Women in tech - An interview with Adetola Ahmed, Technologist and Andela Community member
A career built on personal growth and teamwork
Having someone to look up to early in your career can’t be underestimated. For Adetola Ahmed, IT support engineer and content developer and a member of the Andela Community, working in a company where the women were in the majority set the course for her career and established her path towards success.
We spoke to her about how she benefited from working alongside strong women early in her career and how this has impacted how she approaches work today.
She explains that her first job after she had completed her studies was with a technology company in Nigeria – where she is still based – starting in customer service and then moving into the technical department, before finding roles in security and quality assurance.
“Across all of these roles I had to have a strong technical capability because even in quality assurance we have to know that what we were selling aligned with the capabilities of the solution,” she says. “Be it hosting or Software-as-a-Service, customers aren’t going to be satisfied if what they are promised and what they get aren’t the same.
A supportive environment
“This company was extraordinary in that most employees were women, and this created a very supportive environment. I was lucky to work with the COO who was a real inspiration for me because of her attitude towards learning. She had this amazing ability to assimilate new information across almost any topic.”
She comments that this inspired her to learn even more, searching out new areas and studying as much as possible. This attitude spread across the entire team with all the members looking for opportunities to learn more and then share with everyone else. “It almost became a friendly competition among us, to see who would be able to learn something new first.”
She adds this gave her the confidence to all her expertise to speak for itself when she moved to another company. “Even though I was the only woman in a team of 15 people, I knew that I had the technical capability to work at the highest level.
Skills and attitude top the card
“I don’t believe we should be looking at a person’s gender when it comes to a work environment. The only thing that matters is if they have the necessary skills and if they’re adding value to the organization. Whether they’re a man or a woman shouldn’t make a difference.”
She admits that while many other women have had negative experiences in the workplace, she’s been lucky enough not to have this impact on her career. “I try to encourage people to push the boundaries and not to let other people’s attitudes hold them back. This isn’t specific to women, it’s an attitude that everyone can adopt.”
She comments that joining Andela has allowed her to expand her horizons. “I know where my strengths already lie, but I want to be able to grow my skills in programming. “There are so many opportunities out there that programming opens up. If I were a young woman looking to start a career in technology this is where I would start.”
The ability to work remotely has also boosted Ahmed. “When we moved to remote working because of COVID-19, I’d just had a child and instead of being limited to the three months maternity leave we get in Nigeria, I didn’t have to choose between my work and my family. This was very special.”
Focus on your vision
There are three core tenants that she feels are essential for women starting their journey in the technology industry.
“You need to believe in yourself. Be confident in yourself and your capabilities. Don’t let people make you believe that you can’t do something.”
“Adopt a can-do attitude. You need to make people believe that you can accomplish anything. If you know what you want then go for it.”
“Always find opportunities to learn. Learning will always open doors for you so take every opportunity to discover new things.”
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