Updated: Feb 14, 2021
London, United Kingdom
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Bukola Babajide. I am an IT Consultant by profession. I run a company called Crystal Options Limited and it is a Software Development company where we build web applications, mobile applications and bespoke applications. I am also the founder of Female Techpreneur - launched in March 2020. It is a community of like-minded women in tech and the idea of it is to help people launch their start up ideas and give them the help and support they need. Tech female founders come together as a group and we network, connect and build businesses together.
How did you decide to get into technology?
I studied Economics in University a few years ago and started my career in a bank as a credit officer. I later got a role as a Payroll Analyst and started using an SAP System. The system was quite intuitive, and I enjoyed the systems side of things because I got to do troubleshooting and fix things. My understanding of the HR process and the systems made it easy for me to transition into an SAP consultant role and my experience with the system made it easier. I did some more training, got an SAP certification and that was it. A few years after that I booked myself into a college to learn web design as I had the affinity for building tech solutions.
I did a SWOT analysis on myself and found where my strengths lie and built on that.
How would you describe your experience in the industry so far?
I think my experience has been good. I have been lucky to work with some fantastic people and I am also like a tomboy because I grew up with three brothers, so I get along with men. In fact, most of my friends are male, so I feel at home. It works for me, but that does not necessarily mean that it works for everyone. Again, I have always been a contractor and I have worked on a lot of projects. Being a contractor has given me variety, a lot of exposure to different industries. I have worked in industries like financial services, logistics and education. I have been exposed to many different systems and applications over time and I have met a lot of fantastic people. It's been a very great experience.
What does a typical day in your job look like?
I am a mum and a wife, so I get the Kids ready. In the COVID world, things have changed, but typically I start off my day by meditating and preparing myself. My day starts the night before. I look at all my meetings and prepare myself in terms of if I need to put something together. I try to avoid doing meetings in the mornings so that I can get all admin work and other tasks out of the way first. Generally, I tend to have back to back meetings, I run workshops, I facilitate meeting, I speak to my stakeholders and attend stand ups with my team where we speak about anything else that needs to be done in a typical project life-cycle. It is usually a normal 9-5 day, but I don't stop at 5:00 PM because I have multiple things I work on.
Has your expectation of what the tech world is like matched the reality? How?
The Tech world is evolving and is high in demand now because of COVID.
COVID has changed how things used to be. People are more relaxed with remote working which used to be a challenge and that grants access to resources that wouldn't ordinarily be available. So, the tech landscape is changing and the demand for online presence is skyrocketing and the opportunities are fantastic. of course, given the current circumstances, it could be better because the country is going into a recession, but if we hang in there, it will continue to evolve, and it will be a fantastic place to be. I personally enjoy it because I like to create solutions and see how an idea is birthed and comes to life.
How do you navigate working with men daily (if you do) and how do you make sure to get your voice heard?
Like I said earlier, I get along with everyone. I am a people person and I have always gotten along with people everywhere I have worked. In terms of working with men, I love it. It's fantastic.
In terms of getting your voice hears, that is a different kettle of fish because sometimes you may get a scenario where people think you may not know as much because of your gender.
So, this comes with years of experience, knowledge and confidence. I put in extra, I learn, I research, I read. I always like to improve myself. So, when all the noise is going on, I remain calm. I let everyone say what they have to say and afterwards, I quietly state my case. You don't have to just talk.
It's like I always say, "If you don't have anything to say, it is okay to be quiet than to say something that is absolutely out of it.".
If you could change one thing about your journey in tech so far, what would it be?
I have moved around a lot and that has given me a variety of experience and knowledge, but I think what I would have done differently is to have a strategy because I was just been blown by the project opportunities. As a contractor, there isn't really a defined career path as you would get if you were an employee with a direct line of promotions and professional job titles. So, even though contracting paid well, I never got the perks that came with having a permanent role. So, if I had identified my career goals very early on in my journey, that would have helped me to make some right decisions on how to build my career path.
What was the best professional advice you ever received or given?
Have a team spirit. As an example, if you have someone in a team that did something not so good and you did not show them up, what that does is you buy their loyalty and trust. You gain a friend for life.
Also, you need to stay focus on your goal regardless of the noise and everything that is happening. Disregard the noise and problems and remain steadfast.
Another one is that you need to keep learning. There are a lot of new technologies coming out and evolving all the time from Machine Learning to Artificial Intelligence to Cloud Solutions. You cannot be stagnant otherwise you will be out of a job.
What advice do you have for younger ladies aiming to pursue a career in technology?
What I would say to younger ladies aiming to pursue a career in technology is "Go for it".
It is amazing. There is room for more. It is a fulfilling career. It is rewarding, and given the current global situation with the pandemic, there is flexibility.
Companies are more flexible now with their work-life balance and starting a family, which tends to be a challenge for women in the workplace. Go for it. The sky is not even the limit. It is achievable and the opportunities are there.
Any other comments
I say to people that you need to have a strategy. Both a long term and short-term strategy. Where do you see yourself in a few years? A CEO? Your own boss? A lot of people start their career and the world or job opportunity will throw them about, but the key thing is to have a strategy. Figure out what you want and proactively work towards achieving that. There are a lot of opportunities now. Doors are beginning to open for women to step into the tech space.
The above are just some excerpts and main answers to the interview questions, but Bukola had a lot more to share with us, so please watch the full interview below for many more career advice and tips.
You can learn the following from the video:
How to do a SWOT Analysis on yourself
How to add value to your role
How to improve yourself and have an agenda for your goals
...and so much more
I would like to send a massive thanks to Bukola for taking the time out to answer the questions above. I have personally learnt a lot from speaking to you and I hope everyone who reads this and watches the video shares the same sentiment.
Follow Mrs Bukola Babajide and Female Techpreneur on the socials listed above.
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