| March 25, 2022

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My name is Hannah Olaniyi, from Osun State, Nigeria. I'm from a family of 6 and the second of four children. I am currently a 300-level student at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, studying Education and Biology and a Product Designer.

I have not always wanted to do Product Design. When I was in 100 level, I decided I wanted to do more than just school work. Acting on this decision, I started looking to start a career in digital marketing. I took some courses to help me achieve this. From then, I decided to focus on the social media management part. As a social media manager, I worked with many designs. I experienced a bit of restraint when I had to wait for them, so I decided to learn how to create simple social media designs using Canva.

After learning how to design on Canva, I stumbled on UX design, which interested me. I started to read more on the influence of design in decision making, design thinking, and how design can make human lives better. That was when I decided I wanted to be a product designer, so I could design products that are usable valuable, and makes human lives better.

It was at this point I learned about the Women Techsters Fellowship. While I was looking for opportunities to start my career in tech, someone shared the opportunity in a community I was in. I was excited at the opportunity because it seemed like Women Techsters was offering so much for free. It made me curious, so I tried it out, and I am glad I did.

I participated in the women Techsters fellowship product design track and graduated as part of the class of 2022. It was a great learning experience for me. It was such a stretch because it was intensive, but I'm better for it. We were taught everything we needed to start our careers as product designers, by the best facilitators ever.

A while after our training, Omolola Shopeju, Alumni Community Manager, Tech4Dev, reached out to me and others to participate in the Microsoft Hackathon. Initially, when she mentioned it, I was so anxious and considered ghosting. But she reassured us that through the Women Techsters Initiative, we had been equipped with the training we needed to win the Hackathon. That boosted my confidence, and I decided to give it my all, which I did.

This was true as, a year ago, before women Techsters, I would never have considered applying for a hackathon, let alone one organized by Microsoft, because I didn't have the necessary skill set. But the case is different now. Not only did I go ahead to participate in the Microsoft Hackathon, but my team also won the competition.

Participating in a Microsoft Hackathon, and winning is a dream come true. The experience was one I do not think I'll forget in a long time. We were to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) from scratch in less than 72 hours, and it was so much pressure because I had never participated in a hackathon.

had to put in the amount of energy I had never invested in any design project into it and made so many sacrifices to be able to meet up with the deadline, as I was the only product designer on my team. Having great teammates also helped a lot. I got frustrated at some point, we had internal issues and all, but we pulled through. And I can say I'm glad I participated in it.

It can be quite a struggle initially for those looking at starting a career in tech, but by being deliberate and intentional, you'll realize that the life you dream of is achievable. Your dreams are very valid. There are a lot of opportunities out there to support women who are starting their careers in tech; the women's Techsters fellowship is a great example. Start now, network, and belong to communities of other amazing women who build their tech careers, do good work, and be proud of themselves. I'm rooting for you, and I believe in your abilities, my fellow woman in tech.

The Women Techsters Fellowship changed my life in so many ways. I would recommend this opportunity a million times if I had the chance. Almost all the women I know have applied for the fellowship because they can see how it changed my life.