May 2008, the university applications are finally out…curiosity…I go through the newspaper…heart knocking at my ribs…boom..boom.. Yemurayi Chinyande…My name… there…WHAT!!! Computer Science. They must be kidding me. I shed a tear or two.
That’s the summary of how my journey started. I applied and got a program I was not expecting to get. I wanted Chemical Engineering but it turns out, the story of my life had a different course for me. At first, I shrieked and complained and screamed but I couldnt change departments, the Dean of the Faculty wouldn’t have it. So here I am, about to do Computer Science. The last time I had been in front of a computer was about 4 years prior to this time. My first year at college was terrible, besides the fact that I could not afford transport money to attend all my lectures, I just had a phobia for the keyboard. See, I was not one of those, ‘I-started-programming-when-I-was-ten’ type of a girl. Typing my own name took 20 seconds. That is how bad it was.
So, I just made it over the pass mark first year, I improved second year, stuff got really better when I encountered the practical side of things on my internship, and thats when I fell in love with
writing code. The idea of starting with nothing to produce something that can make someone’s life more convenient, the fulfilment of doing something people think is very hard and
the opportunity to be creative mathematically gave me satisfaction beyond description.
My attitude at school changed when I returned to my final year, I actually then graduated top of my class and my final year project got me recognition at the national trade fair 2012. I thoroughly believe that there was also the invisible mighty hand of God working throughout all this.
After school I immediately got a job at a local Software development Firm and started coding. I have enjoyed it ever since. The thrill and adrenalin of challenges and timelines, catching up with new technologies, and doing what cant be done is amazing. Of course I faced challenges. We would go visit clients for demos and other meetings, first thing people would ask was are you the admin? No I am one of the lead developers. Besides my work spoke for me. I did make mistakes along the way, one that actually featured on a newspaper…yeah!!! But all that grew me and I am on my highway to success.
The epitome of it all was when l got an opportunity to write code at Google, through the Techwomen program. The experience was ecstatic and it changed my life. Interacting with some of the top breed of developers, meeting the who’s whos of the Silicon Valley that was amazing.Girl, join in the movement, do not be scared. There has never been a better time to join the tech industry as a woman than now. There are so many opportunities available now as the world seeks to diversify its worforce.
The world needs you. It does not matter your background, with or without a computer, rich or poor. Do not write yourself out. I believe in you and I know you have it in you to do it, enjoy it and make history wherever you are. To put the cherry on top, you can then inspire the coming generation of girls to do the same, just like I am doing now.