In our continuing series of interviews on the women in tech who attended the African Women in Technology (AWIT) conference in Lagos, Nigeria. We present to you Itohan Kukoyi.
Kukoyi owns a digital agency that focuses on website and app design and drawing up a digital strategy for businesses. She is a promoter of the use of technology to change the female narrative in Africa. The following is a little snippet of our sit down with her on the sideline of #AWITNigeria19 conference.
What does technology represent to you and why did you choose this field?
For me, technology like the American Wild West means uncharted territory where there is room enough for everyone to claim their dreams. Especially in my chosen path of design and development; there is no end to what you can dream or actualize.
The field of technology is a place where anyone can blossom. I believe it is the most evolved at the moment because your competence is not determined by how many paper degrees you have but by “show me what you can do” and your ability to learn continually.
How long have you been exposed to the African tech field, and how has this influenced your knowledge of technological advancement in Africa?
I have had a love for technology for a long time but my walk with it as a full-time career started in 2017 first by working with learning to build websites with WordPress to now journey as a developer.
Technology is one of the greatest tools in the hands of the average African. Once I committed to the path, it opened up my eyes to the many innovations and solutions being created across Africa leveraging on technology. The ability of it has to break through the language, color, and national barriers and hand the power to create a better world to the average African individual which has been denied to them by incompetent leaders.
Looking at 21-century relevant skills, what type of skills have become indispensable in this era?
The indispensable skill in this era for me will be the ability to learn; when you learn, you can adapt and adaptation has been the story of those who survive through history. The only way to acquire new skills is by continuous learning.
The second will be creative thinking. There is really nothing new under the Sun; to set yourself apart that ability to think of better ways to do old things is essential.
Lastly, I will say communication. There is no need for learning and being creative if you cannot communicate the vision to those around you. Especially, here in Nigeria where these skills were not taught in schools.
As an African woman in tech, what is the most significant challenge you have faced professionally?
The top challenge for me is that people tend to see you as a woman first before a professional.
In your opinion, what are the two most important skills everyone should acquire for the present day workspace?
A crucial one for me will be the ability to work with teams. Teamwork increases creativity and productivity by combining strengths to achieve your goals.
Again, communication cannot be over-emphasized. One has to learn to be clear about their meaning and what they want to achieve – be it verbal or written.