In our today’s feature of the ladies who will be attending the AWIT Kenya Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, we give the spotlight to June Barasa as she shares her journey to building GIRLSCODE with the AWIT team.
It is our hope that these short interviews show a glimpse into the everyday reality of doing business as an African woman and helps build bridges between organizations and individuals who are looking to partner, fund, mentor or simply interact with our African women in technology.
Welcome June, it’s our pleasure to have you. Tell us a little about yourself and background.
Thank you for having me. My name is June Barasa and I’m 21 years old. I major in Computer Science and minor in Networking at Riara University in Kenya.
I was born into a family of techies. My mom studied IT and worked in the tech industry; my dad is a networking and telecommunications engineer. At a very young age, I was exposed to computers and the internet and got to see servers and data centres when I tagged along to work with my dad and learnt basics of networking.
Inasmuch as I was exposed to technology, I wanted to find my identity outside my family’s career path. I loved Math and Sciences in high school but started a degree in Economics and Finance when I got into the University. I quickly found I had no love for it, so I dropped out after my first school year.
Three months later, with so much fear of what the future would look like, especially in the male dominated space of tech, I took a leap of faith and it was the best thing I ever did for myself.
I love technology with a passion unfathomable even to myself.
There is a huge tech literacy gap in Kenya, especially with young girls. Because of this, I started an initiative, GIRLSCODE. It’s a non-profit with the aim of teaching young girls from the age of 15-21 to write code by using data types, functions, algorithms, control structures and so much more.
Through this, GIRLSCODE aims to promote tech literacy and eventually bridge the gender gap in technology in Kenya.
How has women conferences (or AWIT specifically) helped you in your business/career so far?
Women conferences have really contributed to my career. I have found it easier to identify with women in tech as most of us share similar stories.
Hearing from women who are more experienced than I am has given me the drive to want to achieve more; seeing that they are doing such a remarkable job at bringing in more females to the industry makes me want to be a part of that – work hard and inspire more women using my story.
What’s one message you want to share with other women in tech/business?
Follow your dreams. Incorporate what you love doing and no matter what you face, you will always find a way to overcome it.
You don’t have to be the most experienced or best candidate to apply for a job you want. It’s okay to fail and it’s okay not to be perfect. Technology is constantly evolving but you can stay consistent and zealous enough to learn, grow and keep up with the times.