DIDEV Spotlight: From Playful Beats to Software Development

DIDEV Spotlight: From Playful Beats to Software Development

This week, our DiDev Spotlight shines on Emmanuel Giwa, who discovered his passion for music at a young age and initially considered a career in cybersecurity. However, everything took a different turn when he assisted his cousin with an HTML assignment. This experience sparked a newfound interest, prompting him to explore more books on the subject, followed by taking courses online and exploring various learning resources, ultimately paving the way for a successful career in software development.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do at DivVerse?

My name is Emmanuel Giwa, and I’m a Software Engineer at DivVerse with a strong passion for making beautiful music and building battle tested enterprise software. I currently work as a full-stack .NET engineer, and a major part of my role is to maintain our codebase by fixing issues within our software and adding on-request features. To unwind, I love playing video games, seeing a movie or a tv series that’s a thick wrap of horror or a concatenation of Sci-Fi and action. 

An interesting fact about me is, in about 10 years I intend to run for public office in an effort to serve my nation and help bring some positive changes to her citizens and living standards.

How did you discover your passion for both software development and music? Can you share the story behind how these interests developed simultaneously?

I discovered my passion for music during my younger years, when I used to spend time with a group of friends. We would engage in playful activities involving words and sounds, experimenting with drums, enjoying the vibe lifting our spirits and those around us. Eventually, we decided to take it more seriously and became more dedicated. We started writing lyrics and creating beats using software like Fruity Loops. Through this journey, I developed and found my passion for music.

Regarding Software Development, my involvement began when I assisted my cousin with her computer science assignment. She needed help with writing HTML to match certain requirements, so I found a book which explained that in a simplified way; HTML & CSS by Jon Duckett. Curiosity sparked within me as I delved into the material. At the time, I was primarily interested in Penetration Testing within Cybersecurity, not Software Engineering. However, the instant gratification of seeing my results drawn on the browser’s page had me dashing full speed towards building Software. 

After assisting my cousin with her assignment, I finished the book and then picked up the next one for JavaScript & jQuery, also by Jon Duckett. I completed the exercises, took on a project to build a few web pages and navigate between them, nailed that and at this point there was no turning back, I had broke into Software Engineering, specifically Frontend Development and I wasn’t going anywhere. My daily actions involved expanding on my knowledge and skills by utilizing online platforms like Codecademy and FreeCodeCamp and engaging in consistent and focused study sessions. I persevered in practising, seeking to understand, and continually challenging myself to grow and improve in the subject matter.

In what ways do you believe your musical background enhances your creativity and problem-solving skills as a software developer?

I believe that my musical background does not directly enhance my creativity or problem-solving skills as a developer. These two aspects, music and software development, are distinct from each other. However, they converge in the way I perceive the world. My perspective extends beyond a simple black-and-white view, as I envision music as a potential solution for people on a broader scale. The fusion of music and everyday life can seamlessly intertwine, showcasing how it enhances my creativity. I continue to explore ways in combining music with my daily experiences, to create a harmonious blend.

Can you describe a project where you integrate your software development skills with your musical abilities? How did these two areas intersect, and what was the outcome?

A project where I integrated my software skills with my musical abilities was a project called Know Afrika, a quiz mobile game on Play Store, where you get to answer questions that teach you about Africa. In this project, I successfully combined my software skills, design and music skills to create theme music using Fruity Loops. It was on this project that my passion for music seamlessly merged with my software development career.

During the game development process, I incorporated specific background themes that steered the game in different directions. This aspect added an extra layer of depth and immersion to the overall gaming experience. The project was truly amazing, as it demonstrated how my skills in both music and software development can be infused together to create something amazing.

Are there any specific genres or styles of music that you enjoy creating or experimenting with? 

 Hip-hop and rap hold a special place in my creative realm. These genres offer boundless possibilities, regardless of their longstanding presence in the industry. Additionally, I have a keen interest in experimenting with afrobeats and amapiano.

Are there any particular projects or technologies you’re excited about working on in the future that combine your software development skills and your passion for music?

I’m quite excited about working on AuNation, which is a musical platform that would enhance the experience the fans get to have, making engagement more personalized than it’s ever been. The concept behind this platform revolves around enabling fans to earn rewards, contribute, and actively participate in a global community of their musical idol. I believe this will set a trend and standard for inclusivity, really looking forward to it.

How do you stay updated with the latest advancements and trends in both software development and the music industry? Are there any particular communities, forums, or resources you rely on?

Within the music industry, I have a few friends who are actively involved in the music scene, and they have quite a following. Moreover, I actively follow and engage with certain  individuals and a few platforms that consistently provide updates on live shows, new releases, and overall happenings in the music world.

In software development, the landscape is vast and ever-evolving. Personally, I rely heavily on YouTube and a few tech blogs as a valuable resource. I follow numerous YouTube channels that consistently publish updated content relevant to my fields. Furthermore, I engage with communities on Twitter and subscribe to mail newsletters with certain creators I know pride themselves with relevant and in-demand skills and updates. By utilising these various resources, I am able to gather a comprehensive overview of current events and upcoming trends in the software development sphere.

How do you manage your time and maintain productivity while pursuing your passions in software development and music? Are there any specific techniques or strategies you employ?

In terms of music, the concept is to gather material from different aspects of life, break down the material, then put it back together and fuse it all into a song or draft.

I take notes or record these bits so that later I can tap into that vibe again with the exact melody. This is one way for me to enhance productivity and time management.

Another important aspect is recognizing that you can’t do everything yourself. Learning to delegate work and holding yourself and delegated parties accountable is key. 

In software development, effective time management starts with documenting, which saves me a lot of headaches. I document what I want to do, what I have done, and how I am doing it or did it. The purpose of this is to create a solid point of reference, saving the trouble of redoing everything. I maintain a to-do list with specific goals and only include tasks that I know I will do. I don’t overload it with countless items. I prioritise the important tasks and focus on what needs to be done that day.

To maintain focus and avoid distractions, I set time limits for myself. For instance, I allocate two hours of uninterrupted work on a task. After that, I take a break of 20 to 30 minutes and then resume the timed approach to complete the task. Even if I don’t finish it, I know I’ve  made significant progress and am close to completion. This method helps me stay on track and focused amidst distractions.

Tracking how I spend my time on different tasks helps me identify areas where I may be wasting time or not generating value. By understanding how I allocate my time, I can make adjustments accordingly. Breaking down large tasks into smaller chunks helps me visualise progress and completion.

Any tips for anyone hoping to pursue a career in software development and music?

If you have the passion to pursue both careers go for it, but ensure you’re driven by passion because that would be your life jacket when the going gets tough. Although I won’t just speak to people who are interested in Software Engineering and Music, regardless of your passions, let time be your only limiting factor, express yourself to the fullest extent possible, and simply be true to yourself. Your unique identity is something that the world will appreciate, as long as you genuinely love and accept yourself for who you are.