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“Women Should Be Given The Opportunity To Build And Develop Tech Solutions” – Olamide Egbayelo

WAAW Foundation held her April edition of monthly tweet meet with Olamide Egbayelo, one of Nigeria’s emerging young women in tech. Olamide holds a B.Sc in Computer Science and a diploma in Social Media Marketing. She has experiences working in tech, entertainment and non-profits.

Discussing “Women Leading Tech Change In Africa,” Olamide Egbayelo disclosed how she developed interest in tech, what the role of women should be in tech, and the barriers to eliminate as well as encourage girls embrace technology.

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTERESTED IN A CAREER IN TECHNOLOGY?

I have always loved computers as teenager, but did not get the opportunity to use one as a student in secondary school. My computer teacher encouraged me to study Computer Engineering in school. I also had an uncle who allowed me to play games on his computer while I was in secondary school. I also used to save up my pocket money to go and use the internet and have access to computers at the Cyber cafes. I was curious and wanted to know how the internet works and how people interacted with it. All these contributed to my study of Computer Science in the university.

After school, I had the opportunity to intern for about a year and the half from 2009 – 2011. That was where my eyes opened to the various opportunities in the tech space.  I learnt how to code and use tech tools like Adobe Premiere Pro and Sound Forge.

AS ONE OF NIGERIA’S YOUNG WOMEN IN TECH, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE ROLE OF WOMEN BE IN TECH?

The role of women in tech cannot be over emphasized. There are more than enough roles for women to occupy in the tech space. Women should be given the opportunity to build and develop tech solutions from issues that concern them.

WHAT IS THE HARDEST PROBLEM YOU’VE EVER SOLVED USING TECH?

It has to be acceptability. People accepting that you can actually do tech stuff even as a woman.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN INTIMIDATED BY THOSE WHO SEEM TO KNOW MORE THAN YOU IN TECH?

Hahaha! No I haven’t. I am a learner and don’t hesitate to learn from people who have superior knowledge in my areas of interest. Seeing and reading about people who know more than I know inspires me so it’s more of positive than negative for me.

HOW DO YOU THINK YOUNG WOMEN’S VOICE CAN BE HEARD IN THE TECH INDUSTRY?

I think women’s voices are now being heard thanks to platforms like WAAW Foundation, Tech Her and Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre. More organizations are beginning to encourage girls and women to code and also create platforms for them. A lot of young women and girls are finding technology skills more interesting and learning how to use them. Getting technology skills and building expertise in them have now become sexy.

WHAT DO YOU PERCEIVE AS BEING THE BIGGEST BARRIER FOR WOMEN ENTERING THE TECH INDUSTRY AND WHAT ARE YOUR IDEAS TO OVERCOME THESE?

The first barrier has to be enabling environment and lack of basic tech infrastructure for skills acquisition. The second one is being solved already, changing the mindset that only ‘boys’ and ‘men’ can take up technology skills.

HOW DO YOU THINK THESE CHALLENGES CAN BE BETTER MANAGED IN FUTURE?

Encourage girls to embrace technology, support for organizations like Tech Her and Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre by creating enabling environment for girls to learn to technology skills and thrive.

HOW CAN YOUNG PEOPLE BE BETTER ENGAGED IN TECHNOLOGY AND STEM SKILLS?

First is by encouraging girls to get technology skills regardless of their age. Every child deserves to learn technology skills regardless of gender. So girls should be encouraged!

IN YOUR WORDS, WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY IN AFRICA?

The future of technology in Africa is mobile and every one of us has a role to play it. I see more women and girls taking up technology skills and building solutions that solves human problems.