AltSchooler Diaries: My first Month Learning FrontEnd Engineering at AltSchool Africa

Hi, I am Deborah Okonu, but you can call me Debbie. I am not here to talk about who I am or what I do. I am just here to take you through my journey as an AltSchooler.

Deborah Okonu, Frontend Engineering Student 

First, I'd like to appreciate the current leads of the Tech Community at the University of Portharcourt (UNIPORT) for sponsoring my application into AltSchool Africa’s, School of Engineering. If you’re reading this now, thank you so much. I couldn’t have been able to register without your sponsorship. Your support means a lot to me.

Yes! I wrote the assessment and passed with a score of 93%. I made it in! I’m now learning to become a Software Engineer. I have God and some of my very good friends to thank.

Before I get into it, you might want to grab some snacks because it’s about to get really interesting!

If you’re reading this and you have no idea about what AltSchool Africa is, I’ve got the perfect answer for you:

As the name suggests, AltSchool Africa is different from conventional learning institutions. It is an EdTech startup that helps young and smart individuals launch a profitable career in Tech by teaching them high in-demand Tech skills.

At AltSchool Africa, you can learn the skills needed to access top job opportunities on the continent and the world. To learn more about AltSchool Africa, visit their website at

A rare picture from my notebook

Welcome To AltSchool Africa! 😊

Let’s fast forward to when we officially started…⏭️

That’s right! The on-boarding session. Applicants that took the assessment and scaled the cut off mark were sent a form to fill. Afterwards, an invitation to join the official Slack workspace of the school was sent.

Oh, I guess I forgot to mention; AltSchool Africa is an online school. This means that all classes and assessments are virtual. Learning is also pretty self-paced too 😁

So, our instructors walked us through how to use the Learning Management System (LMS), and every other thing we needed to know to guide us through the learning process. All these happened within the first week. We also had a live onboarding session.

Then, I got a little scared. While watching the introductory videos, I came across where they said, final exams would only take about 40% of overall grade, while the remaining 60% would be from weekly activities, assessments, quizzes, capstone projects, engagement and attendance. 😬

I think it was at that moment it really hit me that the journey has just begun.🚀🚀

Another picture of my AltSchool Africa notebook

Week 2:

Week 2 was for Introduction to Computer Science:

We learnt about the different fields in Computer Science as well as computer components.

My computer science knowledge from secondary school helped me comprehend what was taught though the lessons were more advanced 😏.

Week 2 was more like AltSchool saying; Welcome!

Lol, it was quite short, and of course, I completed the videos before the week elapsed 😬.

Week 3:

If I were to explain this week using a word, I’d say it was fire! Lol, not literally though, but I know you get what I mean. It was at that point I knew I was in a real school. 🥵

So, what did we cover?

Introduction to Programming.

I couldn’t have known that the Introduction to Programming course would be that voluminous.😬

We were taught so many programming terminologies which are bound to come up quite often during our practical sessions.

I finally got to understand Big O notation, thanks to our tutor who took time to explain the concepts very well especially during the life classes. We didn’t just watch videos from the LMS, we also had live sessions where we had the opportunity to ask the tutor questions on areas we weren’t quite clear on.

So far, this week was one of the longest!

Week 4 😊:

Honestly, I really enjoyed this week.

We only had live classes this week to summarise and recap all we’d learnt over the past 3 weeks.

And I was so excited because I had a lot of questions to ask the tutors.

The most exciting part of this week was on Friday, 29th April when we had our very first Fun Friday!!🤸🏼‍♀️

Though I wasn’t able to fully participate due to network issues at first, I later got that sorted and when I joined again, I enjoyed every bit of it 😁.

To wrap things up,

My first month as an AltSchooler was terrific but exciting! I learnt a lot and met a lot of great minds too.

I have a lot of expectations for next month, but I’ll try not to keep my hopes high. Anyway, I will hope for the best!

One thing I love about AltSchool is the fact that they do not make the videos and learning materials for the coming week available on the platform until lessons for the current week have been concluded. Yes, while I was in week 2, I couldn’t access the videos for week 3.

This helped me to take my time and learn step by step.

If you’re an AltSchooler like me or you’re a student studying anywhere, I’ve got some advice for you.

Don’t be in a hurry to learn it all. Learning takes time. Yes, you want to gather the knowledge and get a job and start making money as soon as possible; but if you rush through the learning process, you’ll come to realise that you just wasted so much time doing nothing.

I say this because when the time comes to prove what you claimed to have learnt, you would then realise that you actually haven’t learned anything.

The secret is to take it one step at a time.


This article was written by Deborah Okonu, a student at AltSchool Africa’s School of Engineering studying FrontEnd Engineering.


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