How I overcame hunger in the United States to become an IT professional – Elsie Ijorogu-Reed Hlima

A social critic she is. She leaves no stone unturned, no matter whose ox is gored, when addressing issues bordering on the development of humanity. She has earned a place in the hearts of many Nigerians and citizens of the world who read her.

The United States based Nigerian born, Internet Technology (IT) consultant, Elsie Ijorogi-Reed Halima, in this chat with ITEVEH EKPOKPOBE, allowed a glimpse into her life and times as well as the future of IT in a developing world. The details will shock you.

Can you please tell us a bit about your life’s journey?

I would like to start with the quote “The bird dares to break the shell, then the shell breaks open and the bird flies openly. This is the simplest principle of success. You dream, you dare, and you fly.”

I studied banking and finance in Nigeria but could not get a job in a bank when I moved to America. I did many odd jobs like cleaning, chambermaid, a Pizza maker in Pizza Hut, and nurse assistant.

I made a promise to myself the day I received the 2-year license, that there won’t be a need to renew it because I would have gotten a better job before the expiration date.

I knew I wanted something better but wasn’t sure what to study. Two months after my friend Roli, introduced Internet Technology (IT) to me and the idea sounded great. More money and the opportunity to grow and move within the IT sector.

First, I resigned from my full time nursing home job, registered with an agency, then moved from my one-bedroom apartment to a shared flat and enrolled on an IT course.

I enrolled on Microsoft certified system engineering course without any typing knowledge or how to use the mouse – it moved all over the monitor screen.

It was so exciting learning new things and seeing all I could do with technology, I remember sending my first email; it was sent to Roli, I called her immediately I hit the send button. ‘Roli did you see the email I sent you’, I asked. she laughed and said you have to wait for me to reply, you don’t have to call me.

What was your drive?

Basically, the road to success is a rough and lonely way, you have to negotiate alone. I experienced hard times, I earned $7 an hour, had bills and had to pay $500 to the IT training school fortnightly.

I used vegetable oil for cream, salt for toothpaste and fast food for food, one box of small Chinese fried rice was three days meal.

One day I was so hungry at work and had to beg a male nurse for 1 dollar, he looked at me in the face and asked, “why should I give you money when you refused to go on a date with me?.” I cried. I made a vow to God in that spot, that if He bless me I would be a blessing to others.

Minutes later a female colleague came looking for me, she said while she was praying the Lord asked her to buy food for me, because I was hungry. I order a large milkshake, chips enough food to last two days.

Five days to my first exam, I locked myself out of my house and car, and I was forced to wait for my roommate in my neighbor’s house, (we didn’t have mobile phones in the 90s). We introduced ourselves and I told them I was a nurse assistant but taking IT classes, they gave me books and simulation test application for the exam. I sat for the exam five days later and passed, scored 100%.

My neighbor prepared my CV and posted it on Monster.com that Sunday and on Monday I received a call from a recruiter seeking my consent to forward my CV to a law firm.

I agreed. Thirty minutes she called back telling me that her client loved my CV and would like me to start work the next day.
I went to bed earning $7 an hour to earning $15 an hour the next day. This was my entry to IT career.

Judging from your obvious obsession with IT, what future do you think it holds for the world?

Technology helps you to be creative. It lets people learn things they didn’t assume they might learn before, so in an exceeding sense, it’s all regarding potential “.

We all have potentials, whether innate or acquired, we must put it to use. To make a change and to impact lives around us.
The impact of Information Technology cannot be overlooked in healthcare, security, banking, and others

Also, God wants us to embrace creativity and invention. Mike Romero of Relevant Magazine wrote an article where he urged Christians to embrace creativity. I Quote “The Lord perpetually contains a purpose for blessing humanity with abundance gifts (IT is also a gift to humanity)” and He wouldn’t be so clear concerning our creative or inventive prowess if He didn’t expect us to use it.

A great career can be built in the field of Information Technology. Truly, the sea is big enough for all kind of fishes to swim, there are different IT career paths. Therefore, you can choose the path, which aligns with your passion and goals.

Ask yourself this question, “How am I ready to ultimately have an impact on my world via my involvement in IT? The foremost thing you should know is the God factor. God has created us in His image, likeness and being. God is a creative God and wants us to excel in whatever we decide to do.

Therefore, if God is creative, we are creative. If God is unlimited, we can be infinite and always remember that God has not given us the spirit of fear but of a sound mind. Trust me if I can do it, you can.

You are way more intelligent than you think because you have the excellent vision of the Almighty in you. Unlike when I started, most of you here today can use the mouse. Get involved, don’t fret, don’t fear. Take that bold step into it. Get involved.

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