Kehinde Babaagba

”… one of the greatest  beauties of tech – one can create and innovate with tangible results to show for it. ”

photo of Kehinde BabaagbaHow did you find your way into tech?

I have always loved numbers and numeracy, and I recall being thrilled to solve maths problems from a very young age. Hence, I knew that any profession I would venture in had to be one that would hone my Maths skills. Being a person of many interests, I also loved public speaking, singing, and the arts and because of the subject selection process for university qualifying exams while I was growing up, I was faced with the choice between either an art or science subject focus. This was not particularly an easy task for me, however, my penchant for problem solving and numeracy surpassed all other passions and was in line with the science focus. After passing my university qualifying exams, I gained admission to study Computer Science at Bachelor’s level, followed by Computing Information Engineering for Master’s, after which I went on to do a PhD in Computing.

The choice to be an academic came naturally to me due to my love for problem solving, as earlier stated, which is at the heart of research – a crucial part of being an academic. Furthermore, since I thoroughly enjoy speaking to people and disseminating knowledge, teaching and presentations came with little difficulty to me. My career journey till this point hasn’t been marked with absolute clarity every step of the way, but God’s help, following passion, and picking up skills along the way have all contributed to where I am today.

On being a Woman in Tech

It is common knowledge that being a woman in tech comes with its unique challenges, even more so being a BAME woman. And while I believe progress has been made regarding embracing women in tech on a similar level as men, there is still a long way to go. There have been times I have felt compelled to push more or do more than my male colleagues to be heard, but I am pleased to acknowledge that those moments are becoming few and far between.

One thing I am certain of is that everyone celebrates results, and being a results-oriented person has made this journey very rewarding. This is perhaps one of the greatest  beauties of tech, that one can create and innovate with tangible results to show for it. I particularly appreciate my current workplace, Edinburgh Napier University, for their effort in easing the barriers that women encounter at work. I believe that regardless of the barriers that might still exist in the tech industry, an innovative tech woman is one that will thrive and be celebrated.

What advice would you offer?

Firstly, I would like to demystify the myth that suggests that women can’t thrive in tech, as several women, myself included, have proven that to be untrue. You can be the tech woman that you desire to be, through commitment to doing all that it takes, which includes acquiring and sharpening the necessary  skills. I have had to learn a multitude of things from scratch to upskill and thankfully, there are now many resources at one’s disposal.

I have female colleagues who have transitioned from a non-tech industry into the tech industry by registering for courses, tutorials, and self-study. The learning curve might be steep at times, but I am certain that it will be worth it. Don’t be afraid to push yourself, make mistakes, try something new on this journey, as the result is a world of endless possibilities!