HOMETOWN: Accra, Ghana.
EDUCATION: Ms in Software Engineering
WORK: Software / System Engineer
AYE: You started 14Kmedia.com, an entertainment platform that allowed users to listen and share African music free of charge. What inspired you to create such an innovative platform?
WO: The image of families spending quality time together was what I had in mind when I conceptualized 14Kmedia. At the time, African music was not so popular and easy to find. 14Kmedia had been just the right platform for Africans abroad to have African music at their fingertips. I wanted to showcase and highlight the African brand through music and entertainment. Not only did I feel African music should be shared, I also believed that music should shared free of charge. That is why 14Kmedia continues to be a free platform.
AYE: Unlike other careers, there are very few known or respected African software engineers. What inspired you to pursue software engineering, and how was it like to code for the first time?
WO: I love studying and discovering new things and software engineering was one of the fast paced technologies at the time, I think it still is. Coding for the first time was chaotic and emotional. The contentment of living a dream and the nightmare of anticipating feedback was combined during that instance.
AYE: How were you able to convince your family, especially your parents about becoming a software engineer?
WO: I didn’t have to convince my parents. Since I was a child, technology and innovation were in my blood. I used to break down toys just to figure out how they work. Nowadays African parents try to convince their kids that being a lawyer or doctor is the only way to be successful. That’s wrong. I believe in supporting your kids in whatever they want to pursue.
AYE: How is it like to be an African and a software engineer? Reiterate some of the challenges you face in this profession.
WO: I think as African professionals, we feel the same way as any other professional does – proud and a little boastful of our achievements and thankful that we have overcome most of the challenges we have faced. Speaking of challenges, keeping myself abreast with current technological advances is one of the greatest challenges. In this fast paced environment of Software Engineering, the need to find your flow in the current era of constant change is a continuous battle for me.
AYE: Can you talk about some of your projects; which of them challenged or excited you most?
WO: face2faceafrica.com website and 54-Kingdoms app are two of my most favored works. The former aims to restore Africa’s image through multimedia, fashion, and relevant publications. With 54-Kingdoms app– imagine collecting the vast African culture and bringing it to the palms of millions of users – that’s how exciting it was.
AYE: How is like being a young professional African in the Diaspora?
WO: It feels like being an explorer – always wary of the risk of being lost in a foreign world, but also expectant of making new discoveries and experiencing new things. The excitement overweighs the risk by a great measure.
AYE: Do you believe in moving to Africa and helping in the development process with your newly acquired skills?
WO: Yes. No matter how adventurous our spirit is, there is no place like home. And what more could one wish for than to go back to where he came from; bringing his achievements and sharing it with his people? Going back to Africa is a journey that I need to take towards contentment.
AYE: Any advice for young Africans who are pursuing software engineering?
WO: Be courageous and firm in pursuing your goals. It won’t be a smooth journey and not everything will turn out as a success. In the face of enormous challenges don’t be afraid to call for help. After all, Africa is not an island; it is a great continent with people always willing to lend a hand. It is the same for the whole world – help will always come to those who are willing to accept it.
AYE: As a young pursuer, where do you see yourself five (5) years from now? And should we expect other breathtaking projects from you soon?
WO: I don't know where I see myself in 5 years, but I do know in God's time it will be better than where I am now. With regard to projects, I'm working on an afribox.com project and another project with a law firm. I can't get into details now, but watch out for them. Maybe an improved version of face2faceafrica.com, 54kingdoms app v2, who knows…