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My Career Story – From Chemical Engineer to Digital Strategist

To help people explore different career options and learn from other people’s experiences, we share weekly career stories of people from different walks of life. Today, Seni (popularly known on Twitter streets as @Quickiepaedia) shares his career story and tells us how he went from being a chemical engineer to working as a digital strategist.


Read. Enjoy. Learn. Share.

My Career Story – From Chemical Engineer to Digital Strategist


What do you do?

Digital Strategy.

I create digital content, develop digital marketing strategies and help brands improve their SEO among other things. I have also begun to learn about product development because strategy is an important part of the process.


What did you study?

Chemical Engineering.


What was your first job?

I started out as a freelance Social Media Manager.

A twitter follower reached out to let me know he liked my tweets and thought I could handle a couple of Twitter accounts for him.

I’d never done anything like it and I was out of my depth because there’s a great difference between tweeting for yourself and tweeting for a brand. I had no digital training and no knowledge about content creation or analytics and it wasn’t a job that came with directions.

I was expected to know what to do.

When I made mistakes, I got feedback to make changes but because there were no constructive comments or suggestions, I didn’t know what I was doing wrong so I struggled for a while.


What happened next?

I left the job for NYSC and for my service year, I worked as a producer in a studio.

Someone else reached out to me on Twitter during this period to let me know he liked my tweets and would love to work with me after service so I went to work with him post-service.

He owned a start-up that was trying to introduce a niche product into Nigeria and I had to send out proposals, build strategy, handle cold-calling to potential international partners, apply for grants and more.

It wasn’t very successful because not a lot of people wanted to work with Nigeria on that and my lack of training did not help either.

If I had that job now, I know what I could do with it.

We were unable to keep it going and salaries weren’t getting paid so I had to leave after a while.


What happened then?

I took the Digital Skills for Africa course and started reading everything I could find on digital marketing. SEO caught my interest because people kept talking about how hard it is and how no one really understands it.

And as I continued to develop my digital skills, I went back to the studio to work but kept applying for digital marketing jobs.

One day someone shared a job vacancy with me on Twitter and told me to apply and I did, but not before doing some research.

I realised that their SEO was poor so when I went in, I spoke to them about it and how I could help them improve it and I got the job.


The first job you mentioned, was that after school?

Yes, all my jobs were after school.

I knew nothing about money before graduation, I had no idea how to make money or save and I was basically just coasting through life.

I had a free year between graduation and service and that was when I set up my studio and learnt to make money.

My father gave me a loan of N200,000 to set up the studio and start my business and I used the proceeds to feed myself for a year before service.


What is your current job like?

I am the Head of Content where I work, I supervise the different content development teams and ensure that all the content that goes out (text, image and video) is in line with our content strategy.

I also work with the UX team and this has fuelled my interest in the product development process.

I’ve kind of had to create my own role in the company because they couldn’t figure out where I fit.

I came in as an SEO manager but I got bumped into digital marketing and then content development when they noticed I could write. But even when I got moved to content, I couldn’t stop talking about things like ad targeting.

I became voracious, reading everything I could get my hands on for digital marketing, so here we are now.


What did you want to be before all of this?

My vocation has always been a moving target, I remember wanting to be a Nuclear Scientist at some point.

I love Chemistry, it’s part of the reason why I went into Chemical Engineering.

In my mind, it was going to be a lot of Chemistry and not so much… Engineering.

I think I went from wanting to be a Nuclear Scientist to wanting to be a Doctor and a day before I wrote my JAMB, I realised I could not handle blood. I mean my father told me, but I finally figured it out myself so I changed my choice of subjects in the exam to fit Engineering.

It was a spur of the moment decision and I later had to figure out what type of Engineering to study.

Petrochemical Engineering felt too streamlined for me so I went with Chemical Engineering.


How did you cope with school?

I lost my way at some point but I never really thought about switching my major because I thought artistic freedom would always be a way out.

I really wanted to produce music in school so I started making beats. Music production was the fallback plan for me.


How did you learn to make beats?

I used to live around a lot of producers in school and one of them taught me to produce music. Some of them were already making waves so it spurred me to think about music in a different way.

Till today, I am still looking for ways to blend my love of growth hacking and product marketing into music and I am currently working on something that I believe will help me do that.


What do you think would have happened if you’d stayed in Chemical Engineering?

I would have been making a lot more money but I would not have been happy.

During my IT period, I earned a lot for an intern but I wasn’t happy.

Are there any things that you think would have prepared you better for where you are now?

Coding… the developer’s mindset.

I think everyone needs to learn how to code, It should be a part of the Nigerian secondary school curriculum.

If you know how to code, you think of the world in a different way, you think of what you can build to help people instead of the normal Nigerian rut of going into Medicine, Law or Engineering just to please your parents or get a ‘good’ degree.

