Let's Discuss: How to be World Class In School (a focus on hardware development and IoT)


Tomorrow, here in this forum, at 11.00 AM, we are holding a Let’s Discuss session with Emmanuel Odunlade. He will be shedding light on how to be ‘world class’ while still in class including how he was able to have the opportunity to work remotely for some world class organisations while in school.

Emmanuel Odunlade is a hardware designer, an entrepreneur with interests in addressing social and national development issues with technology. He believes in the ability of technology to promote positive community, coupled with human and economic growth.

He founded techelementals.com, an online learning platform that went from just being a website to a physical training platform that taught over 300 students hardware development while still an undergraduate.

He has won several accolades like the Access bank’s prize for innovation (2016).

A hardware developer of international repute, he is one of those billed to speak at the Liveworx 2017 convention in Boston, later this year.

He is the CEO of Dev’s District Nigeria, a lab focused on providing innovative solutions to some of the biggest problems faced by our society.

Hardware development

Hello, please is there an avenue to participate remotely in this event?


Hello @billyameen, this event is happening live on this forum. He will be here with us tomorrow morning so you can participate wherever you are.


Okay, thank you very much for the opportunity. Best regards


Hi guys, how are you today, My name is Emmanuel Odunlade, I’m a hardware designer, you can check the above for more bio but for the one I feel concerns this discussion, I am the CEO of Dev’s district Nigeria, an innovation lab that provides technology based solutions to problems across quite a number of sectors, from Agric to health, IOT based Consumer electronics, etc. I am also a Freelance hardware Developer, and I work with guys like Hinge and many others which I am not at liberty to mention. For this guys I do things like system design(control and electronics) PCB design and firmware development. Its great to be here and I promise to make this as much fun as possible.
So for structure, I will start by sharing my story from which I believe you should be able to pick most of what you will need, then I will then leave you with a roadmap of some sort after which, I will take questions.


Looking forward to it.


The story
Just like most hardware developers, tinkering had always been my thing growing up, and thus Electrical Electronics Engineering seemed like a perfect course to study in the university. At the beginning of 200lvl, I and a friend Collaborated to build an inverter to power our rooms, since we were staying off campus, and that marked the beginning of the collaborations and beyond the class learning that characterized my stay in school.

You will of course agree with me that no university will teach its student enough to build an inverter in 100level, so that means I and my friend had to get the knowledge we needed to build it from somewhere else and the internet proved itself god enough.

Motivated by this success, I began to attempt solving several other problems in my environment and I then began to discover things like embedded system, micrcontrollers, micro processors etc.

During this period I began to have issues with what to learn,very few people around me knew something about the things I was talking about, friends called me futuristic and said I should reduce my movie time and things like that, So 300 level I walked up to one of my lecturers and told him to start giving me difficult, practical assignment which he gladly did, this exposed me more to the internet and I began to learn how to work with several platforms like STM and PIC MCUs.

I also began delving into things like machine Vision, Image processing, Deep learning, and artificial intelligence as most of the problems I wanted to solve went beyond hardware and touched this topics, and even though I had friends that were good with software development they had issues integrating with hardware and thus it was evident I had to learn software development at least to a certain level.

All this made me a contributor to platforms like stack overflow, mathworks, amongst others. Thus by focussing on solving real life problems I was able to develop my skill set.


okay this is a lovely avenue. Thanks so much. i have one quick question. Is it very important to have Microcontroller knowledge before going into Embedded systems(particularly focussing on IoT)


Mid 300 level, one of my lecturers started a team to focus on embedded systems and robotics. This became the platform I needed as i immediately got busy with the team, consuming every material we were given, hacking every single piece of device we were given the clearance to hack, i was pasdionately curious and at the end I became the team lead.

This brought more responsibilities because after dividing tasks for any project we want to work on, as the team lead I had to familiarize myself with every bit of the project…so by taking up responsibilities I became better, I was a knowledge junkie and I began to offer, folks in 500 (2years my senior) help with their project.

It was during this period that I built a device that I named Iswipe. It gives the user the ability to control slide presentation (i was basically preparing for my IT defence after watching others present with issues) through the use of gestures.

