Tinkerer, techie, teacher: Meet Dara Oladapo

Dara Oladapo, Microsoft Student Partner from Nigeria

In 2002, Dara Oladapo walked with his two older brothers to the local cybercafé in Ibadan, Nigeria. The three boys went to the café intending to open a joint email account. There, Dara’s brother taught him how to hold the mouse, click on the screen and navigate around Windows.

That was the first time Dara touched a computer. He was 10-years old.

Unlike many of this millennial generation, Dara, now 23-years-old, did not spend his toddler years binge watching Sesame Street on Netflix or tapping a touch screen to talk to Grandma on Skype. But talking to him now, you’d think he was born a techie.

Two years later, when Dara turned 12, Dara’s mom bought the family a desktop computer. Dara saw the PC as any other household gadget: a prime target for tinkering. He dismantled many gadgets as a youngster and confesses with a laugh that he ruined several of them. He even got himself electrocuted once.

But he can’t help it, Dara is obsessed with discovering how things work behind the scenes.

But he couldn’t tinker to his heart’s content on the new family PC because he had to share the new toy with his entire family, and as the youngest of three boys, Dara didn’t exactly get first dibs. It wasn’t until the wee hours of the night, when the rest of the family slept, that Dara would have his chance to dig into the magical world of computing. Sometimes for entire nights at a time, he would stay up teaching himself how to mouse and type, how to navigate Windows, how to install software successfully, and eventually, how to code.

His home didn’t have Internet access, so he would research on the Web at local cybercafés. “I would save up my allowance to visit the cybercafé to just get information on new things. I bought a lot of those 3.5-inch diskettes just to save Web pages and read them later when I got home.”

Somewhere buried in those late nights and Web pages of research was an HTML lesson. From there, the love of computers and coding grabbed Dara.

How did he go from tinkerer to techie? Dara is truly a self-made man. “I seriously started programming in January 2011 with Microsoft [Visual Basic 6], playing with image controls with a tutorial I stumbled on online. Since then, my passion for creating things with code has sparked. This pushed me to learn C#, after which I progressed into other languages. “

To teach himself tech and coding, Dara takes advantage of the many free Microsoft Virtual Academy courses that cover areas such as HTML5 application development fundamentals and developing apps for Windows Phone and the Windows Store. Today, Dara has numerous apps in the Windows Phone Store, many focused on his homeland of Nigeria, including TribesAndLocation, political parties, Road Safety, NAFDAC (Nigeria’s food and drug regulatory agency) and my9ja (an app focused on Nigeria’s culture and history.)

Dara’s app, “My9Ja” is one of 10 available in the Windows Phone Store. “My9Ja” educates users on Nigeria’s culture and history.

Now in his final year at The Federal University of Technology, in Akure, Nigeria – Dara’s list of accomplishments and current projects goes on and on.

A member of three national Imagine Cup finalist teams and winner of seven national software competitions (including the 2013 winner of the national Nigerian software competition), Dara now focuses on teaching himself ASP.NET and Office 365 Development and updating his Windows Phone apps in the Windows Phone Store.

Dara’s team, Team Eagle, accept their first place trophy at the 2013 annual Nigerian software competition. Team Eagle (Aboluwarin Olaoluwa, Oladapo Oluwadara [Dara Oladapo] and Banjo Mofesola) won with ‘Enchanter,’ an app where contacts can exchange virtual greeting cards through their phones. (Also pictured: Professor Adebiyi Daramola and Dr. Kayode Alese)

Despite these accomplishments, Dara is not content to simply acquire techie status. He evangelizes technology wherever he goes – whether it’s speaking to younger students about YouthSpark or co-leading talks about Microsoft technology with his developer community group on campus.

From tinkerer to techie to someday being a teacher, Dara dreams of opening his own school to pass on his love of technology to the next generation. But for now, Dara is content to keep learning all he can with as much force as possible.

Microsoft wants to make it easy to help young people like you to change their world through technology, just as Dara and many other Microsoft Student Partners have. Be sure to check out Microsoft Imagine, where you can find all the software tools you need, no matter your skill level or experience, and all at no cost.

And if you want to explore the basics of teaching yourself how to code like Dara, head on over to the Microsoft Virtual Academy and check out some of these courses to get started:

Comments (15)

  1. oluwatosin says:

    Wow, great things truly starts small.  Higher heights Bro.

  2. Israel says:

    I remember well the days of the diskettes…today, he still eats with his laptop in front of him. I can only imagine the depth of his curiosity, the thirst for knowledge, the quest of unending creativity.

  3. Samseens says:

    Nice one Dara.

  4. Elvido says:

    Dis is what happens when one is HUNGRY  for KNOWLEDGE…….SUCCESS !!

    mind u dis is just a microcosm of greater things yet to happen

  5. ifeoluwa says:

    its amazing to see a young man with such knowledge and accomplishments and yet humble…. u r an inspiration

  6. Mayoorpsalmz says:

    Dara your life challenges me, av learnt a lot frm u d most thing humility. Kip it up bro u are stil goin farther

  7. seechs says:

    thumbs up bro!!!! u ve bin a source of inspiration….

  8. Lero says:

    my Teacher and instructor. Thanks for being a blessing.

  9. Ayowole says:

    The sky is the starting point Dara.

  10. FEHINTOLUWA says:

    Yes #Mayoorpsalmz. Humility is the word.

  11. dammyboy says:

    Impressive. Way to go bro. Kip coding

  12. Rob says:

    Not to diminish his accomplishments but how is that really any different than anyone that learned to code 25 years ago? Most people had little to no access to home computers, no internet, no one to teach you how to develop. On top of that there was no IDE's or visual development, no MVA, no imagine cup or Microsoft evangelists… most of us from that time period had to learn by experimentation and reading lots and lots of books. Granted the programming paradigms were much less obfuscated and projects had to be much smaller in scope but on the other hand you had to squeeze out so much more with so much less. I only hope the younger programmers appreciate how big of an advantage they have these days.

    </Old Developer Rant> 🙂

    Personally I feel that his greatest accomplishment is the fact that he did this while living in Nigeria with all the upheaval in that region. In that respect, keep up the good work.

  13. Tunde says:

    Awesome! Get going boy.

    Thanks to Microsoft for encouraging people. You are the best. I Always love MICROSOFT!!!

  14. siva says:

    Really great dara when we want do some thing truly then only we can do that

  15. Aderiyike says:

    so much to say………….but in summary, Geekwithlife this is just the beginning. God is with you Ayomi

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