You would not be thinking of waking up every morning to be an automaton just because you just want to get a good job, you would be thinking of actual solutions to change the world, and you would start young.

I think what would have prepared me for this rollercoaster of a career is if I knew how to code or if someone told me at the beginning that if you don’t like a course or you don’t see yourself happy doing it, you have the option to change.

Many Nigerians do not know this, there’s that idea that if you’re not studying the Trinity (Medicine, Law and Engineering), you don’t really know what you are doing with your life. That is the biggest lie that I have ever heard. People need to stop thinking that.


What do you think fuels that mindset?

Everything, including guidance counselling.

Guidance counsellors in Nigeria don’t guide you. They are just there to tell people they have to be art students because they failed Physics and Chemistry and they make people feel bad for not being science students.

Do you know how many engineers are not using their degrees?

I personally think that my faculty has the most people that studied it and are not doing it. I think but I cannot be sure.

All the guys I went to school with are doing lots of different things, that are not Chemical Engineering.

I even know people that went into Finance.


Finance, really?

Yeah, I wish I went into finance.

A couple of people couldn’t hack it in 200 level so they went to Actuarial Science and you would not believe what they are earning right now.

Many Nigerian schools and teachers don’t know that you can be a Millionaire outside Medicine and the truth is, you can only teach what you know.

I think education programs should be spliced with people from different walks of life coming to tell you that you can be whatever you want to be, especially in Nigeria.

Most times, before you figure that out you’re on the wrong career path, you’re in too deep or in an oversaturated market.

I was lucky to have met the people that reached out to me to offer me the jobs that got me where I am.

I did not make any conscious decision to work in the digital marketing space, believe me, I tried to learn to code but it didn’t work.


What’s the “Expectations vs Reality” for your current role?

People hear what I do and they assume it’s a lot of chilling and not doing a lot of work because “I mean, what is in writing copy?” (I like to think of myself as a copywriter).

In reality, if you write the same copy ten times, you run out of words and you have to find ways to merge product marketing with copywriting.

Even maintaining a brand’s tone is not easy, if you have to write copy for 4 brands a day, you will be tired.

Social media content development for one is nothing like texting your friends, it’s not as easy as they make it out to be.

It is also not something that you can learn in a week, you have to continue learning.

You cannot finish the Digital Skills for Africa course and think that’s it, you’re a Digital Marketer.

The question is, can you convert? Do you understand the world of analytics?

Every piece of content that you put out online needs to be backed up with analytics and you need to test constantly.

The reality of digital marketing lies in A/B testing and user research, it doesn’t matter if something worked last week, you need to test again to make sure it will work today.

It’s basically mass communication.


What does growth look like in your career?

For me, it’s developing the ability to take the smallest resource(s) and build something great from it.

I’ve watched the way you built GrowingUpVsAdulting from the French thing and I think that needs to be studied.

You’ve kind of hacked this growth hacking thing because using just your friends and your small circle, you’ve grown GVA to what it is right now within a short period of time.

I recently finished a course on Growth Marketing, it spoke about a tool called AARRR, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it.

Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue, Referral and that’s exactly what you did, I’m not even sure that you knew you were following it but that’s literally your blueprint to explosive growth.


I learnt something like it in a content marketing course I took but I think that was the 7 As instead of AARRR. I have learnt that people have different approaches and tools for strategy development, but there’s still a broad framework that guides all we do. At the back of my head, there’s a process but sometimes it’s not spelt out like the AAA thing but I know the steps I have to take to build and execute strategy.


In terms of job roles, what is considered the top role in this category?

A supervisory role in marketing e.g VP or Chief Marketing Officer because marketing goes beyond social media, you need to be able to make sure you’re reaching your target audience where they are. Through-the-line marketing.

I think the career progression is like social media handler to digital marketer, then products if you are like me where you start thinking UX and building better experiences for people, then it’s on to Product Manager (you need a coding background for this).

Honestly, if you’re like me, it’s not a direct progression but it will probably lead to becoming the VP Marketing/Products of an organisation.


Are you where you want to be right now?

Right now, I am a confused 20+ with a lot of skills, but I am not sure I am where I want to be. I can do better.


What’s next for you?

Building the confidence and experience to be able to direct all marketing efforts for a brand.


If you were not doing this, what would you be doing?

I would be a sugar baby.


For more insight into how Seni’s mind works, you can check out his Medium page here.


If you enjoyed his career story about his journey from chemical engineering to digital marketing and want to see more content like this, click here to subscribe.

If you want to share your career story, click here to follow me on Twitter (@chaotic_vixen) and send me a message or send me an email at



  • Damian

    “The reality of digital marketing lies in A/B testing and user research, it doesn’t matter if something worked last week, you need to test again to make sure it will work today.”

    This is so profound. I enjoyed reading this.

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