Africode Mentorship: Titilayo and Regina

Regina Rex: Mentee

What do you currently do? I am a Sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, double majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science. I am a Resident Assistant on campus and also, currently working as a Software Engineering intern, for Oja Express.

What are some of your interests/hobbies? I love listening to music and singing. I enjoy watching movies, reading and learning new things.

What first got you interested in tech? I decided to study Computer Science after I was introduced to Python at Google Computer Science for High School -a one week programming camp where I got to learn python and work with raspberry pi. I was fascinated by the things I could build and this piqued my interest in the field.

Have you built anything (product/project) interesting? I am currently building my personal website (www.reginarex.pw) to showcase a few projects I have worked on in school and during my personal time. One of the interesting projects I am currently working on is a microcontroller project to detect how long it takes a laser light on the chip to bounce back to the sensor.  It calculates the time of flight using a distance sensor. I  enjoy working on embedded systems projects and this project is a fun and good learning experience for me.

What value have you derived from being a member of the Africode community? As a female in the tech field, having a community of people who share similar goals and interests has made me more comfortable and confident in my career choice. Being able to relate and share my ideas with other mentors and mentees has increased my motivation, and inspired me to reach my goals and aim higher. Also being part of Africode has helped me grow my network. I have met many people and also learned a lot.

How would you like to use your skills to contribute to Africa development? One of the reasons why I fell in love with computer programming is because I see it as a tool for growth and development. Currently, I don’t really have a specific plan, but I hope to use my skills to educate, encourage, and empower other females like me, to pursue STEM courses.

Are there any African tech developments/news that you find exciting/interesting? One of the tech development that I am currently excited about is the Made in Nigeria Tech podcast (MINT). I find this podcast interesting because they discuss important topics, use it as an opportunity to showcase startup companies, and also talk about the technological growth in the Nigerian tech community.

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Titilayo Craig: Mentor

What do you currently do? I am a User researcher currently working at Microsoft. On a typical day I work with product teams of designers, engineers and PMs to enhance and add new features to an application. I usually use various research methods and run usability studies to ensure the products are focused on our target users needs.

What are some of your interests/hobbies? I love to travel and typically try to visit at least one new country/city a year.

What first got you interested in tech? Honestly I am not sure- I just remember back in 2006 when I was choosing a major I knew I wanted something that brought information together. So I ended up getting degrees in Computer Science and Applied Math. The more I learnt, the more I enjoyed being in technology.

Have you built anything (product/project) interesting? During my Human Computer Interaction masters, I did create a more friendly accessible weather website for people with visual impairment so that could count as interesting to me :). Right now I work on a 3-D creative Paint software which is actually pretty interesting especially because of where the future of technology is going.

What value have you derived from being a member of the Africode community?  I always say "To whom much is given, much is expected" so coming into the Africode program as a mentor, I just wanted to be able to provide assistance to someone since I have had some great people who have encouraged me on my career path. There is so much value in just being a part of a place that brings more of us into technology.  Also seeing how smart and great to work with my mentee has been has definitely been great.

How would you like to use your skills to contribute to Africa development? I will like to work with organizations that get young people excited about technology and into it early through mentorships and programs like hour of code etc. Currently I am working on a review system with a few partners that promotes customer service and partnership between the businesses and their customers. I am hoping this experience will open me up to investing in the future of Africa by creating various technology solutions focused on the African market.

Are there any African tech developments/news that you find exciting/interesting? I try to keep up with what is going on especially with the wave of entrepreneurs and tech that is being established in countries within Africa.  It is just exciting to see the breadth of work being done and the recognitions.

Africode Mentorship: Dirichi and Osato

Dirichi (Mentor) is a Software Engineer based in London who was paired with Osato (Mentee), a student at Drexel University majoring in Electrical Engineering minor. Together they are able to create, contribute to, and be a part of communities that unite around a shared interest in technology and a desire to harness it to solve Africa's toughest challenges.

Africode Mentorship: Nkem & Ore

Nkem (Mentor) is a Technical Program Manager who was paired with Ore (Mentee), a Computer Engineering major at Howard University. Nkem wants to work on revamping education in Africa as well as connecting people and resources. While Ore is looking to become an engineer at Apple Inc. and eventually build a tech empire in his home country, Nigeria.

Africode Mentorship: Rachel and Faith

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Faith Oviawe: Mentee

What do you currently do? I am currently a sophomore, Civil and Environmental Engineering major at Howard University.

What are some of your interests/hobbies? I love anime, love to design and sketch random things in my free time, like to plan future trips around the world, dance to worship music and I love immersing myself in other cultures through books and movies!

What first got you interested in tech? My dad really encouraged me to be in this line of study because he believed that I was capable of thinking outside the box. He also believes that a person has to be the change they want to see in the world and that is what truly inspired me; I saw a need for change in infrastructure and technology in Nigeria.

