September 30, 2015

Izzy Oji, Android Developer


What made you decide to work in tech?

I’ve just liked computers for as long as I can remember.

What’s your earliest programming memory?

I didn’t start programming until I was in high school. I took a computer science course. We used JavaSwing to draw things, and it was really awesome!

What was an obstacle you faced ?

Oh yeah. In college, I had a project based class. My professor made me lead developer. I was normally the only girl developer in my class, and I was the only girl developer in this group. I had this one group member who would fight me on every decision I made. It was frustrating. Even if I agreed with him, he would find something to pick a fight about. It made me think, is this what my career is going to be like the whole time?

At my job I’m currently the only girl developer also. So I often deal with client assumptions that all the company’s developers are boys, or that I’m not a developer.

 What is your experience being a POC in Tech?

As someone who was brought up as ‘middle class’, I feel like I’m viewed as ‘respectable’ so I haven’t really haven’t had any issue in this area. I’m from Long Island, so I don’t talk like I’m from the city or what’s considered to be stereotypically ‘black’, so people probably feel comfortable around me.

What was your perception about the tech industry before entering it? What is your perception now?

I started college as a Computer Science major. I first thought, wow this seems boring. It was just a bunch of nerdy boys and I’m not really into video games. Plus my college was really heavy into corporate/banking. So I just thought, what’s cool? My phone is cool; I want to make stuff for my phone. So I found an Android internship, and really fell in love with it.

I never thought I’d meet my twin (my term for another black girl developer), but Twitter is a really cool place for other developers to find each other!

What advice would you give to a young person who wanted to enter tech?
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Someone else has already had your problem before, so research it, google it or ask for help. There is rarely a problem in computer science that someone else hasn’t come across.
  • Don’t be afraid to take time away from a problem. I’ll often come back refreshed and have the solution!
Shameless Plug? 

Touch lab is hiring Android developers and designers!

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Michael Berhane

Co-founder and CEO of & Also the co-host of the #Techish podcast! Full Stack JavaScript developer by trade.

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