Johnson Aniyi, a student of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering from UNILORIN, Kwara State, is the Chief Executive Officer of Pajay Media, an Information Technology outfit that focuses on full-stack development. In this interview with ADIGUN TEMITOPE, the apps developer says he wants to rule the tech world
When did you start developing web and mobile applications?
It all started around 2013 when I was about leaving secondary school. I’ve always had interest in computer programming and making things work on my computer. So, after my final exams, I got a trainer through a close friend. He taught me web programming. I kept practising, with no idea of what do with it till I got to my 200 Level at the University of Ilorin in 2016. I was just playing around as usual, then a friend sat me down and taught me. So, I dived into web development later the same year. For mobile application, after familiarising myself with web programming, I discovered good technologies that can be used for development of hybrid applications on mobile devices. So, I took a short course on the ionic framework and started mobile development with it. From there, I proceeded to the use of React Native.
How are you mixing entrepreneurship with your studies?
It is commonly said that there’s always going to be a side effect. I understood that not quite long after I got admitted into school; I knew I had to finish what I started. So, that kept me going. Whenever there’s a project to handle, I make out time to work on it, for it not to affect my school activities.
What inspired the decision to start Pajay Media?
Pajay media was birthed the moment I was made to realise the potential I have as an IT developer. I remember helping a friend who got a gig to do some of the front end jobs. He paid me. I realised I could also do it, so I read about Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and Elon Musk of SpaceX. Reading about them inspired me to start Pajay Media.
What challenges did you encounter when you started?
Getting people, especially my parents, to understand what I was doing, was a big problem. They were against me. This affected my getting the funds I needed. There was a time I had neither a laptop nor a good phone; all my jobs were done in Information and Communications Technology libraries and cybercafés. But then, I kept pushing till I was able to land a gig and was able to get myself a smartphone to start with, as I couldn’t still afford a laptop. After few more trials, I had enough to get my needs and was able to move on. Another thing then was convincing people/clients that I could do what I don’t even have in my portfolio, which means that I had to do lots of sample projects, consuming time and money just to convince them. But then as time went on, it kept stacking up till most projects were available as proofs.
How would you describe the level of patronage since you started?
It’s averagely good. Truth be told, a good determinant to that is the environment. Sourcing for a big client involves moving to big places (a place your brand sells), which has to stay for now because of schooling. But even with the constraints, patronage is still good. We thank God and look forward to better days.
What qualities have helped you in your vocation?
Consistency and perseverance helped me stay afloat even at ugly times. Then, the quality of my work helps me maintain clients. Others are good communication, meeting timeliness and delivery.
What important lessons have you learnt in business?
In business, I’ve learnt that skill is one thing and marketing the skill is another. However, both should be used effectively to sustain business. Other things I have learnt in business include handling clients, understanding them and knowing when a project isn’t yours.
What are the things you wish you knew when you started?
I wish I knew I could just go and study to be a developer.
What is your view of the IT industry in Nigeria?
It is fast-growing, creating space for professionals. But I must say that the term ‘fast-growing’ still falls back as stunted growth, as there are some ways in which the current state of the country is inhibiting the growth of the IT industry locally.
Do you think young developers in Nigeria are getting enough support?
Saying they’re not getting “enough” means they’re at least getting support. There is apparently blank support for young developers in the country. There is no support system whatever. Even private individuals mostly don’t even support because they don’t understand where you’re headed. So, it’s a tough battle of survival.
How do you intend to distinguish your brand from others?
One thing, for me, is not keeping up with the latest but not following trends. I mean, being unique in terms of designs and user experience, which is a keyword in Pajay Media. Creativity cannot be exhausted.
Where do you see Pajay Media shortly?
Leading the tech world, having a series of subsections and bringing up younger ones.
What advice do you have for youngsters that wish to venture into this vocation?
You never know until you try. Don’t wait till someone who knows little about what you’re an expert in starts feeding you. Development is more than a profession. Bringing solutions to the problem via tech, it will never be done for you; you have to do it yourself and you have the world waiting for you to manifest your potential.
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