Jacqueline Macharia
Age: 27
Software Developer, Andela Fellowship

Andela Fellowship is a tech-based company that offers a new kind of work experience that merges learning and work. It brings together software developers from across the world and takes them through simulative training in development skills, and offers them a
platform to work with local and international partners. Andela fills the talent gap in technical careers by investing in talented software developers. Jacqueline Macharia is one such talent.

1. When did you realize your love for technology?

I didn’t know I would venture into tech until after campus. I studied a Bachelor of Commerce degree in finance and accounting, and my first job was actually in a bank. The internship experience did nothing more than make me realize that banking was not for me. I later got a job in events management for about 2 years, but it was really in rebellion towards what I did not want to do. I tried so many things while trying to run away from a possible career in my line of study, including deejaying. Needless to say, I failed miserably.

However, during this time I developed a keen ear for good music and I saw that many young artists needed proper management. In addition to this, I realized that many things were done manually, and I thought of coming up with tech solutions to ease some of
the processes. Artists needed to make 3 copies of their music in CDs to submit to each management organization, not to mention the whole tedious process of receiving royalties afterwards. This was my motivation to venture into the tech world, despite not knowing where to start. In December 2015 I joined the local Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)
program, and after seeing all the amazing tech-related projects by my fellow participants, I was convinced beyond doubt that I needed to learn how to code.

2. Why did you choose Andela, to realize this dream?

My initial plan was to go back to school for a second degree in computer science.
As I was looking for scholarship options, I came across an open application for
the Andela Fellowship and I thought this was the perfect place for me. I had absolutely no prior knowledge in coding, but I was motivated by the problem I wanted to solve. The process of joining Andela is however very thorough. I tried twice and failed during the boot camp then I finally got in at my third try a few months later in 2016, after taking basic coding classes and reading online.

3. What does software development entail?

Software development is the creative process behind computer programs. It is geared towards designing solutions for organizations.

4. What is your take on the education system with regards to talent development?

The system limits talent development in many ways. First, many students are signed up for courses that they are not passionate about, and this either results in a lifetime of a demotivated workforce or a long time trying to refind their path. In addition to this, some of the things taught in school, especially for tech-related courses are outdated, and students have to learn new techniques.

5. So many women have broken the stereotype of women in technology. Do these stereotypes still exist?

Many women in the world are breaking barriers in the tech world, so this is no longer a strange phenomenon. There are so many opportunities even for women, and with the necessary skills, all it takes is passion.

6. How are you using the skills learnt to fix the gap you saw in the music industry?

I am currently immersed in learning new trends as I find a way to contribute. I have learnt that not all problems can be fixed by creating applications, as much as they make things simpler. I want to build products not just for the music industry, but products that can be used across regions and across fields, and especially those that are geared towards creativity and social good.

7. How can young people take advantage of the tech revolution?

Technology offers so much and you just need to define your path and figure out where to start. The internet is loaded with tutorials and articles that are useful and you also have direct access to information from the best in the world through books. Andela is a great
place for beginners.

Here’s hoping you enjoyed Jacqueline Macharia’s story. For more inspiring stories from our Millennials series, here’s Duncan Njue, Founder and CEO of Growthpad Digital Consulting.

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