Today’s feature is about Tech Star Girl, Sophiyat Sadiq. A young woman whose vision has evolved from giving women in technology a voice to seeing tangible evolutionary changes in the Nigerian Tech Space. NigerianNGOrecently had an interview with Sophiyat and we hope you enjoy it!
NigerianNGO: Tell us about yourself?
Sophiyat: Hello everyone! I am Sophiyat Sadiq, a 200 level student of the department of computer science, Lagos State University.
NigerianNGO: How did you find out about the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) and what opportunities have your experience at W.TEC exposed you to?
Sophiyat: W.TEC! The summer camp program actually holds in my secondary school and that’s how I knew about it. I attended the camp and though I did not know what to expect and to be honest, I saw it as a summer gateway because I was to attend with my best friend. I just saw it as a time to have fun but trust me it was the total opposite. I’m not saying it wasn’t fun; it was extremely fun but aside that it was a life changing experience for me, highly innovative, inspirational and educational.
Through out the duration of the camp, I had the opportunity of meeting some really amazing women in the industry like; Mrs. NkemdilimBegho, Miss Ommo Clark and the CEO herself, Mrs. OreoluwaLesi. I also had the opportunity of going to top IT companies like Main One and General Electric. I had an amazing time at these companies and General Electric was where I actually wrote my first line of code in html. After the duration of the camp, WTEC still kept in touch with me and followed up with my work. They constantly send mails on programs I can attend and even take me to some of them. One of my biggest achievements this year which is winning the award for under 25 social innovators for the coding girls category by ideationhub Africa was through WTEC. Working with them has certainly opened doors of opportunities for me.
NigerianNGO: Tell us about the project you worked on at the Technovation Challenge?
Sophiyat: The project I worked on which was a team work was a mobile application called “Perfect and fit”. The application was created for women who had problem trying to find the right dress for the right occasion. At that time in 2014, it was a problem we identified amongst women and a survey was carried out. So we created an application that helps you decide what to wear, how to wear it and where to wear it to. The application also helps you calculate your body mass index. It gives tips on healthy living; what to eat and what not to eat.
NigerianNGO: What are some of the challenges you have faced as a woman in Computer Science and what can be done to encourage more women in Nigeria to study Computer Science?
Sophiyat: I am still very young and new to the world of computer science, but I have certainly faced my fair share of challenges in “the man’s world”. A good example is, in school right now, if you ask a random student what they expect from a male computer science student, they would go on about how the boys are good programmers or cartoonists or developers but when you ask about the girls, and very little is expected.
To any woman out there reading this, whether you are in the computer science field or not, break the stereotypes. Do not stop yourself from achieving your dreams simply because someone says it’s a job for men or because society says it’s not girls’ thing. Prove to them that what they can do you can do better.
Keep working hard, making goals and achieving them. Breaking the loop and realizing your dreams. You are strong, beautiful and powerful!
NigerianNGO: Tell us about your initiative?
Sophiyat: The abstract success has been measured using different yardsticks. If I were asked this question 4 years ago, then my response would have been “empowering more girls in ICT” but now I do not think I can even say it all. I want to work in hand with people who have a vision for Africa. I want to create a world where there are no stereotypes about the female. I want to see a world where our imagination is our limit. I want to be part of a great evolution for Africa!
NigerianNGO: What challenges have you faced in the course of running your initiative?
Sophiyat: As funny as it may sound, one of the challenges is going to school. I do not want to be restricted by the four walls of a university. I do not want to be forced to take some classes I have no business with when I could be improving my skills. I am not saying that I do not need those classes but the will and passion to do great things for people, my country and the nation at large make me quite impatient, so I constantly have to remind myself that no knowledge is a waste. I am on the right part and I have to keep building myself.
NigerianNGO: How has your initiative been funded?
Sophiyat: Well, right now my parents and W.TEC are my biggest sponsors but I am reaching out to more people.
NigerianNGO: What advice will you give an undergraduate in his/her first year of studying Computer Science?
Sophiyat: My advice would be; always remember why you are in the school. There would be frustrations and failures. There would be times when you would question yourself but at these moments you need to always remember WHY you are in the school. What is your purpose and goal? And try to have fun while you are at it.
NigerianNGO: For readers that are interested in your work, how can they connect with you and support your initiative?
Sophiyat: You can reach me on:
We hope you enjoyed this feature and we look forward to greater achievements from Sophiyat Sadiq.