Dare to Dream and Persist — Michael Dean Oyewole’s Story

Semicolon Africa
3 min readOct 30, 2023

Everyone who knows me in Semicolon knows I have a second home in a cubicle on the top floor of the building. It was my designated reading spot, and I literally lived there when not in class. It was my safe space and a symbol that reminded me of who I am and why I enrolled to learn software engineering in the first place.

Unlike many privileged people, I never had my life planned out for me, so I knew at one point I had to take full charge of it, and the program at Semicolon brought that realization to me. Before that, my life was led without a clear path.

My early life was filled with challenges. I grew up in a polygamous family marked by disagreements and separations. At one point, my mom left, taking charge of my sibling and me, her two youngest. However, the financial strain soon became too much to bear, so we decided to reconcile and return to our family home.

Understanding my family’s financial situation, I started looking for work soon after I finished secondary school. Many times, I followed people to construction sites, hustling for odd jobs that could help us make ends meet. I studied project management at the university, and just as soon as I was ready for work, the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

My first encounter with the world of technology came through my friend’s regular posts on her social media pages. By then, I had been promoted to outlet manager at a food services company and was quite comfortable with the job. When I asked her about it, she informed me about various opportunities in the tech industry. Sadly, I had to pass them up as I didn’t own a laptop at the time. However, my love for tech resurfaced when I discovered the potential within the field. This time, I invested in a computer system with the intent of learning data science.

I got in touch with my friend again, who told me she had started attending in-person classes at Semicolon. I was intrigued but had no clue about Semicolon, so I dug deeper. She elaborated on Semicolon’s mission, its comprehensive offerings, and the educational support available through the partnership with Learnspace, which offered loans to students. That gave me assurance.

Joining Semicolon was a big step for me. It meant leaving my job and giving up the steady income I had. There were days when I relied on the meals Semicolon provided to make it through. But these challenges only fueled my determination to give my best to the program. I reminded myself that I wasn’t just learning for my own sake; I was doing it for my family.

The techpreneurship program taught me how to learn. It taught me to be adaptable. The community kept me on my toes, and seeing those ahead of me who have made it inspired me to push harder.

My experience in the tech world shows how powerful it is to keep learning and have a supportive community. It’s like a story of never giving up and always wanting to learn more. As I take my first steps into the world as a newly trained software engineer, I know that my future is filled with limitless opportunities, and my story is sure to inspire all those who dare to dream and persist.

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Semicolon Africa

Managing the content crew at Semicolon; a social impact training institute and innovation hub focused on solving societal problems with disruptive technology.