From Biochemistry to Telecoms, From Lagos Naija to Reading, UK – A tale of Segun Olojo-Kosoko
Once upon a time in Vmobile Nigeria (Now ZAIN Nigeria); three young men resumed at a particular department in Technical and were referred to as the 3 Musketeers. Yes – 3 musketeers because they all came from IT backgrounds but in a short period became very successful at their new Telecom jobs and rose to be the team leaders of their respective units at a record time. Today – I interviewed one of the 3 musketeers who is a Messaging Specialist and one with a very great story. This young man exudes confidence and has successfully proved bookmakers wrong by conquering the Telecoms industry from a Biochemistry background. His story once again confirm that we can do anything if we put our minds to it. Happy reading!
Oluwasegun is a Prince from the Kosoko royal house of Lagos. He is a graduate of Biochemistry from the Lagos State University, Ojo. From biochemistry Segun diversified into ICT in the early 2000 (a step I call an ordination of God) and started his first job as a graduate trainee with Crystal Network and later became Ag Head of support. In Crystal Netwok, I learned all the basis of ICT, networking, wireless, windows and unix server adminstration etc.. Since then he has moved to become a telecoms professional with specialties in messaging systems. Currently he works as an Integration Engineer with Airwide Solutions a reknowed global messaging telecoms vendor in the UK operation. Before now he has worked with Zain Nigeria as an Interactive and Messaging Support Specialist and Negris group as System and Network Administrator. Currently I am also writing out my mine as regards careers in a blog called Career Clinic (http://segun-kosoko.blogspot.com/). Segun loves the art or Arts&Entertainment and he has being privileged to perform in some stage plays. He has also written some plays which have being performed. I am a lover of God and have a great passion for his work. I am married to a pretty darmsel called Oluwaseyi. I have three sisters and my parents are still very much alive.
Can we meet you sir?
My name is Oluwasegun Olojo-Kosoko. I am a Nigerian married to a beautiful, young and intelligent lady – Oluwaseyi. I am from Lagos State.
Please describe your educational journey from Primary to Tertiary
Primary was Tunwase Nursery/Primary School, Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja. Set ’90
Secondary was Loyola College, Ibadan. set ’96
Tertiary was The Leading African State University, some people call it Lagos State University, LASU, Ojo. set ’02
Also have one small certificate from Wits Buisness School of Witwatersrand University in south Africa. Set YTP ’07
Any lessons from your Loyola College days?
Hmmmm….Loyola College. I would say I learned life in Loyola. I say this because my Christian walk started out while I was in Loyola (I got born again in Loyola). Loyola also taught me how to be independent.
What about your University days, are there impacts from then that gave you directions for today?
Major impact I would say was shaping my destiny and being able to impact my world. Being a student of LASU to me meant being able to face life realities on your own. With a course like Biochemistry and a bleak career future. Then all you had to leave on was just the word and promises of God. Learning this early in life gave me directions for my today
Were you involved in any developmental activities in your University days?
Yes. First was representing my level in the Internet committee for Biochemistry department (then I was in year 2), Was also vice-chairman electoral committee for my departments in 2000/2001, was member Student union editorial committee at a point. I was responsible for the building of the animal research lab for biochemistry.
Tell us about your volunteer experience in University
The most interesting was the animal research lab. At a point when people who were doing projects required to use the animal house or the research lab they would come and get the keys from me, so one day someone came to meet me asking for Mr Segun (as if I was a lecturer or graduate assistant) and I was with my friends. Everyone started laughing and making jest that I would be retained as a lecturer. But in fairness, at every point it was interesting, because it’s good to serve. I get happy when I see people get satisfied or when they get what they are looking for.
Did you choose to study Biochemistry and why?
I did and I did not. I said I did because I filled it in. I did not because I actually wanted to study medicine. The reason I did was because its the closest to Medicine. Even though I don’t think I remember a cycle again… I don’t think I choose wrongly.
Describe your first contact with a computer
First contact was in primary school, which is the normal computer class… like 5 people to one computer … you eventually don’t do anything. . But then it was not really a contact. The next I can remember again was in a friend’s house in 1997. He had a computer with internet in his house …. it was a Compaq 386 window 98 OS……I was looking fascinated about his speed of typing and then the internet. Same day I opened an email address, Then I used to leave Alagbado to Surulere then to use his computer in his house. Now we both lol about it. Then my major contact with a computer system was when I started my first job in 2002. I opened up the case and started guessing which was the hard drive, memory and then processor.
When did you decide that ICT was the way for you?
I can’t say vividly. I would just say God ordered my steps. I can’t remember asking myself if I wanted to do ICT. It started with a passion for the internet and things of ICT. Then also from a brother who kind of mentored me at that time. Then he was serving with an ICT company and I was doing my IT in LUTH. We go to work together and return together. While I wait for him in his office I hear lots of stuff and then get excited with the kind of job he was doing. Then, with time God ordered my step and here I am today in ICT. All this was between 1999 and 2002
Share your experience at your first job with us – your learning curve, experiences, salary, etc
ISSUES. This interview will not contain it o. Well it started out in Crystal Network in 2002, 5months after my final exams as a Biochemist. I applied in January to an ICT company since I knew my set was not going to meet the National Youth Service Corp camp in February, I was called to resume in July with a salary pack of N6,000/month. I was excited and started. I was living in Iba estate and the office was in Ikeja, It cost me on a monthly basis N5,000 for transportation. It was not easy but I had to put through. I remember my 1st month salary was sowed/given as a seed in my church. Three months after it got increased to N16,000. .. yes…its a testimony. That is for the salary part.
