Student perspectives

Always know your "Why"


Joanita Nassiwa, Refactory


March 13, 2020

For Beatrice, Refactory came at a time when her mother had chased her from home insisting that she find a job. “Coming from a family of nine, I was used to living with so many people. But now I had to learn to go about life by myself. That was the hardest time of my life and also the lowest I had ever been.” Beatrice recalls.

Beatrice always wanted to work with software development but hadn’t gotten the opportunity to find the right job. She responded to a call for a program with a tech company here in Uganda (names withheld) but was unable to go through the program because it was overwhelming. Her mother wasn't having any of it, so she sent her packing out of home and into the world where she was to fend for herself. Alone in a new environment, Beatrice was depressed and scared because she was used to being with her siblings and enjoyed their company.

Beatrice Nakabanda has been part of Refactory's Catalyst Course and Bootcamp (Photo: Maren Hald Bjoergum)

"I was so down, pondering on why I am trying to get a job in a field that’s so hard, then while in this big house by myself, a friend shared something on her Twitter to which I picked interest. At the point of giving up I decided to write down the opposite of how I was feeling and what I was thinking. I then jotted down declarations to myself that I look back at today and am happy I made them,"  Beatrice recalled.

“My dreams are valid and they are coming through. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve given up on them, it doesn’t matter who believes in them/not. What matters is that God is with me; he believes and supports my crazy dreams. He values my dreams and look, he is holding me by the hand, walking me through this journey. Even when I fall and give up, He gives me the courage and the strength to stand up and move on and with the hope I have in him I fix my eyes on the bigger picture knowing I will make it coz I’ve got the right support. NOW IS THE TIME.”

The note that Beatrice wrote to herself

Beatrice decided to apply to Refactory's Catalyst Course.

“The application process was tough; I gave up and stopped half way into the process. However, the administrator reached out to me and encouraged me to complete as she had noticed in the system that I had begun but I hadn’t completed. I thought to myself these are very kind people,” Beatrice remembers.

When asked about the video, one of the requirements when applying, Beatrice said it was so had to find the right words to say but she gathered her thoughts and made one eventually.

When admitted into the program, Beatrice braced herself for the journey ahead because she knew it was going to be intense. She maintained are positive attitude and knew she had a goal to achieve. "The Catalyst course was intense, it was challenging but I knew deep down that this was the best decision I had made. I gave 100%, I was unrelenting because I really wanted to make it to boot camp also keeping in mind that i came from a non-coding background" Beatrice says.

“I almost missed the interviews for Boot camp because I didn’t have a smart phone at the moment but a friend called me saying “Your friends are here doing interviews for Bootcamp, where are you?” So "I rushed out on a bike and thank God I made it on time. In my cohort we used to call Bootcamp 'Heaven'. I almost missed out on 'Heaven',” Beatrice remarked while giggling.

Beatrice made it through to the Bootcamp and she was assigned a project with IT company Laboremus Uganda Limited. “I liked the project from the very get go; I enjoy challenges because they help me think outside the box. The team had to go through many processes from the beginning stages, what will the system look like, what is the name, how will it work and many more."

Beatrice making her final presentation at Laboremus Uganda (Photo: Maren Hald Bjoergum)

Memorable moment

"My first class with one of the facilitators, Ms. Julia, was so enlightening," Beatrice recalls. "She changed my mindset toward so many things. She helped me realize that I needed to have goals that would lead us to the bigger picture. She helped me set the pace for what my entire stay at Refactory. She challenged me so much I can’t forget her."

Beatrice was on the same Bootcamp team as Ronnie Kimbugwe and Benjamin Kyamanya Mwesigwa. The system they developed for Laboremus was estimation system, made to help software companies estimate how long a project would take to build and as a result how much they should charge the client. It was made to be used by project managers and developers. Beatrice was responsible for the user interface, however the group designed and developed the system as a team.


When asked about one of the challenges she faced while on the project Beatrice said, “The month of problem identification, we decided everyone was to focus on their strength, research about the frameworks and the languages. However, one of our team members dropped out two months into the project. We were dependent on each other, so to bridge the gap we each had to learn something new to propel our project further. It was intimidating at first, but we managed.

"One thing I’ve learnt is you must have a goal; know your 'WHY.' Also, you can never be perfect. This will help you in times when you’re struggling and failing to see the bigger picture."

Beatrice is now a junior developer with Laboremus Uganda and looks forward to what the future holds. “For me this is the beginning of an awesome journey and I must say a huge thank you to Refactory for equipping me with the skills I need to fit into the tech workspace. Laboremus already feels like home. I don’t know what the future holds but am ready.” Beatrice concluded with a huge smile on her face.

The Bootcamp group after completing their project.(Photo: Maren Hald Bjorgum)

Do you want to be part of the Catalyst Course and Bootcamp at Refactory? Read more about what we offer and apply here:

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