Alumni Highlights – Woman in Tech SuaCode 20 Fellow Feature
As part of our alumni highlights, we reached out to SuaCode’20 fellow and alumna Suzzy Smith Mensah, a woman in the tech space to share her SuaCode journey with us. (The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.)
SuaCode: How did you get into SuaCode? And what was your educational background before then?
Suzzy: I was following one of the Co-Founders of SuaCode on social media, he posted about the SuaCode program, and I signed up and got to know of it. I was then a student at the University of Cape Coast, pursuing my Bachelor’s in Water and Sanitation.
SuaCode: Did you have any previous coding experience and what motivated you to enroll?
Suzzy: It all started during the COVID-19 lockdown in Accra, I was bored at home and still eager to learn, as I did not have anything to do. But before that, I joined other clubs to study machine learning and graphic design. I saw the SuaCode post on learning to code on your phone. And I was like wow! I was very eager and curious to try it out.
SuaCode: How would you describe the experience?
Suzzy: I will say, I like the process SuaCode used. If I recall, we had weekly assignments with instructions to follow, which were provided in the documents. All this depended on the mobile device you were using, as you first have to figure a few things out. How you are to do this, and that, to achieve a result. Though there was a bit of Mathematics involved, it was not extensive, as you had to know your mobile device. But if you follow the instructions you can build what is being asked of you.
SuaCode: What were your initial challenges, if any?
Suzzy: Since I did not have a background in IT, I struggled initially. But following the explanations helped, for example, I did not have experience with datasets and data types. I would read and imagine, I then started practicing. My overall experience was it was challenging and fun. As you build something and get to see it work.
SuaCode: So you’re a Full Stack Developer and work currently as a Graduate Trainee with Developers In Vogue (DiV), did SuaCode give you the springboard or the foundational background?
Suzzy: The foundational background, yes! Because SuaCode taught me data types, so I already had a foundation in that from SuaCode, and Developers in Vogue added on to this knowledge I gained.
SuaCode: Would you recommend the SuaCode program?
Suzzy: Recently, I discussed it with my colleagues when they were in talks for a SuaCode-DiV partnership and module. I told them, that this is a good program, and I was able to build code on my phone. You download the software and do a lot of things on your phone without using your laptop. I was able to build a ping pong on my phone from the software that I downloaded. I will definitely recommend it to other people.
SuaCode: Any comments or add-ons?
Suzzy: I believe more support is needed on the platform, as sometimes you can encounter challenges. We could get more support, as extra help might be needed with questions, etc. I don’t know if extra support has already been provided since it was a while since I finished my cohort.
SuaCode: We have added additional staffing and support for cohort participants to reach out for support, should they run into roadblocks or challenges.
SuaCode: Moving in line with empowering women in tech, do you see SuaCode increasing women in tech with the SuaCode program?
Suzzy: Yes, I think it will, as a phone is used by everyone. Let’s say I can be in traffic on my way to my 9-to-5 job, and use the time in traffic to work on my assignments and take the SuaCode course. On women empowerment, it’s about women who are determined and curious to learn. And I believe it can help push more women into tech, so I do agree that there is space for that, provided the person is determined to learn and pick up the set of skills.
SuaCode: Closing comments
Suzzy: All I want to say is Thank you to SuaCode!
We recently launched a SuaCode-Developers in Vogue (DiV) Module, a partnership to increase the enrollments of females in our cohorts. To symbolically mark this partnership, we interviewed a SuaCode 2020 Alumna and Fellow, Suzzy Smith Mensah, was a Graduate Trainee at DiV as of when she was interviewed. A full circle moment from learning to code with SuaCode to becoming a Full Stack Developer. Suzzy now works as UI/UX designer with Walulel.