The learning curve was painful. Sleepless night in the office and running errands for my superiors. I had a notebook (I wish I can still find it) I always write anything my superiors do in my presence. When alone, I try them and master them. I can remember running errands from Lagos to Abeokuta. All I went to do was give my senior colleagues a connector which they forgot in the office. Or when I go to site with any of them, I carry the tools and then they use it and give back to me. Then if you ask a question it was as if you wanted to know too much or too fast. So I always made sure I was watching and did not care about what they said. I remember my HOD saying to me while configuring a router that I should shut up that I came here to learn. It was said in a Nigerian language called Yoruba. “daka sebi o wa ko ise ni”.
The experience was fantastic. It’s the basis of all I know now. If I had not had to opportunity to install or configure a Linux server then, I would have probably not being able to do anything today.
Has your Biochemistry degree ever put you at disadvantage in the ICT industry?
NO, people hardly believe I studied Biochemistry. In fact I say it has always being an advantage.
What about your second job, any lessons from that for us?
My Second job was with an Oil and gas company as a Network/System Administrator. I got fed up of it under 4months. Reason being there were no major challenges. There were some battles with Exchange server and Active directory but I was able to surmount them as the network was not a very large one, about 200 users. I got fed up because there was nothing and nobody challenging me.
I believe your foray into Telecoms was a turning point in your ICT career. Can you describe how you got the job?
I will like to say at this point that relationship matters a lot. Never burn a bridge or break one, for you might need that path someday. My foray to telecoms was just another step God ordered and thinking back am so grateful to him. it started by a friend telling me to send my CV to one of his friend who works with then vmobile that they are looking for a Linux administrator (he could not apply because he does not know Linux… same Linux I learnt from a N6,000 job I would have declined). A friend I initially did not want to warm up.
I did as he said, then the meticulous friend of his sent me back a reply that my CV is not standard (a CV I use to pride in). I edited and sent back to him and did not even blink. Weeks after i got a call for an interview. At the interview I was the 14th and last person for that day. It was the most difficult interview I ever attended. In the interview was Segun Ajayi, Adebayo Juba and Ibidapo Ilawo (Stone). Months after I got a call for my letter of employment. Why I was chosen, I don’t know. I wish to find out someday. I thought I was coming into an IT department to support Linux servers like I know them, not knowing I was coming into telecoms. Like I said earlier… my life course as being ordered by God… I know nothing about it.
Tell us about the Certifications you hold?
E neva plenty, MCP, ITIL, PRINCE2. I failed my CCNA and did not try it again. If we should list that of Telecom vendors, that one plenty small. From, Ericsson to Airwide, ATOS to CaTs.
Are certifications very necessary for a successful ICT career?
No I would say, what matters most is experiential knowledge. Certifications can just be an added advantage to stand as an edge during selections process. But what sells you is your experience and not your Certificate. I have attended so many interviews in Nigeria and also I would say globally, I have not being asked which certificate do you have. The most important question is can you do this? Have you done it before? How do you do it in a scenario such as this? etc… The answers are from experience and not from ‘pali’.
About your degree again – did you have to attend computer schools to get to this level?
No o! Computer school ke? No computer school can give you all I said above. In fairness I consider it a waste of time for a graduate. But please if you don’t have access to a computer, try find a computer school. You only find computer schools in developing countries… I say it’s a disease of the illiterate. Forgive my language am not being derogatory here.
So what do you do presently?
I work for a Telecoms vendor in the UK as a Delivery Engineer. In layman terms as an Integration Engineer. Delivery in the sense of Project Delivery. (we all don’t like the name)..lol
What are your values?
My values are simple;
Do to others what you want others to do to you for What a man sow, that he shall reap
Faith and positive thinking
In these 5 you would find grace to live.
Tell us about your believes and God?
Wow!!… Am a strong believer of God and in the resurrection power of his son which is unto mankind’s salvation for them that believe…….and in his second coming.
I see myself as worshiper of God and I consciously live it.
What is your opinion about nurturing relationships and the effect on career progression?
Your relationship would make or destroy you. Never burn a bridge. Every relationship should be nurtured because it can be a potential assistance for your career path. You need only one person to get you through your choice of career. If that relationship is being destroyed, you will remain un-fulfilled for a long time or for life if care is not taken.
How can a young person interested in following this career path with a seemingly non-ICT related degree start her/his journey?
Determination and Passion is the word.
You run a blog aimed at helping young people to represent themselves well on their CV. Please tell us about it and the URL
Parting words to our audience
Leave things that can’t be changed and focus on things that can be changed.
Don’t dwell on Yesterday for its gone forever, Today is here make use of it, for your Tomorrow which is coming.
Be the change you want to see in the world.