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.
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.