Eva leads /organizes codebar Accra, which is an organization that provides a safe-space for underrepresented people in Tech to connect, network and learn. Before Getinnotized, she was an Entrepreneur in Training at MEST, where she studied Software Engineering and Entrepreneurship.
Eva is in a transition phase to Data Science. She believes in everyone's responsibility to challenge the status quo and is happy PyLadies does challenge the status quo in our community. She also watches the movie "Hidden Figures" at least twice a week
Tell us one word that best describes you
I think "determined" is the word I will use
Has it been IT always? Or how did you venture into this field?
I studied computer science. To be honest I touched my first computer at 17 years of age. I wouldn’t say I have always been in Tech.
Did you have any mentors? Since it was quite new, what kept you going?
I am kenyan, we go to High school for 4 years, after that we stay home for around 6 months, after which we join college. My mum wanted me to be independent and she ask me to get a job. My first job was cleaning computers. My boss at the time forced me to learn word, excel, powerpoints etc After learning those, he took me to his lectures. He was working as a lecturer in university in Kenya. That way he became my first mentor. He wanted me to audit Technology courses and know where I wanted to be. After I knew I wanted computer science I went out looking for people who inspired me.
Tell us about the others
In my first year, I joined Google developers Group. In the group, there were a few ladies. I started hanging out with them, and they would take me to meet ups like andela, akirachix and other groups. In the GDG group, I started taking responsibilities, the leads there were willing to direct me and sometimes take a fall for mistakes I made.
Was it hard adapting as a lady. Even now do you think there are any hurdles for ladies in IT?
Yes, it was challenging. 90% of the time I was expected to be serving snacks instead of answering tough tech questions during events. Sometimes when I was in an assignment group there would be that guy who wouldn't want me to write code because I might not do it well. Like most of us in this group, I have asked myself whether I am really capable. All of you know that small voice in your head, right? For students, you know when you go to ask a question about a bug and the boy simply takes your computer and writes the whole program for you. In work area though, I have become more intentional about who affects me, but because I lead a team, I get to observe how women are treated. I think things are getting better everyday.
Yes, it was challenging. 90% of the time I was expected to be serving snacks instead of answering tough tech questions during events. Sometimes when I was in an assignment group there would be that guy who wouldn't want me to write code because I might not do it well.
Like most of us in this group, I have asked myself whether I am really capable. All of you know that small voice in your head, right?
For students, you know when you go to ask a question about a bug and the boy simply takes your computer and writes the whole program for you. In work area though, I have become more intentional about who affects me, but because I lead a team, I get to observe how women are treated. I think things are getting better everyday.
How did you explore all these technologies? Any link to resources you use?
I am a big fan of videos. So youtube is my university. But I was given a trick by my boyfriend, he is Ghanaian by the way 😉 He said, "The best way to learn, is to just get the basics, then immediately build something". So I try to build something new every month. For Resources, I have tonnes. I will have to organize that into a roadmap so that it is useful for everyone.
Your portfolio must be a huge one. I mean of the projects you've built.
Haha, yes and no, I started this practice last year, sometime in November.
Please tell us about;
1. Your typical work day
I wake up at 07:00 Then exercise and prepare for work. I then get to work at around 0750.(I live where I work). From 8am-9am, I get to know what everyone is doing and if they have issues. From 9am to 5pm, I will be doing various tasks, including writing code and debugging. I read a lot, so I use minimum 2 hrs reading. Then I start coding until I fall asleep at around 12 o’clock midnight. Sometimes up to 2AM, and then begin again. Not all days are the same though. Haha, I don't balance. I have not figured that out yet. Maybe you ladies can help me with that. I do what gives me the greatest happiness and has a greater impact. I also allow myself to be imperfect. I exercise, I have few, very few friends who keep me grounded, then I talk to my God a lot.
For getinnotized, I am a test automation engineer. My work entails a few things. I lead the Quality Assurance team. I do code reviews with developers. I write automated tests using selenium, appium, xunit frameworks. I also do a bit of DevOps which also comes with Continuous Integration. My work is to make sure the products we release are of top quality.
For codebar, I organize meetups. The group is for underrepresented people in Tech,so we provide a space for them to learn, network and grow. You can check out codebar.io for more info. We have tutorials there, for beginners and the meetups take the model of student-teacher model
4. Hidden Figures
I am a lazy-movie-watcher. So I found hidden figures last month. I watched ladies who were out to make a difference and nothing was going to stop them. They worked day and night. Not only were they women in offices full of white male, they were also blacks in a segregated state. One of the ladies was a leader(Dorothy) that woman was willing to go over and beyond to create opportunities for women. If she was moving ahead, she made sure to bring her sisters with her. Dorothy learned Fortran programming language from a book!!
That left me super super inspired but also scared. I was scared because I have no excuse when someone asks me: "Other women are working in NASA, helping humanity explore space, what are you doing?" I don't know about you guys, but I am ready to do a lot so that I can have an answer for that
How can we reach you?
I prefer texting/whatsapping because I don't like my phone and I might not see your calls until I am forced to charge it 😁 @evagachirwa on twitter LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/evagachirwa/
QUESTIONS FROM PARTICIPANTS
If you’re in final year in school and you have now developed an interest in software development is it too late??
It is never late, I started programming actively in my last year in school. You just need to go out there and start, then get people to go on the journey with you. And most of all don't give up, because you will want to, but when you are most challenged, is the same time that you learn the most
You started computing at a young age, If the "older" You could give an advice to the "younger" You, what advice would she give her on learning to be a programmer?
To actively look for exposure. I will give you an example. I was studying computer science, I was learning how to code, but I was not actively coding until my last year of university. For 3 years I was comfortable going to class and going back home and relaxing like everyone else. Until, I applied for andela and it opened up the world for me. In less than 2 weeks I learned more than I had learned for 3 years in university. Imagine I started seeking these opportunities and exposure early. Get exposure and be daring.
Wow, thanks so much Eva. I always get scared with coding but with this experience you shared, now I'm also going to hook my husband to help me come up like you.~ Precious
I’m inspired, thanks a million and a thumbs up for that guy who sees and encourages I can do it. ~ Anonymous
Great session Eva ! You're an inspiration❤❤❤.More Vim. ~ Pamela
The secret many never told us is, this journey is hard sometimes. ~ Saviour