Two software developers, from Kenya and Nigeria, started TechInPink in 2016. Read on, to learn from the experiences of Gertrude Nyenyeshi and Yatunde Sanni in the African tech scene.
1. Why did you start TechInPink?
Gertrude: We started for three reasons:
- We are both in the field of technology, we therefore wanted a platform to share our work, things we are learning and tutorials.
- To join in in introducing, mentoring and training women and young children in the skill of Software Development.
- To provide a knowledge-sharing platform for the brilliant minds in Africa. We publish articles from our readers on things they are learning in Tech.
2. What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Gertrude: Our mentorship program. We have mentored young girls without previous background in Technology and they have gone ahead and done amazing things.
Yetunde: Our biggest achievement comes from the story of our mentees. We have watched them grow immensely in software craft, and not only that – they are paying it forward by passing their knowledge to upcoming newbies that are interested in technology.
3. What do you now know about the tech scene in Kenya and Nigeria that you didn’t know before you started TechInPink?
Gertrude: I’ve learned that the tech ecosystem is rapidly growing and I can only be excited to see what innovative solutions will come from that in the next five years. I’d also encourage cities and towns outside of Nairobi to not shy away from starting their own local tech hubs and hold regular meet ups. I’d also encourage more knowledge sharing i.e blog posts, speaking at events.
Yetunde: I’m not sure I can remember any as at the time of writing this response 🙂
4. What advice would you give women who want to get into tech?
- If you have the passion, go for it. Don’t let challenges put you down.
- Start early. Don’t sit around waiting. Teach yourself things, take online courses, attend meet-ups. Challenge your growth, attend hackathons. Just keep growing and learning.
- Don’t think too much about your gender. Focus on improving in your skill and always contribute, like any other person, to the team. Don’t focus too much on diversity that you forget to upscale.
Yetunde: They should be the first that believe in themselves, they should be confident and concentrate on upscaling their skills because eventually, their skills will speak louder than their gender.
5. How should a tech startup balance between technical skills and business skills?
Gertrude: Technology is obviously important for tech startups, but its supremacy alone is not enough to define the success of the company. You need skills such as leadership, marketing, customer care, communication skills e.t.c. Companies could hire independent people to handle these but I feel it is equally important for the ‘tech-team’ to learn these skills as well.This way, anyone from your team can easily interact with users and give presentations and also actively contribute to the technological solutions in the company.
A company can also resort to having brown-bag sessions (an informal session to learn) over lunch from the tech team and the non-tech team so that there is information flow in all departments and everyone is learning from each other and this adds value to the company.
Yetunde: Generally, technical skills include all those tangible practical skills you possess and the knowledge you need to get the job done. Soft skills, on the other hand, include your interpersonal, people skills. Finding the balance between the two is important for only then will one come off as an all-round type of candidate. It’s great to emphasize both technical and soft skills, but also try to focus just a tad more on the soft skills needed for the team. Ultimately, people who possess the right balance between technical and soft skills are much more likely to grow a company, excel at what they do, advance within the firm, and become a key team member.
6. Parting shot
Gertrude: Have a sound work ethic and grab any opportunities that come your way. They always help you grow.
Yetunde: If you really have the passion, are true to yourself and remain committed to your beliefs, it will turn out that even in the most difficult situations, you’ll discover within you a capacity to create a solution.
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