The fact that I didn’t use expensive technologies like the kinect then brought a lot of buzz…cost of prototyping it was less than #6000. This brought in my first ever freelance job. A representative of nexgen (a group of machine designers) was introduced to me by a friend and he told me they were in the process of designing a plastic shredder/bailer, to which they wanted to add several things like remote monitoring to make it smart.

He asked if I could handle it and even though as at that moment I knew nothing about plastic shredders, I said yes


I ended up not just designing the controls system of the machine but I was also hired to build it…and from then other things started rolling in, several other opoortunities.

This of course ensured I had no other life than a life behind a PC and my soldering iron. I began to teach others and my knowledge base kept growing, so my network of friends, which will make me to stress the need for you to also work with like minded people.
…I had friends not necessary hardware developers that were also into making impacts and becoming world class and together we would spend days at a spot working looking as rough as possible.

Class at some point even became home to some of us, but today, all that hard work is paying off for all of us. So that’s the long story in the shortest possible way


Yes it’s very important…


So before I start taking questions …here is a general road map for anyone interested in hardware development…

Its important you know that hardware development has different fields, electronics, several categories of firmware development etc and you may thus have to specialize at some point but this should help you become a great all-round hardware developer.

  1. Learn electronics, the book “practical electronics for inventors” is a good place to start for anyone

  2. Learn how to programme in core C or Python. Ensuring you master things like algorithim development and writing efficient peices ofcode. You can add C++ as an icing.

  3. Learn how to use simulation softwares at like Proteus at least…Cad and Cam software like Cadsoft Eagle, for PCB design…

  4. learn about DFM (design for manufacture)

  5. Join online communities and contribute the little you know while doing everything mentioned above

Let people know what you can do, but Dont go the empty barrel making noise way, infact let your skill do the talking.

Finally, be humble and jump at every opportunity to learn…there is a lot of money in hardware but go for the skill and opportunity to learn first…

So that’s it guys

Now let’s roll in the questions.


Thanks Emma for the insightful discussion. Personally i dont think i can go into hardware because my electronics is not so strong. Right now i am focussing on Automated testing. What opportunities are available in the testing field?

once again Thanks


@billyameen, electronics shouldn’t stop you from becoming a hardware developer…there is a ‘branch’ of hardware development called firmware devlopment. Its basically writing the softwares that run on the hardwares.

For automated testing , quality assurance is very important for any company thus job opportunities are on the increase. Most hardware companies do not outsource testing like the software guys but the field is relatively unsaturated and job opportunities are huge. I will advice you join communities specializing on this as you will get more info there.


@Emmaodunlade, Thanks so much for this information. I will do my research on the available communities and fora in these fields. From your personal point of view, what role do you think Nigeria has to play in Technology Innovation, most especially Internet of Things, looking at the fact that we are years behind the developed world especially in technology development.


@billyameen … We sure are far behind when it comes to this but what I try to do as a person is see it this way …this big guys US, China, india, Japan etc, have helped us invent a great deal of stuffs and we thus Dont need to go back and start building basic technologies. We can learn about them, and use them as launch pads for our own technology revolution. We must ensure in the next 10, 20 years comments like this no longer arise and it’s in the hands of you and I. But nevertheless I think it suffice to say that we are gradually catching up, at least I know ingenu is coming to Nigeria soon and then developers will be able to build IOT hardware solutions whose battery life can be as long as 50 years running on lora technology.

I have this issue of blaming just myself for anything that happens to me so…blame the developers if we still use foreign technologies in the next 10years…it will be as result of them not being good enough.


Okay Emma. I really appreciate this opportunity. I don’t really have much questions for now as i am just beginning my journey into the world of IoT. I will love to keep in touch with you for Mentorship and Guidance, if that’s okay with you and the platform. I will appreciate if you can share your email address for future correspondence.
Once again, thanks


@Emmaodunlade i have also gone to your website. I am really impressed. Kudos to you.
@anosime More power to you guys at CChub for driving technology in Nigeria via this platform.


Thanks @billyameen no problem will try to pop in on this platform as often as I can. I Dont know the policy on the email address, but you can always reach me through @anosime …same for everyone …wish you guys goodluck…


Thank you @billyameen for participating and also for your kind words.