Of 2017 and Experiments: Pink Ambitions
In the last 2 years, I’ve been actively involved in promoting “Girl Tech Education” across Nigeria and Africa in general.
During this period, I had mentored over 420 ladies in hardware development(Code4Impact), programming and tech in general and also coached at 15 Django Girls Events in Nigeria and Ghana( Was told that’s the highest number of DG events an individual had coached at globally).
Just to point out, Django Girls is an international non-profit organization, started to inspire women from all backgrounds to get interested in technology and to become programmers, offering a safe and friendly environment.
A large number of these ladies I had mentored/coached have gone on to become amazing developers/engineers, working on amazing and really cool projects.
According to a Forbes article, the percentage of women in computing jobs would see a decline from 24% to 22% over the next 10 years.
In March this year, I decided to play around, try out an experiment and see how things would turn out.
I knew a couple of ladies who had severally told me they wanted to be hackers and build a career in InfoSec. They had shown good reason why I should invest time into teaching them.
We have few women in Cybersecurity in Nigeria and even fewer with technical skills.
There was Kess Obajuwana who I had met previously at a Django Girls event, and also at Code4Impact. She would always come to me with lots of questions about Cybersecurity, how she could write secure code and also break stuff.
Also, there was Hamdallah Adetunji , a Python programmer and one-time organizer of a DjangoGirls event at Ota, Ogun State.
Then Sophina Kio-Lawson, we had worked together on CcHub’s Digital Security Team, building safeonline.ng. She’s an amazing testimony. Someone who showed a knack for learning and was constantly giving me headaches(in a good way) with her questions. From newbie to Intermediate level in approximately 6 months. Awesome growth fam.
And Lilian Douglas, she was clear right from the beginning what she wanted to do. Digital Forensics.
Pink Ambition was a product of that experiment.
I created a WhatsApp group, added these ladies and threw at them resources. Then was on standby to answer questions, and occasionally do Skype Video calls with them to teach a couple of things. Nothing special in what I had done.
Of 35 teams that entered for the NaijaSecCon CTF, Pink Ambitions finished 8th in the qualifiers, and 5th in the finals.
Sophina and Lilian currently work at Security Analysts at a EthnosIT Solutions, a cybersecurity firm.
Kessiena is now a Security Engineer at a cybersecurity startup, Esentry, where she’s building amazing security products.
Sophina was recently awarded a scholarship to attend the largest and famous hacker conference BlackHat and series of trainings.
Hamdallah currently works as a software Engineer with Andela
They’ve made me proud, and I’m glad this experiment paid off.
Lessons learned from this experiment:
- Got an idea, try it out. You stand to loose nothing. “Las las, is fail you wee fail. Even sef, na fail you fail, you no kill pesin”. But then, you’ll learn invaluable lessons from the trial.
- Everyone needs just a little push to actualize their potentials.
- You learn better and grow by genuinely sharing knowledge, tips and tricks about your profession and also, you get to establish yourself as a thought leader.
So folks, you’ve got an idea, a thought? Give life to that idea, back that thought up with action. It would be your own contribution to growing the Nigerian tech ecosystem.
This 2018, I would be experimenting around building cybersecurity research teams in higher institutions across Africa.
To 2018, year of amazing research and interesting experiments.