Have you built anything (product/project) interesting? In my Introduction to Engineering class, I worked with a Raspberry Pi and successfully programmed a Pandora box (a music radio) with Python.

What value have you derived from being a member of the Africode community? I met an amazing mentor, Rachel! 

How would you like to use your skills to contribute to Africa development? Once I have garnered enough experience in structural and sustainability engineering, I would like to go into heavy construction that is both aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly (since I have a strong passion for the environment).

Rachel Agyemang: Mentor

What do you currently do? I enable companies that are using Microsoft's managed Hadoop (big data analytics service) to be increasingly successful.

What are some of your interests/hobbies? When I'm off work I read fiction (most recently 'The Kingkiller Chronicles' was great), watch basketball, and (lately) scroll through interior decor photos on Pinterest.

What first got you interested in tech? Hmm very first. My dad always said if you want to solve problems, study engineering. So I did. 

Have you built anything (product/project) interesting? I took a class that was right at the intersection of my major, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (you could tell because CS-focused students hated it as much as EE-focused students). Building a lamp, controlling a robot arm, creating a calculator - designing these systems from the wire, resistor, capacitor level, to coding (and debugging!) low level assembly was both incredibly frustrating and rewarding.

What value have you derived from being a member of the Africode community? I met Faith :)

How would you like to use your skills to contribute to Africa development? That's still a work in progress, thinking through that. (I also expect that it will evolve over time.) Currently I'm curious about the potential tech has to create accountability and improve efficiency in government and the public sector.

Are there any African tech developments/news that you find exciting/interesting? The Flint - it's a new online magazine that's democratizing tech; it's not aimed at tech startups, but any regular business in Africa that's wondering what can I even do with this stuff. I've always loved words, so when I see words further tech, or the other way around, that's exciting.

Africode Mentorship: Adebisi and Daniel

Adebisi Oje: Mentor

What do you currently do? Developer Relations – I work with Microsoft Partners and help them understand how they can be successful on Microsoft’s Cloud (Azure).

What are some of your interests/hobbies? I enjoy outdoor activities like CrossFit, kayaking, hiking, etc.

What first got you interested in tech? My cousin and Uncle were already in Tech and so I got introduced to computers at a young age. I learnt to type before I went to secondary school and consistently did well in my computer classes while I was in secondary school. Choosing computer science in college became a natural fit for me.. 

Have you built anything (product/project) interesting? I work on a couple of cool projects at work. I am currently working on an IOT projects that monitors devices in a room. For instance, I can switch up the lights in a room from a different location – cool huh?

What value have you derived from being a member of the Africode community? The network. I have met people I never knew I’ll meet through this network. I have met both old friends (like people I knew when I was 6 years old and reconnected with them on Africode)  and new friends that’s have helped me in my career or on projects.

How would you like to use your skills to contribute to Africa development? Africode is my contribution. I want to impact every African student thinking of studying computer science and support them till they graduate from college with a degree.

Are there any African tech developments/news that you find exciting/interesting? I am excited to see how far e-commerce will get in Africa. I think we have a long way to go – but I am excited about the development.

Daniel Elendu: Mentee

What you currently do? I am a sophomore at Vassar College majoring in Computer Science. I might also double major in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) or get a minor in Mathematics..

What are some of your interests/hobbies? I enjoy studying Languages (French and Haitian Creole presently), playing FIFA, soccer, drawing, biking.

What first got you interested in tech? My dad got me a computer when I was really young and so I played a lot of games on it and later on learned about its other functionalities. In my teenage years, other forms of tech such as phones, video game consoles, and other devices interested me so I read about them and followed pages that had news about such. I had taken Computer Science and Data Processing as high school courses and I enjoyed them as classes but I had no interest in pursuing a Computer Science degree till I took Intro to CS here at Vassar and realized coding was not what I thought it was. I had a really good professor even though I didn’t really enjoy coding, but it was challenging and rewarding 

Have you built anything (product/project) interesting during college/professional career? I am currently working on the frontend (and soon the backend) of an Android app for an Urban Enrichment Club on my campus. It is the first project I have been involved in and I have been learning a lot while working on my parts of the project.

What value have you derived from being a member of the Africode community? I have been motivated by people ahead and learning how they navigated through college successfully. I have also received professional advice on things like my resume and academic advice (which is really valuable due to similar experiences and also new ones that one can learn from). I feel the mentorships and relationships built here are also important beyond just completing majors or getting jobs.

How would you like to use your skills to contribute to development in Africa? Right now, I am uncertain of a specific field I will work in, but wherever ‘the code’ can do good things, I will be there..

Are there any African tech developments/news that you find exciting/interesting? I think e-commerce is the biggest thing right now and things are looking good in that industry. I hope that soon, huge companies /tech brands that can compete globally with the big guns in the tech industry will emerge.

