Ehi Aigiomawu is a graduate of Computer Science from Ambrose Alli University, Edo, Nigeria. She began her first software development firm (Codulab Technologies Limited) in 2014 where she was involved with building innovative software products for companies across the globe including the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and at the same time, running a free programming program to equip over 200 students across 10 Nigerian universities with coding skills. She has been a facilitator and trainer for Developers in Vogue, Ghana. She’s a data enthusiast with interest in building machine learning models to extract actionable insights from data to help businesses and organizations make informed and intelligent business decisions. Currently, she’s a co-founder & tech lead at Vesicash Innovative Technologies.
Why did I get into STEM?
My first contact with a computer was in junior high school at age 11 (in 2001). I wondered how come people could type documents, carry out calculations, watch movies, and do all sorts of things with the computer, and why the television couldn’t do all that. The quest to find out what made those functions possible influenced my decision to major in Computer Science in my first degree. Looking back, I’d say that’s one of the best decisions of my life.
What do you consider your greatest achievements?
I started my first company in 2014 where we organized free peer-to-peer programming classes to train undergraduates across Nigeria and pair them with employment opportunities. This program lasted till 2016 and we recorded a total of 200 students (from ten Nigerian universities) were beneficiaries. My greatest achievement is to have impacted and given these people meaningful skills with which they got employment opportunities at various companies across Nigeria.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them?
I wouldn’t call them challenges. My biggest regrets are; not believing in myself early enough, not raising my hands to take on a new challenge, not applying for opportunities because I thought I didn’t meet all the requirements. Being the only female in a team sometimes could make you feel overpowered, make you feel you don’t have a voice or your opinions don’t matter. Today, I have learned to always trust my instincts/judgments, give my inputs/opinions on matters I think will be beneficial in any group/team I find myself, always apply for opportunities I believe are right for me whether or not I’m 100% qualified.
What is your advice to budding women in STEM?
If you are really interested in a STEM career, go all in! Don’t pursue a STEM career because it’s the new coolest industry so that you won’t easily get frustrated when things aren’t working. There will be difficult times when you will feel like you’re not as smart as every other person in the space. My solace has always been in the reasons I choose this path. There will also be times when you’d get overwhelmed by a new tool, new concept or a new wave; we have all been there. Stay focused, don’t get carried away with the new and latest craze around new technology. Focus on understanding why things work the way they do and not just how they work. Whatever field/career you choose to go into, never attempt to skip the basics because it will always haunt you. One thing that has always helped me is my focus on mastering one thing before moving to the next. Lastly, follow people who already know what you want to learn, and always ask questions. Do you, and always learn at your own pace, but make sure you’re continuously learning. “If you must achieve greatness, know that the knowledge that brought your present phase is not enough to take you to the next phase. Keep updating yourself” – Ehi Aigiomawu