I would love to accomplish learning Front-end development in the next 2-3 years. Obviously, with coding, you can never stop learning. But, I want to get to a stage where I can build anything – that is my goal for now. Otherwise, I am just enjoying the process of learning. Maybe in a year I will look at building websites more closely."
Q: Do you still run your fashion blog?
"No, but I still have my Instagram where I keep all of my photos. As a blogger, you spend a lot of time consuming products. If I could go into sustainable fashion, I would be interested in getting back into fashion blogging. But, sustainable fashion is very expensive, so I don't think I would go back. If I did go back to fashion, it would only be if it were also mixed with my other passions, such as coding.
That being said, I still maintain my love for fashion. I have a hijab brand and I sell the wraps on my Instagram. I model the hijabs and style them with different outfits. So I still have my connection to fashion blogging; it's just slightly different now."
Q: Do you have any other hobbies outside of coding?
"I enjoy photography and I often take photos for the brands I work with. One thing that I am really passionate about is women's basketball. I can stay up until 2 am some nights watching women's basketball! I love the Las Vegas Aces, and I love watching Korean dramas (my favorite is Reply 1988 – I rewatch the show every month)."
Q: How do you find time for your hobbies while you juggle your other responsibilities?
"I squeeze in time. Sometimes that even means my hobbies have to wait until midnight, but I find the time! I also take breaks. Most Fridays, when I come back from work, I try to stop everything and watch movies or basketball or spend time with my family. It is important to pick windows to really enjoy yourself."
Q: Do you feel that your hobbies relate to coding?
"In some ways, yes and in some ways no. I connect my interests in fashion and coding because I could use coding to build a fashion website. But, I also feel like my interests are independent of each other as I enjoy putting myself in different bubbles and communities. Outside of that, I try to keep my social media separate because I want to be able to relax when I am on social media."
Q: Do you feel that coding is a creative outlet for you?
"Absolutely! I can't wait to get to a stage where I can use coding to build a website on how to style clothes on models. I want to build a whole magazine layout. From the outside, it wouldn't look like it is coding, but basically, it would just be CSS. My vision is to create a website where you can click on clothes and try them out on a model to see how they would look together. Everything will be interactive! Coding can be very creative, but it depends on your coding path. For example, if you work in the fashion industry, your creativity will come out in some form."
Q: Do you feel a strong sense of community within your hobbies?
"I have found strong communities with coding. In the fashion industry, too, I have made many connections that have grown into friendships. Even with basketball, I have found 1 or 2 people who also love to watch women's basketball. Community is very important for me because I feel like I wouldn't have gotten this far without community. When I attend webinars for women in tech, I can spend hours talking to the other participants; it restores me. It's like there is a spring within myself that excites me to go back into coding. I would advise anyone starting out coding to find a community and share with people."
Q: Do you enjoy mentoring aspiring learners?
"I do! I am always excited to tell other people, "you can try coding!" I tell all of my siblings and friends to try it. I want to spread the word about coding and how it can change your life."
Q: Do you have any other goals aside from landing your first Front-end job?
"I want to prioritize my health. I need to remember to make healthy choices and find ways to cope with stress. When I get stressed out, I shut down. Otherwise, I am enjoying the coding community and the process of learning."
Q: Do you have any advice for others who are also juggling multiple responsibilities?
"I would tell them not to juggle too much at once. The only reason I am able to juggle as much as I do is because I have been doing this for years. For example, photography and brand management are not new things for me. I have established skills in these areas and I am quite good at them. If I were trying to juggle coding, which is new, with another new hobby, it would be very difficult. So, for me, the only new thing I am juggling is coding, but that takes most of my time since I am still learning.
All I would say is, if you enjoy something, go for it! You need to find what excites you because that will sustain you as you learn. If you open your laptop and don't feel excited or if you are bored, you are not going to go far. I am most excited by building something and seeing the result on my screen. That is what sustains me when I am coding."
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