2016 LiFT Scholarship Winner Tetevi Placide Ekon: Learning Computer Science Online

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Tetevi Placide Ekon is a graduate student studying civil engineering at the 2iE Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering in Burkina Faso. He was one of 14 aspiring IT professionals to receive a 2016 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) scholarship, announced this month.   

Since receiving his bachelor’s degree in water and environmental engineering and moving onto graduate school, he has nurtured a passion for computer science, and especially open source. Tetevi has completed free courses covering Linux, Apache big data systems and more, and he plans to use this scholarship to pursue more advanced training.

Tetevi Placide Ekon, LiFT scholarship recipient
Linux.com: Can you tell me more about yourself and where you are from?

Tetevi Ekon: I am 24 years old, and am studying civil engineering in Burkina-Faso (West Africa) but I am from a neighbouring country to Burkina-Faso: Togo. Both of those countries are French-speaking countries but because my father lives and works in Ghana (English-speaking country), I can speak both English and French.  

Linux.com: Why do you love IT?

Tetevi: I think from as long as I can remember I’ve always loved computers and everything that is related to them in any way. Computer science would have been my major at school but since my father is a civil engineer, that career path seemed like a better choice.

Linux.com: How did you develop that interest/passion?

Tetevi: Although I chose civil engineering over computer science, my love for computers didn’t vanish and in December 2014, I discovered the existence of MOOCs through platforms like Coursera, Edx, Udacity …  I would have loved to do a double major in CS and Civil engineering but that option wasn’t available at my college so MOOCs seemed to be a good way to learn all the CS skills I wanted.

In addition those MOOCs were free and taught by professors from top institutions like MIT, Harvard, and Stanford. All I had to do was a bit of time management and I could actually acquire solid skills in CS while still completing my major in civil engineering. That’s how I really got into programming and all the CS stuff.

Linux.com: How do you plan to use your LiFT scholarship?

Tetevi: I will be taking the “Developing Linux Device Drivers” course. I really am thankful for this scholarship for allowing me to take a course on such an interesting topic as device drivers; a course I never would have been able to take any other way. I have even already received the manual for the course.

Linux.com: How will the scholarship help you achieve your dream of becoming an IT professional?

Tetevi: I am planning on completing this course and then taking the LFCE exam. I’ve taken an operating systems course from Udacity and I really enjoyed that very much. I love the idea of low-level programming and am planning on taking additional low-level programming courses after “Developing Linux Drivers.” As for jobs, I really don’t know what opportunities will come out of a Linux Certified Engineer Certification but I do hope it helps me land a very fulfilling job in the IT world.   

Linux.com: What is your experience with Linux?

Tetevi: I have Linux installed on a virtual machine on my Mac, and I use it most of the time for my online courses. I can program in all the C family programming languages and I do it through an editor, which means I use the Linux terminal to run and debug the programs I write: kind of forces you to learn the “Linux Programming Language” … plus my favorite editor is vim.

Doing my online course assignments on Linux, has made me realise the OS wasn’t that hard to use and, since some of those courses can be really intense (HW/SF Interface from Coursera, Algorithm Toolbox from Coursera, Big Data with Apache from Edx …), it really forces you to learn how the whole Linux system is organised, which is why I have done the LFS101x course through EdX; a course that greatly helped.

Linux.com: Why did you learn Linux?

Tetevi: Linux is present almost anywhere and computer science is present in every discipline; so I think learning more about the Linux system is important for anybody’s future and I certainly am not an exception. I like programming and I am graduate student in Engineering; I think mastering the Linux system is just a must-do for me.

Linux.com: What is your dream job?

Tetevi: I have recently discovered that one of my best qualities is my ability to learn new things very fast. For a long time, I have tried to figure out what was that one thing I can be the very best at in the world, and I really think now that if such a thing exists it must be my ability to learn at a very fast pace.  At first, that sounded a little small of a quality to me but then I realised that in the IT and software world, that was far from being a small quality. I also realised my ability to master a subject is also greatly impacted by my level of interest in the specific subject. I just love IT and anything related to it. I think what IT people are able to do is just amazing, and I am determined to become one of them and a very sharp one.

 

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