Updated: Sep 1, 2020
New Jersey/New York
Tell us about yourself.
Let me start by saying, thank you so much for the opportunity to even tell my story. My name is Esiena Ekwofia and I am of Nigerian descent. I was born and raised in NJ and I am the youngest of 4 children. I am an ambivert with more emphasis on the introvert side. I enjoy being around my friends and I love a good “turn up” however, in a week I always need a day or 2 to myself to recharge and center myself. I love travelling and doing anything active or adventurous including, hiking, biking, zip-lining, camping, you name it. I have been a social worker in NYC for almost 6 years, and I am looking to transition into a career in tech. I initially went into this field because I wanted to do my part of shattering the stigmas surrounding mental health in marginalized communities.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in tech or learn coding?
During the current pandemic, I had a lot of downtime to re-evaluate my future. I was able to develop a comprehensive list of goals and the steps it will take me to get there. I got to the point where I found myself becoming emotionally and mentally drained in my current position as a social worker. I am not naïve in the sense that I thought I could change the world, but I initially went into social work because I was more interested in doing my part and having an impact on the people I come in contact with. I love being a social worker because it’s an honour to help people achieve success in their respective lives but I realised that it had gotten to the point where the pros were outweighing the cons.
I decided to pursue a career in tech because it was important for me to find a job that would offer me: flexibility, autonomy over my work, mentally stimulating work, room for growth, and smooth transitions into other aspects of the work.
Let’s be real, I was looking for something that was financially rewarding. I have both a Bachelor’s and Master ‘s degree and I wasn't interested in going back to school and enrolling in another degree program. With that being said, I like that an academic degree is not necessarily required in order to pursue a career in tech. While doing my research, I’ve discovered that more emphasis is being placed on alternative, concentrated educational programs such as boot camps, than traditional degree programs.
What part of the technology industry are you thinking of going into? Why?
I’m thinking of going into Web Development, and I am enrolling in a coding boot camp, which begins in October 2020. I am hoping to become a front-end developer because it is all about creativity and creative problem-solving. With that being said, I do not think I will lose interest as this field is constantly evolving and changing. This will give me plenty of opportunities to build on my skills and learn new tools.
I also like the idea that you can literally work from anywhere.
Are there any resources that have helped you in your journey so far that you would like to recommend?
What have you learnt so far in your journey that you would like to share with us?
One thing I would say is that learning to code has been more challenging than I anticipated. It takes more than just “being good at computers,” however, it is worth it.
I will say that you have to be patient while learning, it’s normal to make mistakes because that is how you learn.
What was the best educational / professional advice you ever received?
The best career advice I have ever gotten was to take advantage of and opportunity that your employer throws your way.
For one, if your employer is asking you to take on a task that you typically wouldn’t be doing, it is because they either see your capabilities, your worth, or they are testing you. Either way, never back down from a challenge. It helps you to grow and develop skills you didn’t even know you had.
What advice do you have for younger ladies desiring to pursue a career in technology?
Don’t be intimidated!
This field is a male-dominated field and can feel intimidating, however, there’s no reason for you not to pursue your passions. Listen, I am a firm believer in “anything a man can do, I can do better,” honestly! Never doubt yourself or your knowledge, it’s time we as women recognise our worth.
Any other comments?
I just want to add that I that I think it is so awesome to see so many women either actively pursuing careers in tech, or are already working in the field. Through Instagram I have been virtually introduced to so many women who are doing the damn thing, and I must say, it is so motivating; it lets me know that I am not alone and I got this! I am excited to embark on this journey, and I hope to one day inspire other women out there the way I have truly been inspired.
I would like to send a massive thanks to Esiena for taking the time out to answer the questions above. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about your story and hats off for the bold step you have taken to make a career switch. Once again, this was an interview filled with many gems and I hope that many of us can resonate with everything you've said. I will definitely be taking the career advice of "Taking every opportunity your employer throws your way". We might tend to have a mindset of "that is not par of my role", but like you say - it will help us to grow skills that we never knew we needed, especially in the tech world
You can follow Esiena on Instagram to keep her in check on here tech journey!
Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on this post and share with your contacts! Do not hesitate to contact us if you are interested in sharing your story.