From teen to tech maven: 19-year-old Helen Okereke is redefining possibilities for young African women

Omoleye Omoruyi
From teen to tech maven: 19-year-old Helen Okereke is redefining possibilities for young African women
Helen Okereke

In today’s world, the field of software engineering is rapidly growing, with new technologies and innovations emerging every day. One young woman who is determined to make her mark in this field is 19-year-old software engineer, Helen Okereke, who has set her sights on doing amazing things.

Helen Okereke’s journey began in March 2020 when she became fascinated by technology and computers while still in secondary school.

I loved computers and wanted to build smart stuff with computers,” she says.

After secondary school, Helen enrolled with Aptech, a computer education and IT training institute, where she studied software engineering. She began to explore the world of coding and programming and quickly realised that this was the career she wanted to pursue. “It was my first path,” she adds, saying Robotics is her end goal.

A bit about Robotics

The field of robotics is a captivating and rapidly advancing area that combines various disciplines, including computer science, engineering, and artificial intelligence. Robotics involves the design, development, and operation of robots that can perform tasks autonomously or with human guidance.

Over the years, robotics has evolved from simple, mechanised machines to highly sophisticated and intelligent systems capable of complex interactions with the world around them. Robots can be found in various industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, space exploration, and even in our everyday lives.

One of the key advancements in robotics is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI). By combining AI algorithms with robotics, engineers have enabled robots to adapt and learn from their environment, make decisions, and perform tasks with increased efficiency and autonomy. This has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for robots to interact with humans and their surroundings in more intuitive and intelligent ways.

Read also: Stella Ladegbaye; the 19-year-old developer that chose coding over cooking

Robotics plays a significant role in exploring environments that are challenging or inaccessible to humans. Robotic systems have been deployed in space exploration missions to gather data, conduct experiments, and aid astronauts in their tasks. They can withstand extreme conditions and perform tasks that are too hazardous or distant for humans to undertake directly.

Helen insists that Robotics is her long-term career goal.

Despite facing some challenges along the way, Helen has persevered and continues to pursue her passion. She has worked hard to develop her skills, spending countless hours honing her coding and programming abilities, and constantly pushing herself to learn more.

The tech teen says she enjoys using PHP and Java, and her approach to solving programming problems – call them bugs – is simple. For those who allow bugs frustrate them:

We need to understand the problem before we can talk about solving it. I work on understanding my problem and building a prototype of it.”

Helen Okereke
Helen Okereke

Her experience with tech projects includes a project management system she built for managing a company’s employees, tasks and clients. It was a very challenging project because the client didn’t make the project easy for her. It was a case of ‘client wants this, the professional has another idea.’

But she was able to succeed by finding a balance between her ideas and what her client wants. This balance, she says, is necessary so that the client trusts her work and would want to hire her again. “You need to meet their requirements.”

To keep excelling in her chosen field and positioning herself for growth, Helen has to stay up to date with the latest trends and developments in the tech space. For this, Helen says “everything has been made easy. You just need to know frameworks and new technologies that you can use so you don’t waste time on one project.”

Not content to rest on her laurels, Helen Okereke is constantly pushing herself to do even more, to develop even more innovative software solutions and to make an even bigger impact on the world around her.

She is an inspiration to young women everywhere, showing that with hard work and determination, it is possible to achieve great things in even the most challenging fields. As she continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in software engineering, there is no doubt that this young woman will continue to do amazing things and make a real difference in the world.

Words on Marble for tech teens from Helen Okereke

The first thing they need to understand is: ‘do they really have the passion to do this?’

Helen Okereke

She insists that it is the passion that drives anyone, and keeps the person going. Once that is established, she says people need to find the right path. After all, there are numerous sub-fields in every field.

If you are someone that likes dealing with data, you have to go to data analysis.”

Helen also tasks people to ask themselves what is driving them to play in the tech space. “Is it the money?” She cites an instance of people thinking that developers are making a lot of money.

Let money not be your first drive to enter this space.

The software engineer also talks about networking – meeting others in the tech space, so you don’t get tired when problems – bugs – arise. This is pertinent for every career path you choose.

Watch the full interview here:

YouTube player

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!

Register for Technext Coinference 2023, the Largest blockchain and DeFi Gathering in Africa.

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!