Africode Mentorship: Nini and Omotola

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Omotola Akeredolu: Mentee

What do you currently do? I’m currently a senior at Drexel University studying Information Technology with a minor in Digital Media/Games and Animation.

What are some of your interests/hobbies? I am currently interested in game development, which is why I took up the minor. I am not an avid gamer myself, but I admire the art. I love the way all the elements: sound, animation,  graphic design, models, environment art and so on, all come together to deliver an entertaining experience to players.

What first got you interested in tech? I have been interested in technology for as long as I can remember. At a young age, I was the one in my household always fiddling with gadgets. I was always interested in figuring out how they worked. Soon enough when a computer wasn’t working right or a phone needed to be reconfigured I was the one everyone would call on. 

Have you built anything (product/project) interesting? The most interesting thing I have worked is my current senior project, a game called Tilted [here]. It's the third game I have worked on outside of class, and my favorite. It is an online third-person multiplayer party game which features an environment balanced at a point in the center like a seesaw. There are four players, three of which have to work together to keep the environment balanced, while they compete against each other to gather gems in the environment. The fourth player flies above the maze and his job is to kill the other players.

What value have you derived from being a member of the Africode community? I have been a little uncertain about my path after college, but being part of the Africode program has given me some clarity on career paths I could follow. I enjoy being able to talk about my goals and concerns with my mentor, Nini who has already been through the process.

How would you like to use your skills to contribute to Africa development? I have always wanted to build my own company, I don't know what it’ll be yet, but I hope to use it in the further development of technology in Nigeria, and create job opportunities for many talented unemployed youth while using the profit to help the less privileged.

Are there any African tech developments/news that you find exciting/interesting? I like the current trend I am noticing in young Africans who are embracing their nationality and using their skills to boost the image of their country. I was happy earlier last year when I heard a young Cameroonian had created the first African game-hero in his video game that was based on African folklore. I was also impressed with the young Nigerian who refused a job at Microsoft (and proudly told Bill gates about his refusal) so he could focus on building his business that helps other Nigerians find jobs.

 

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Nini Ikhena: Mentor

What you currently do? I work as a Program Manager at Microsoft, on the Operations Management Suite - Log Analysis team, where I build solutions that allow our customers view analysis and intelligence of services they have deployed across their hybrid clouds. I also run a fashion blog on the side called Nerdly Beautiful (www.nerdlybeautiful.com), where I blog about fashion and style.

What are some of your interests/hobbies? I have a penchant for fashion, sewing, crafting, travel, photography, learning French and visual storytelling. When I'm not working, I'm expressing these interests through my blog, or searching for the next good book to read. I'm currently reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, and I'm loving it so far!

What first got you interested in tech? My secondary school Physics professor played a major role in the career path I chose. His excitement for Physics was contagious, and he really believed in my potential. I was very interested in creating and designing electronics and was fascinated by planes, which made me go back and forth with deciding to study Math, Industrial Design or Aeronautic Engineering. I discovered programming freshman year and fell in love with being able to make a computer do stuff. I quickly switched majors and ended up graduating in Computational Mathematics because it was a good fusion of my interests in Math and Computer Science. 

Have you built anything (product/project) interesting during college/professional career? There are a number of things I would love to build, but I'd say the coolest product I've worked on was one I recently shipped called the OMS Gateway. It's a tool that sends data from computers with no internet connectivity to the cloud, and with this tool a number of our enterprise customers with thousands of servers without internet connectivity were unblocked and now they're able to view metrics on how these servers are performing, which in turn helps them make better business decisions. Read more about it (here) and (here)! In the future, I'd love to build something woven into the IoT and wearable technology spaces.

What value have you derived from being a member of the Africode community? I am continuously inspired by my mentee, Omotola and her drive inspires me to work harder. It's also been great connecting with other mentors who all have brilliant minds.

How would you like to use your skills to contribute to development in Africa? I'm really passionate about encouraging young girls in Africa to go into STEM. My vision is to help create a larger ecosystem of innovators and problem solvers to tackle core problems ranging from sustainable electricity to transport and logistics. As we build this ecosystem of innovators, that is more inclusive of women, the opportunities will be truly endless.

Are there any African tech developments/news that you find exciting/interesting? I'm pretty excited about Fibre (www.fibre.ng), which enables Lagos residents pay rent on a monthly basis. I love that it's actually solving a problem that a lot of people face in Lagos.

Africode Mentorship: Lanre and Siji

Africode Mentorship: Lanre and Siji

Lanre (Mentor) is a Software Engineer who was paired with Siji (Mentee), a Computer Science major at Howard University. Siji is cyber-security and identifies as a white hat hacker. While Lanre has spent time developing an iOS app called Cappsule to allow users tag interesting moments either as pictures or videos to locations.