My name is Eric Joseph Jacobs, and I’m 21 years old. Before I joined RLabs, my life was very slow and confusing. I matriculated in 2017 and went to study for 8 months at The South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP), I then dropped out, due to a lack of funds in 2018. In 2020, I decided to look for a job, and then the Covid 19 pandemic happened. I had no clue what job I wanted to do but I just needed a job so I could assist with finances in our home. The feeling of seeing my parents struggle was hard for me which motivated me to keep applying for jobs. When I got an interview relating to a digital job, I was very excited and when I joined, I was required to work as a sales rep and work with 200 customers. It felt like it was not for me. Thereafter, there were little to no responses to my applications. I had no idea what to do next.
My mom always told me that God has a plan for us and that we should be patient. Those words stayed with me and whenever I checked my emails for a response, I would just repeat those words when I got no response. Knowing that the Covid 19 pandemic was playing a big factor, I held on to those words my mom told me, and today I am blessed and I’m having a great time working for RLabs.
Before I joined RLabs, I did a Graphic Design course on a Saturday with RLabs. When I heard of UI/UX design, I watched a YouTube video about UI/UX design and became very interested in it. When RLabs offered me the opportunity to work and gain experience in UI/UX design, I immediately applied for it.
The journey has been amazing and a blessing. I have learned a lot of different digital skills and I’ve been growing personally as well. I learn new skills every day and I can create more ideas with my new skills. Something new I picked up throughout my journey at RLabs is being able to add ideas to projects and that has shown me how much I have improved and grown.
The difference between the way I used to be and who I am now, is amazing. The skills I’ve learned are some of the things I thought back in 2020 I would never be able to do. I’ve learned how to use Google Apps such as Docs, Slides, Spreadsheets, etc. One thing I will not forget is that you can use a spreadsheet to make a mobile web app on Glide apps. Our Propel sessions we’ve been having, have been a great learning experience. I never thought of using the Google toolbar to make my search for an article or image more precise. Learning how to build a website was something I thought was very difficult to do but learning no code/low code tools makes building web or mobiles much easier.
There were some challenges I had a hard time with. One was with the Glide apps images not loading onto the app. I then watched a YouTube video about it and then I was able to get my image to upload. I also had a problem with my Zoom audio connection because of a slow laptop. But now, I don’t experience audio problems anymore because I check for updates on my laptop and make sure no apps are taking all the ram speed on my laptop.
A lowlight for me was when I was building my website. I was happy with how the website came out, but after some time, I thought of more ideas and some changes that I could have included on the website, but it was too late. I then took this as a learning experience to keep thinking of ideas for improvement and to bring out the best for the tasks that I am given.
My main highlight was being asked to present my Mobile Web App to the leaders of the YES4Youth program. This was my first time presenting in a work environment and to present in front of such leaders made me a little nervous, but they liked my presentation, and I got to gain the experience of being able to present what I built. It was a big achievement for me and I would gladly do it again.
Some of the apps I’ve been using, I have been having fun with. Making my first mobile web app on Glide apps has been fun and a great learning experience. With some of the templates, you can create some amazing work. From a staff list to a mobile online shopping app, the Wix website building was very interesting for me. I never knew that you create a website without needing to know how to code.
Not being able to help in the house is not a problem anymore. When I get paid, I give money to my mother so that we can buy what we need for the house.
My advice to youth would be that there is a plan for you. An opportunity will arise and when you realize that this is what you meant to do, you will feel blessed and humbled. When you feel that nothing is going your way or that there are no jobs for you, just remember those words that my mother always told me when I felt down and lost. She always said that God has a plan for us. Today God has allowed me to work for an amazing organization such as RLabs. I know we always want to get our lives kick-started right away when we matriculate from high school, but then things don’t go our way. There will always be a plan for us to make a great impact on the world.
I am very thankful for the amazing opportunity.