I’m an African Female Programmer

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August 8, 2012 By specialguest

I’m an African Female Programmer.In a few months (3 and a half) ,I’ll be attaining a degree in Electrical and Computer engineering but my journey to that has been fascinating.

I had the privilege of enrolling at one of the best girls schools in Uganda ,Mount St Marys College Namagunga . I got the best education Ugandan education could buy (graduated top of my class)but i didnt know how to turn on a computer or much about the internet.Craziest thing happened to me ,I got a google -zawadi scholarship to study computer science at the University of Cape town.My parents were not too keen about it because they had never heard of this “computer science” and their dream was for me to become an “engineer” so i decided to enroll in a double major which was Electrical and Computer Engineering inorder to get their acceptance.

Well my first week in my computer science class was daunting ,most kids in my class had already taken programming classes in high school and thats all they talked about .My first practical i was the last to leave the lab because i was struggling  to print “Hello World” .That same week i bumped into a nerd with a huge ego who basically let me know i was wasting my time doing computer science.At that moment i knew i was screwed ,but i had to suck it up because i had a scholarship to maintain over the next four years.

I’m glad i stuck it through ,turns out with a good maths background i was able to make through all computer science courses.I just completed an internship with the Praekelt foundation as a software intern and its one of the most fascinating things i have done in my lifetime as a programmer .Who knew i could be building a data visualization  product?

People look at me funny when start my enthusiasm  for apple products going into design specifics or my love for open software or how i cringe when i use windows .But it feels good to be in tech world as it something i feel its pushing Africa and giving us “leveled” ground with the rest of world.Also having women involved and taking up roles is playing a major role ,giving us Africa’s own Marissa Mayers http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/24/world/africa/atagana-african-women-in-tech/index.html

Despite how amazing the tech genre is the number of girls found in computer science classrooms is still very very low.General involvement is low as alot of the girls after pursuing degrees in computer science take on roles in customer care centres of the tech companies .I have joined one initiative  in Uganda that encourages girls to pursue tech related courses at university http://witug.wordpress.com/

I would love to see more girls get in involved in tech

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