We were granted an interview with the amazing Ire Aderinokun; a lawyer and Psychologist turned Front end developer and Designer, who is currently the Head of Technology at Big Cabal Media. She discusses how she switched career paths, how she became a Google Developer Expert (first female to do so in Nigeria) and many more. Let’s dive right in…
Who is Ire Aderinokun?
I’m a self-taught Frontend Developer and User Interface Designer. I studied Experimental Psychology for my Undergraduate degree and Law for my Masters. I currently work as Head of Technology at Big Cabal.
Why did you switch from Law to UI Design and Front-End Development?
Web design and development has been a hobby of mine for a long time, but I never really thought of it as a career option. Once I realised that this was a career path that others did, I knew I had to pursue it myself.
You are the first female Google Developer Expert (GDE) from Nigeria. How were you chosen and how has the experience impacted your life and career?
I heard about the Experts Program at the Women Techmakers Summit last year, and expressed my interest to join. After that, I went through a series of interviews (technical and otherwise) before I was selected. It has been a really great experience so far. I’ve been able to travel and speak at more events.
You own and run bitsofcode.de, a blog dedicated to front-End development. What do you want to achieve with the blog both on the short and long term?
The blog has always been about me developing my own knowledge and sharing it with others. That is the main goal for the blog in the short and long term. However, in the long term, I will like to expand it to doing more different types of content, like video tutorials.
Do you think Studying abroad made a difference for you; seeing that there are only a handful of female developers in Nigeria?
Yeah I would think so, as the education I received in the UK is totally different to what it would have been if I stayed here. However, seeing as I didn’t go down the Psychology/Law paths, studying abroad was not the most important thing for my career today.
What do you think can be done to encourage more Nigerian girls to embrace careers in Tech?
It just needs to be expressed to them that tech is not a “boys” job. Women are equally as capable to do this job, and if they are at all interested in it, they should pursue it.
As a front-end developer, what are your everyday tools and apps, which you cannot do without for work?
WebStorm, Sublime Text, Trello, Postman, Git
How do you manage to balance the demands of your work at Big Cabal media, duties of a Google Developer Expert and still find time to put up regular posts on bitsofco.de
Good time management! I keep all my tasks organised in my todo application, Omnifocus, so I always know what needs to be completed and when.
Tell us about some of your projects (previous, current and maybe even future).
One of my favourtie projects I worked on was the Muslims Condem application. It was one of the first apps I built with Angular 2, and, unlike the previous applications, it went very smoothly. I really enjoyed making it in such a short period of time and releasing it to the world so soon.
For aspiring designers, kindly shed light in the difference between a User Interface (UI) designer, a User Experience (UX) designer and a Front-End developer.
A User Experience designer is a person that is in control of how the user should interact with the application, and making sure that their experience is good. A User Interface designer is the person that designs the application, like a graphic designer. A Frontend developer is the person that build the designs in HTML and CSS.
What do you constantly do to stay motivated and inspired when working a project?
I really enjoy what I do, so I am generally already motivated to complete projects.
Lots of mediocre in the Tech space, what can a Nigerian designer or developer do to become world-class?
Keep learning new things every day, and share your knowledge through writing.
To the aspiring and young designers and developers, what advise do you wish you had gotten when you started?
It’s okay to not know everything. Even if you don’t know everything, you can still share what you do know through writing.
What are your social media handles?
Twitter – @ireaderinokun
Github – @ireade
Medium – @ireade