YOUNG women and girls can help to increase diversity in the tech industry by bringing a different perspective and skillset to the table.

This is the message that Audrey Chanakira, a youthful iOS developer for Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR & VR) mobile apps at Green Enterprise Solutions took to a Namibia University of Science and Technology event that focused on “Women’s Role in Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)” as a guest speaker on 6 march, 2023.

Chanakira is passionate about technology that positively impacts communities and says young girls can help promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the tech industry, and they can also help to ensure that the benefits of the 4IR are shared by all.

Green Enterprise Solutions has fostered a culture that values diversity and inclusion. The ICT company has been providing opportunities for career growth and development and stimulating a culture of respect and collaboration.

Chanakira is the lead iOS developer for AR & VR Mobile Apps, a role that made her a perfect fit to share her experiences as a woman in a male-dominated tech industry and how she has overcome challenges to succeed and to choose a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

The event was held at NUST’s Inceit-Informatics Labs, the audience of mostly high school pupils were informed of the opportunities and future career prospects in STEM-related fields.

“Overall, the event was enlightening and inspirational. Pursuing a career in technology is a fulfilling and rewarding path for anyone and girls should claim their space and take up positions in the tech sector.

“By focusing on their passion, building a supportive network, and continually learning and growing, they can achieve great things in the field and make a meaningful impact on society,” said Chanakira who has been working for Green Solutions for the past five years.

She focussed on navigating career paths in a rapidly evolving technological landscape offering practical advice for women seeking to build fulfilling careers in technology and innovation.

“Define your long-term and short-term goals and identify the skills and experience you need to achieve them.

“Take an inventory of your current skills and experience and identify areas for improvement or development,” she said as she explained a five-step career development plan.

Chanakira advised her audience to connect with other professionals in the field or industry and build relationships that can help advance careers.

“The fourth step of the plan is to look for opportunities to gain new experiences, take on new challenges and develop new skills and then develop a plan for how you will continue to grow and develop in your career, including identifying relevant training, education or certification programmes and setting timelines and goals for achieving them,” said the mobile App developer specialising in apps for iPhones.

“I have interest in Augmented and Virtual Reality as well and those are the technologies, I am adding to my Mobile app developer experience.

“I am a team lead for the Green Solutions iOS Development team and my duties and responsibilities include developing iOS mobile applications (code maintenance, debugging, design, implement, deploy, publish on AppStore); development of languages include Swift, Kotlin and Dart and development of environments including XCode and Android Studio,” she said.

Chanakira advised girls interested in taking up tech-based careers to believe in themselves.

“It’s essential to have confidence in your abilities and believe that you can succeed in a tech career. Don’t let stereotypes or societal expectations hold you back,” she advised adding that girls should get the right mentors.

“Find mentors who can guide you through the process of navigating your career in technology. Seek out individuals who have already achieved what you aspire to and can offer you valuable insights and advice,” she said.

“Learn as much as you can. Continuously invest in learning and developing your skills. Stay up to date with emerging technologies, attend industry events, and pursue certifications or specialized training programmes,” said Chanakira who holds an Honours degree in IT and is currently studying for her Masters at the University of Namibia in Windhoek.

As someone who believes in sharing knowledge, she co-founded the Zim Developers Community, a tech community that seek to empower developers in Zimbabwe and spread to the region.

This is a community-based organization whose vision is to create the best developers.

“When we started there were only 10 members but we now have about 500 members in Zimbabwe. The creation of this community was done to improve local communities through the use of innovative technological ideas. In addition, the community seeks to also improve the quality of local developers for them to be competent at an international level.

“Our mission is to be the central hub of innovation in Africa that produces developers that will actively make a difference within their communities through their technical skills and innovative ideas,” she said.