My Pivot Journal is a Ventures Africa weekly series documenting people’s career transitions from one industry to another, especially to tech.
26-year-old Anthony Adebayo is a tech bro. But he wasn’t always one. He started his career in marketing even before he graduated from the University. He still describes himself as a marketer. But these days, he is into marketing skills, his tech skills. He transitioned from promoting different products, including tech products, to designing tech products as a UI/UX designer. And it started with a bit of criticism.
Here is UI/ UX designer Anthony Adebayo’s story on becoming a tech bro.
How it started
Anthony is a graduate of business administration. His first job was in 2016, working for Jumia as a marketing agent while he was in school. After graduating, he dabbled into digital marketing. “People were talking about how digital marketing was changing the whole landscape. So I figured, “why not?” But he only explored the basics of digital marketing before he moved to business administration and development for startups. He did this for about a year before he answered the clarion call. During his service year, he became interested in tech. But instead of full-on tech, he quickly falls back to digital marketing. This time, he goes all in. “I think I went down the rabbit hole learning about six to seven fields in digital marketing,” he said. He soon got a job as a content marketing strategist with a Berlin-based digital guide – Scarlet Rose Ventures. He wrote for different digital marketing websites, including two Indian companies.
Anthony wasn’t particularly interested in some of the products he had to market. They had a bad reputation, but they paid the bills. “I used to do affiliate marketing, and most people would complain about the user experience with different apps. I would do my research and find out the problem. I cared about my users so much that I wished I could give them the kind of products they deserved,” he said. And that was it. He decided he wanted to do more than promote these products. He wanted people to be able to use them. Anthony quit his job. Plus, “I kept hearing about tech everywhere. I saw people’s alerts. People were doing crazy things with tech. I wanted a part of that, to leave my mark no matter how small. I cannot sew. I cannot make furniture. So it was the next best thing,” he said.
Anthony starts reading different articles, but he always falls asleep before the end. So he does the next best thing, and like most people in 2020, turns to YouTube. He would stay up from 7pm – 3am watching tech tutorial videos. He did this for a few months before paying for professional courses to feed his new career. He also revived his Twitter account (which he describes as a crazy place) to connect with other techies.
But lack of mentorship and finances were challenging. Anthony could not afford to pay for some courses and get a mentor to help navigate his new career. He also could not afford to pay for electricity as he was jobless. The free resources helped, but they also came with information overload. “There is so much information on the internet. So when starting, it can be hard to figure out where to start. Instead of starting from stage one, you could end up starting from stage five or seven,” he said.
Driven by his desire to create user-friendly products, Anthony chose to do UI/UX design. “It is like the basics of product building. How do the products affect the users? What are the users’ problems? And how do you solve them?” After five months, Anthony lands his first tech internship. Then a second and a third. “I had a whole road map. After three internships, I would look for a junior role in a company. That way, I can take on real projects while learning from senior designers. I also did some freelancing on the side to boost my progress and portfolio,” he explained.
How it’s going
Anthony is currently a UI/UX designer based in Port Harcourt. He is the chief technology officer of DOXHUB, a business branding startup. “I think I have grown so much. When I started, I was scared of taking jobs. Even jobs I knew I could deliver. I had imposter syndrome. But now, the whole tech thing has made me more of a problem solver than a critic,” he said.
His proud moments happen when the “next billion users” find it easy to use the products he designed – like his typical Nigerian mom. “I noticed she could learn, but some of these products are designed in such a way that it is difficult for novice users to interact with. So whenever I make products that digitally illiterate people can interact with, I feel good about it.” Anthony is now a full-on tech bro. And apart from improving usability for the digitally illiterate, he is very committed to the metaverse and building an artificial version of himself.
“Effort is progress. If you keep making the same mistakes over and over, the scales will eventually fall. The goal is to improve at least one per cent every day. To keep living and learning,” he said.