Day in the life: web developer at Optimetriks, Dakar

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Olá! My name is Léon, I’m 26 years old, I'm french but I grew up in Lisbon, Portugal.

I love sports, mainly football and mountain biking, music, and traveling. I live my life with passion, trying to force myself to get out of my comfort zone and be curious and motivated for discovering new cultures and new adventures.

After my master’s degree in Industrial Engineering at INSA Lyon in France, I followed intensive lessons with Le Wagon’s Bootcamp to become a web developer. Why this job? Two main reasons:

  • The possibility to work remotely almost all the time, from anywhere at any time, being sure that finding a job or missions is no longer a problem.
  • The feeling of spending time exercising constantly your brain with logic problems, and producing something concrete.

When I finished my first job in Paris, as a full stack developer in a food-tech startup, I strongly wanted to travel and move from France. For this reason, I published my CV on a job portal dedicated to V.I.E. contracts. This is a French program for young professionals to facilitate them finding jobs in foreign countries. 

After a while, Paul (CEO) contacted me to talk about an open position at a french tech startup in Dakar, Senegal, which was Optimetriks. In the beginning, it came as a surprise, since I have never thought about moving to Africa but more to Europe or Latin America. Still, I decided to follow all the recruitment processes which ended up being successful. 

It was time to make a decision: adventure & discovery vs comfort zone. Easy choice. Happy consequences. So here I am, in Dakar, working for Optimetriks tech team as a Web Developer for 9 months now, enjoying the sun, the sea, my new friends, bike trips in the bush, and lots of amazing discoveries about Senegalese culture and way of life.

What is a typical day like?

8:00am - I wake up quietly, knowing that I have one hour in front of me to take a shower and breakfast before the first meeting of the day. I start my working day at home, attending the first meeting from my living room and debugging some issues on our web application. I plan to join my colleagues at the coworking space Impact Hub for the afternoon. Almost everyone is working remotely except the two Parisian mobile developers and the other two Dakarian web developers. 

12:30pm - Time to go for lunch. I take my motorbike and ride it for 15 minutes by the sunny Corniche’s road along the seaside to join some friends at Lulu’s coffee, an afro-european restaurant as healthy as hearty.

After lunch, I come back to the coworking space, I say Salam aleykoum to the doorman and set up my computer at my favorite place. I go outside to take some sun, relax a bit, chill out with Ibrahima and Charles, the other developers of the team.

Time to go back to work, we have a little call with my manager Julien to ask

him for some specifications about the next feature we will work on. This one is big, I expect to work on it for a few days, with full autonomy. The management of Julien is mutual-confidence-based. He lets me organize my work as I wish, and stay available when I need some help. 

On my side, I try to handle most of the issues by myself, it can make me lose a bit of time but it also makes me much more independent and resilient in front of hard tasks.

We talk about the feature to develop with the team, then divide the task into subtasks estimating the time needed for each one, with a real horizontal dialog despite the hierarchy between us. Few minutes to talk about our weekends and trips. After that, headphones on, techno music, and I stay focused on my screen until the end of the day.

When the evening comes, it’s time to enjoy Dakar’s sweet life. The first stop is at the football field to play with friends, then go back home for a shower and keep the motorbike safe for the night. Dakar is full of nice bars next to the ocean, mixing music and the sound of waves. This is where my day ends, at La Mer à Table, with some drinks, friends, laughs, heat, and peace. Jámm rekk.


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