COMPUTER PROGRAMMER JIDE ADE TALKS WALKING AWAY FROM GANG CULTURE AND FIGHTING FOR HIS EDUCATION.
Jide Ade is a young and driven computer programmer who is dedicated to helping provide a platform for other young people, to achieve success. He currently runs his own IT Company called “Iron Ltd” – where he develops websites, apps and databases for clients.
Although he originally wanted to be a lawyer and hated programming, it was his love for computers that led him in a different direction. Whilst at university, his own lecturer told him he was a programming dunce and would never be able to get the grasp of it. Even though he would ask for help and on several occasions ask to meet up with his lecturer for guidance, he was just never given the time of day.
Despite the lack of support, he not only managed to graduate with a 1st bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in 2013 but has also gone on to do a Master’s degree – which he will graduate from this summer (2015).
We sat down with Jide for more insight on his journey and his advice to the many young people who can relate to his story:
How was your experience at university?
“My university experience was quite interesting. I wasn’t serious in first year I’ll admit, but I started to pick things up as time went on. Handing assignments early, being on time and becoming more engaged with the degree. I was very antisocial but I think that was mainly because I knew what I was there for. I was there to get a degree and so I tried to keep to myself as much as I could. I not only did my work, but I also made sure I did my research outside lectures – especially because I lacked support from those I needed it from.”
What would you say was the hardest thing about going to university and studying? What did you struggle with the most and how did you overcome it?
“University isn’t like college or six form. There isn’t a teacher to chase you up, its all down to you to push yourself. Although I enjoyed having the breathing space and not having a teacher all up in my face, I also didn’t get any help whenever I tried to reach out.
I remember in the first year, I failed a module and I ended up having to retake it during the summer. I went over all the module slides, notes, practiced a lot of coding and also did further research on top of that. I was able to learn a lot more than I even imagined and realised how much I enjoying programming. Through that I overcame the things I struggled with and needed help to get my head around. I got 92% in my retake and I didn’t need my lecturer to pass. I just needed to study hard, focus and keep pushing myself.”
Do you have any tips or advice for those currently at university or thinking about going?
“My advice is to not rely on anyone for help, just stay focused and work hard. If there something you don’t understand, do your research on it and find out for yourself. It’s okay to ask for advice but don’t wait around for help from anyone.”
(The interview continues further below)
“From court cases to giving motivational speeches at youth workshops”, Jide’s change of lifestyle he says was a result of becoming more conscious of his surroundings. His biggest life lesson came from knowing the type of people to hang around with and staying away from a wrong type of crowd. Surrounding yourself with positive people will push you to achieve bigger and better – which is exactly why he was able to achieve the things he has. We wanted to know how he was able to change so dramatically and what his turning point was.
When you look back on who you were as a young teenager, what would you say is the biggest change?
“My life now is completely different to what it was when I was a teenager. Back then, I was part of a gang and also involved in a lot of dodgy businesses. I got in trouble with the police quite often but fortunately I never ended up in prison. I was surrounded by the wrong type of people but now I’m more conscience of who I’m around. I’m not proud of my past but I’m proud of the man I’m becoming.”
What was the turning point for you? How were you able to come out of that lifestyle?
“I can’t thank no one but God for saving me if I’m honest. I don’t think I would have gotten out of that lifestyle if it wasn’t for him. He rescued me from trouble time after time, after time and so I owe it all to him. A lot of the friends around me at the time, either ended up in jail or dead. I knew if I didn’t change one day, I would be next – I would either be dead or in jail and I didn’t want that to be my destiny.
I wanted to achieve something big and prove my family wrong. I wanted to be living proof to everyone that people can change if they believe they can. I wanted to show that it doesn’t matter what your struggles are or what background you come from. You can achieve anything your heart desires, as long as you believe in yourself and work hard for it.”
On the 27th of July 2013 just right after he graduated, Jide sent his dad a text message with his graduation pictures. After tweeting the message on Twitter it went viral. See the tweet below:
A month before Jide received his a-level results, he says there was some sort of a rumour in his family that he had failed. Where this rumour came from he didn’t know, but a lot of his family members especially his dad believed it. So when he got into university and told his dad, he didn’t believe him and kept asking for evidence to prove it. His family strongly believed he was good for nothing and would end up in jail or dead sooner rather than later.
How did knowing that your own family thought the worst of you make you feel?
“It made me feel angry and I was really offended because they were fully aware that I did in-fact pass my a-levels. There wasn’t anything to prove them otherwise. On the other hand, it was also something that kept me motivated to do well at and prove them wrong. I was so determined to graduate that even when I was admitted into hospital in my final year because of heart failure, I ended up sneaking out just to complete and hand in my assignments. Why? Because I didn’t want a delay to my graduation. I didn’t want extended time because of my health. I was so determined to complete everything within the three-year timescale and prove my father wrong for doubting me, which I did.”
Were there ever times you felt like giving up? What made you keep going?
“YES! There were several occasions where I wanted to drop out of university to focus solely on programming as a career. However, I knew if I dropped out it would mean no graduation, no degree thus proving my family right so dropping out was not an option. I constantly reminded myself what I was striving for and that it would all be worth it in the end.”
What would you say to another young person like yourself ,who has ambitions that his own parents don’t believe in?
“Prove them wrong. The best way to silence your doubters is by achieving success. At the end of the day only you know what your capable of achieving not your parents. My own mother said I would end up in jail before I even end up in university but I believed that I was better than a jail cell. I believed that I could achieve something positive and prove my mother wrong. Not only was I able to graduate but also started up my own company.”
Jide’s IT Company Iron Ltd was launched in October 2013 with the primary goal to provide clients with top quality services at the best price. These services not only include websites, apps, and databases but also games, software, graphics design and system analysis. The company currently has a workforce of 7 people but are looking to recruit.
What would you say is the hardest thing in relation to what you do now and how do you overcome it?
“The hardest thing I would say is that there’s no time to rest. You have to keep going and keep pushing. I can’t count the amount of sleepless nights I’ve had because I’ve had so much work to do. If I’m not doing work in particular then I’m doing research on ways to improve. When you work for someone else, you have allocated shifts in which to work but when you run your own company, there isn’t such a thing.”
What in your option is the main problem affecting the youth in a negative way and what do you think can be done to change that?
“I think that there isn’t enough positive role models. People who are achieving success through promoting the importance of education, unity, getting involved in positive things in order to be successful the right way need to be celebrated more. The main role models young people see and follow are musicians – which in itself isn’t bad but I feel like a lot of these musicians; especially rappers give out the wrong messages. I know that there are a lot of positive role models out there, but I feel a lot of them are silent and need to come out in the open.”
What advice would you give to anyone with career aspirations like yours?
“As a programmer, the best advice I can give is patience and practice. Programming is difficult, if it were easy everyone would be doing it but its not. You have to keep practicing and playing around by programming different things in order to take you to that next level. You also have to be very patient because it could take you longer than expected to code something. The more you code the better you become at being a programmer.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
“In 5 years I see me and the team being more of an international brand and being more established overseas. We’ve already been on a few business trips abroad and have made a few foreign clients.”
What do you want to be remembered by?
“I want to be remembered as someone who was able to achieve success regardless of the struggles he faced, the lack of support he endured or how many people doubted him. He was still able to make his dreams come true. There isn’t a successful black person in the IT field yet and I want to be one of the first.”
Connect with Jide:
Don’t forget to visit IRON LTD’s website: