It was a sunny morning.
Armed with my NYSC posting letter and fully kitted in my Khaki, I walked into Planet NEST with a tiny bit of uncertainty: will I be accepted? I left the office that day as a writer for Zumalo (A startup and tech blog focused on writing stories from emerging tech Africa, sharing office space in NEST as at that time). I was happy, at least this meant, I was not rejected and no option of reposting to a secondary school. Little did I know that this was going to be the beginning of my Journey as a software developer.
Is the tech industry a boys’ club? Well, there are certainly more guys in it. Yet I believe that the times are changing. More and more women are entering the tech industry. (Sanni Oluwatoyin(Andela)).
At NEST, we have a lot of male full stack developers who are very creative, intelligent and highly competent. I got interested and was ready to be one of the females of the bloc. There is an arguable saying around town in Akure that anytime you see 5 female developers gathered in the city, at least 2 have gone through training at Planet Nest.
As a graduate of Adult Education, it really never occurred to me that one day I will be into developing and writing algorithms as a developer. I am not even sure it ever crossed my mind, but my love journey began with the Front-end, now we are in a relationship. HTML was a goal and then in no time, developing front-end algorithms became a part of me with the accompanying headache—a result from combining programming languages to get a standard site.
I swear, no be beans oooo.
With this kind of stress, It is sad to think that some women in tech may be experiencing discrimination, sexual assault/harassment and other issues in the workplace. Fortunately for me, the experience at Nest has been a pleasurable ride. My colleagues were readily available to guide and put me through; in fact, learning within this tech industry supersedes any course material. I combined my role writing for Zumalo with my newfound love seamlessly, although it was quite stressful, time consuming and “brain-engaging”.
A key point to females who love the tech field is “Your skills should speak louder than your gender”. Oftentimes, a good number of people still see tech as a male world, but you can excellently perform as a female developer in this space. Let me share some hints from my experience.
Focus: Knowing early enough and building my keen interest in front end has helped my growth and development. Focus can help you succeed in relatively good time in terms of mastery, learning and exposure. You are free to combine tech fields like data science, information security, web development etc but avoid becoming a “Jack of all trade, master of none”.
Learn: Online learning platforms had a great impact on my learning speed. These platforms operate on the “learn-and-practice” model. Completing a course in your area of interest might simply mean scratching the surface but the experience goes a long way. As a self-taught female Programmer who studied Adult Education in the university, I had no foundation in the field of web development, hence, I needed to do a lot of personal studying. Learn online, offline, read books, practice; maintain a culture of constant learning.
Do you want to be really good at something? Persistence and Patience are vital to self-development. In no little way has the duo affected my progress as a female developer (I never knew how well I could do until I really tried). All within the year I started coding, I have been a part of facilitating for SeedDev—a Not-For-Profit Organization dedicated to reaching out to the unreached African Children with Technology Education—during the Africa Code week and other tech related activities.
Although the journey looked tough, it has been fulfilling accompanied by various learning experiences and a flexible community.
I can boldly say that:
I am a Superior Engineer, only my kind reigns forever
I am from NEST, a planet where we create together. (Excerpt from the Nesters Creed).