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Spotlight 43: Olu Niyi-Awosusi

Merry Christmas everyone!! I hope you’re enjoying your holidays and that you still have some time to read about this fantastic woman in tech, Olu Niyi-Awosusi, she’s a junior software developer and founder of Javascripthers.Thank you Olu for your time and keep up the good work! :)

Name: Olu Niyi-Awosusi
Job: Junior Software Developer at a stealth mode start up. If you have never heard of “stealth mode” it’s a bit like a rubbish James Bond; if I told you what we do, they would have to fire me. That’s the best case scenario, ha ha.
Favorite website, app or gadget: That’s a really tough question, I had a brief love affair with Sunrise, who have now been bought out, so rather than suffer porting my appointments later when it’s actually crucial, I’ll just start looking now. If I just pick the first one that comes to mind, Headspace is a mindfulness meditation app that really encapsulates the idea of ‘beauty’ when it comes to tech for me; it looks great, it works seamlessly unless you’re doing something very weird, and it syncs up well with the website. And of course there’s all the meditation stuff too!
Favorite book: If I can pick three that really need to be read together, His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. If not, The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
Twitter: @oluoluoxenfree
Site: opentagclosetag.com

What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?
I’ve loved computers ever since I was a child; I connected the dial-up back when Virgin Media was still called NTL, shout out to any British people! I still have no idea why my mother even bought that computer, as I never saw her use it.

I segwayed into getting started in coding on Neopets, probably around 12, making email signatures and a really rubbish homepage, which I would love to find but was probably lost in the account purge.

I quickly forgot about it when MySpace came out, as the CSS that emerged from templates had me completely lost. Ever since then I was an advanced beginner, doing tech trouble shooting for friends and the like, until I got to university. I went to do Philosophy, and whilst it was interesting it wasn’t any match for things like codecademy and skillcrush. I may have cried the day skillcrush reminded me I could view source code. Might have just been hay fever, ha ha.

What does your working day look like?
I start tomorrow – eep! – so I’ll tell you a little about my personal study before I started.

I would try to get up at the latest ten o’clock, meditate, journal, eat and shower. After that I applied for jobs and made my to-do list for the day. Then the rest of the day was spent attacking the to-dos.

That’s the perfect version, and I didn’t stick to it anywhere near as much as I would’ve liked. No one is perfect though, so I try to practice self compassion.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
To be honest the coolest project I’ve worked on will always be the next or current one whilst I’m still this early in my career. I know that eventually I’ll be like ‘ugh, two factor authentication for a mobile first web app again?!’ but at the moment everything is exciting and new.

Do you have a hero, or someone who inspires you?
I have so many!

Limor Fried, Ada Lovelace, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Grace Hopper, Tiffani Ashley Bell, Una Kravets, Saron Yitrabek, Rachel Nabors, Charlotte Spencer, Ines Iteles, Kazvare Knox, Eugenie Teasley, Angelina Fabbro, Anna Debenham and Katrina Owens are just the ones that spring to mind.
I’m also going to use a term coined by Laverne Cox, and say that these people are all ‘possibility models’; they showed me that there was even a chance I could do what I wanted to do, and also encapsulates the idea that these people may be uncomfortable with people wanting to be ‘just like them’ as a role model implies. </soapbox> Ha ha.

 

Why do you love working in  IT/Tech?
There’s so much to learn, see and do all around, almost all the time. This can be terrifying, but when you’re riding the ‘I understand!’ wave of coding all the way to the shore on your little text editor surfboard it’s all worth it. And yes, the metaphor got away from me a little bit there but whatever.

There’s so much to learn, see and do all around, almost all the time. This can be terrifying, but when you’re riding the ‘I understand!’ wave of coding all the way to the shore on your little text editor surfboard it’s all worth it.

 

Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most? And if not, did you miss some important knowledge?
I don’t have a degree in tech, no, but I did go to a bootcamp called Founders and Coders, do a digital skills course by Fluency, ran a campaign at State of Ambition, did Star Track by Spark and Mettle, attended Free: Formers meetups, hacksoton, trans*code and also attended codebar meetups. I am incredibly grateful, as all these seemingly disparate parts came together and formed concrete steps to take, which is really difficult when you are entirely self-taught.

What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in a career in tech? (or learning to code?)
Learn to find communities that can help you get to where to you want to go. It’s hard to make it alone. And yes, online counts.

Extra question from Indu: What do you think we can do to make tech more fun and gets kids engaged in from an early age?
I think it’s just lowering the barrier to entry, I was reading on Reddit about so many people who learnt coding to cheat at a game, or to participate more in one like me! If you make it relate to what they’re doing anyway, they’ll do it.