Hi Asia! 👋 It’s a pleasure to have you share your story with us. Do you want to start by giving a brief introduction to yourself and your background of how you got into tech?

Hey! I am now a Rising Star In Tech U.K. Globant winner, I am a Junior Software / Blockchain engineer and a Co-Founder of an educational tech platform called TechNewbies.  I transitioned into tech from a non-technical background officially 11 months ago. I decided to do this because I believe technology is the future and I really wanted to be part of something that is ever evolving and also will enable me to help others. 

I enjoy self development, playing chess and I also love inspiring and mentoring women and people from underrepresented backgrounds into tech. I am part of many amazing communities such as Black Girls In Tech, Coding Black Females, Black Valley and Code First Girls. 

I am excited for the future of technology and being part of women empowering women in technology. The next step for me is to launch my own blockchain startup in 2022.

You’ve achieved an INCREDIBLE amount in the past 11 months. Including co-founding EdTech Platform, became a self-taught Software Engineer, a Junior Blockchain Developer, tech influencer, and tech mentor! What was the driving force behind this? What motivates you and drives you every single day?

Thank you so much! 

“You are who you are in this world, you’re either somebody or nobody” - This quote is in my background and everyday I choose to be somebody, helping 1 person can lead to helping 10, and helping 10 can lead to helping 100’s of amazing people. And that is what I live for. 

I believe the motivation came from wanting to make a difference and prove that women, especially women like me from an underrepresented background, can also achieve whatever they put their mind to in this world. 

I always believe life is so much more than just financial success, to me, I believe life is about finding purpose and adding value to yourself and others. I found  my purpose is to inspire and advocate for change and encourage anyone, especially women, that all dreams and goals are possible. 

I spent a lot of time self-developing and becoming more content with who I am, and thanks to that, I find happiness in helping others achieve their goals and encouraging women that taking a leap outside your comfort zone is totally fun, instead of to be seen as scary. 

What networks/resources did you use when you started out? 📚

- Udemy Courses

- Code Academy

- Harvard CS50 lectures

- Tech with Tim on youtube

- Code First Girls courses

- Sky women in tech software engineering academy 

Talking more about your involvement and interest in blockchain, why is this interesting to you and how do you see this industry developing and changing over the next few years?

My interest in blockchain technology sparked in summer 2019 when I was introduced to crypto currency by a friend. I have been an investor since, but still did not understand much about the technology. Therefore, since then, I decided to delve deeper and learn about how technology works. I recently decided to learn how to become a blockchain developer once I realised how powerful it can be. Thanks to Consensys I have been given a blockchain development scholarship which has enabled me to study the technology in depth and taught me how to build dApp applications. 

Personally, I believe blockchain technology will allow us to have the freedom and control we desire, not just because it is decentralised and gives us control of our finances but also our data and anything we own. It gives us data control, data integrity, ownership and accountability. I also think over the next 5 years companies will start implementing blockchain technology for security purposes, speed and ownership. This will lead to companies questioning if certain jobs within the banking industry, real estate industry, legal industry for example, are even needed; especially since we are moving to a Metaverse future. 

I cannot wait to use blockchain technology to innovate certain industries and with what I am working on at the moment, I am super excited to announce it to everyone in 2022. 

As a co-founder of Tech Newbies, how did your journey up until this point lead to this? Was there an obvious gap in the industry that needed filling?

TechNewbies was actually founded to just showcase our journey on TikTok coming from a non-technical background. Also, to keep me accountable on my technical skills as I had just received a rejection from my first choice software engineering job back in May, so thanks to rejection TechNewbies was born. 

Then over a few weeks, we started getting a lot of engagement from women and people of colour who wanted to get into tech. So, now we tailor the TikTok platform to giving advice on how to get into tech, how to stand out in tech interviews and what it is like being a person of colour and a woman in the tech industry. 

It is a good platform for any one who is trying to get into tech and in 2022 we will be focusing on posting recordings on how to pass problem solving questions and data structures & algorithms. In addition, we plan on partnering with bigger communities and helping get women and people from underrepresented backgrounds into technology and kick start their tech career.

You’re an inspiring individual Asia! What advice would you give to others who are potentially wanting to get into the industry who haven’t come from a technical background? 

  1. Believe in yourself!
  2. Patience is a virtue - as long as you are working towards your tech goal everyday, you will achieve it. 
  3. Pick one programming language and master it. 
  4. Learn to problem solve through code wars, leet code and youtube. 
  5. Network, network and network!
  6. Join a community (check at the bottom of the article for suggested communities) 

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In one of your Linkedin posts you openly talk about how you've worked through your own mental health battles. I’d like to touch upon that a little more if that’s okay? How did you, and do you continue to manage this in order to achieve the best that you can?

Mental health is so important. It is important to speak about it and create a safe space which will allow others to be able to open up. I never spoke about mental health till recently, as I truly never believed in it due to lack of education and awareness and I guess I was ashamed. However, it is very much real and It is not shameful.

From 2019 until mid 2021, I spent a lot of time self developing and focusing on emotional intelligence and discipline; this helped me become somewhat self aware and content. I did this through daily meditation, journaling, fasting 18 hours a day, prayer and exercising everyday. What I didn't realise was all this self development I had been doing was preparing me for one of the worst and best phases in my life. I say best, because realising I was suffering with depression and overcoming it, made me a much wiser and stronger being than I had ever been before. I believe there is confidence, humility and beauty when you talk about your dark battles, It is nothing to be ashamed of.  

When my depression hit in summer 2021, it came in spurts, and I tried to live my daily life until I struggled getting out of bed everyday and thinking about sleeping and never waking up. Then one day I came across a Ted Talk by Caitlyn Roux. It was called “Self Love, Be Intentional.” The key takeaway for me in that moment was two questions: 

  1. Do I add value to myself? 
  2. Do the relationships in my life add value to me? 

Since, I told myself I will get up everyday, add value and do one thing that makes me happy and worth living, whether it is reading, praying, playing chess, coding or going to the gym or sitting in silence and journaling. I started implementing things I love and enjoy again and I could see improvement in myself. Slowly,  I started being able to live again and achieve goals I had written for the rest of 2021. I am so proud of myself. 

So, advice for anyone out there suffering in silence: 

- Seek help from any professional (I  wish I had told someone sooner.) 

- Remember you are going to be okay & you are not alone. - feelings are temporary :) 

- Do something you love once a day & log it. - I use a trello board. 

- Implement time for self-development such as… Affirmations, Reading, Podcasts, Ted Talks, Work out & Prayer. 

- Become self-aware - through journaling and processing who you are and setting your mental, emotional, spiritual, physical goals. 

Thank you for sharing even just a part of your story with us! Is there anywhere else you’d like to signpost people for support and networking opportunities to get into tech? 👇

  1. Code First Girls
  2. Black Valley
  3. Black Girls in Tech
  4. Web3 Ladies
  5. Coding Black Females
  6. Xuntos

You can follow Asia's journey on Linkedin and Twitter - get connected! You can get inspired and read more Developer Stories exclusively on Haystack.

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