DesignIT Africa - Today a learner, tomorrow a professional

Today a learner, tomorrow a professional

Bukola Olapade

July 25, 2022

Maleek (a fictitious name) had just finished the Introduction to cybersecurity course and tests, he aced it. He approached me and started bragging about how he aced the tests. This was really uncomfortable for me because I didn’t pass my introduction to web development test (who does that?). Maleek told me he was going to hack NASA in 5 months. I swallowed that because in terms of relativity, Maleek was smarter and I’ve also seen a movie where a 8 year old guy hacked the NSA. I thought if a 8 year old guy could hack NSA, what would Maleek, a sixteen year old guy do?

I’m happy to inform you that Maleek isn’t into cybersecurity anymore (In fact, he gave up programming in general). Oh no! Scrape the “happy” part.

This is supposed to be telling you how to be a professional in your skill-set, it won’t change. I only have more to tell you about Maleek and we still have a few things to learn from Maleek


Maleek was a fast learner but he had a bad habit of setting big goals in an unrealistic time-frame. Maleek wanted to hack NASA. Of course, it was possible. People hack and they hack big tech and government organizations but it takes time, lots of knowledge and experience from starting small.

- It’s okay to set goals and it’s okay to set big goals but be realistic. You can’t deceive yourself.

Maleek lacked good communication and interpersonal skills. He was always quick to brag about his works to every programmer he met, wouldn’t let them talk first. He blew his trumpet to show off his skills but other trumpeters thought he was doing it to intimidate them. Maleek’s forwardness made him learn only little from others. The introduction classes Maleek went through was more like a Do-It-Yourself thing. Maleek easily passed that but his bad interpersonal skills made that his highest achievement in programming.

- You can’t be a professional without learning from others. It’s hard to learn without having someone to put you through even if it’s one-sided.

Maleek’s forwardness made him a huge contributor to his skill environment but his codes were used to teach others about wrong ways of doing things. This was the major reason Maleek gave up on programming. Maleek contributed what he didn’t know.

- Contributing to your skill environment is important, really important. Just be sure you’re good at what you’re trying to teach others.


I recall telling you how sad I am about Maleek dropping cybersecurity and I’m saying it again to emphasize on the “sad”-ness I feel. One or two things to note.

The world is changing, new tools are being developed and old tools are being improved everyday to make learning and work easier. When you find a new tool that could make your work easier, learn to use it. Doesn’t mean you should stop working with your old tools completely. Just evolve as the world evolves.

- Evolve

It’s not just about being smart. It’s more. It’s about communication, learning from others, contributing or teaching others, listening and evolving.

- If it helps to know that Maleek is real, then I’m “sad” to tell you. Yes, he is real.

Are you like Maleek or have some of his traits? You’ve got to step up.