Ada Nduka Oyom: A Force and Light

A Feature Article in Honour of She Code Africa’s Founder’s Birthday

Ada Nduka Oyom, also known as Kolokodess, is a model for many, especially ladies in the tech industry. She’s mostly known and often applauded for her efforts to bring more ladies into tech and bridge the gender gap. If you have met her at any tech event, you probably saw her surrounded by her “girls in tech” and smiling through it.

Kolokodess, as she explains, means a lady software developer, tech junkie, pro-girl-child education, and a women-in-tech enthusiast. This is no surprise, as it accurately describes who she is and what she does, right? As a wearer of many hats, you’ll mostly see her involved in different tech aspects or her baby girl lifestyle (if you know, you know). This piece is a dive into who Kolokodess is, her background, experience, and engagements — juicy and exciting details you probably didn’t know about her.

Ada Nduka Oyom at OSCAFEST 2022
Ada “minister of enjoyment” Oyom

Early Life

Ada Nduka Oyom grew up in the suburban part of Lagos. She is the second child in the family and the only daughter of her parents. Her dad always got daily newspapers, and Ada always found herself engaged in reading or listening to the news through the radio. From a very tender age, she knew what it meant to be organised and responsible.

Educational Background

Ada studied Microbiology at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In her second year, she found out about developer communities and joined two Developer communities at school — Google Developer Student Clubs (GDSC) and Google Developer Groups (GDG).

Throughout the rest of her year in school, she grew from being a member to one of the leaders in the community. Apart from conventional education, Ada has taken various online courses and obtained a number of certifications.

Corporate and Volunteer Engagements

Ada has had what you’d likely refer to as an interesting ride, moving from FindWorka to Interswitch and then Google where she currently is and actively volunteering in SCA, OSCA, and DevRel Lite. Let’s talk about what she does in these different spaces.

Google

Ada is currently a Developer Relations Ecosystem Community Manager at Google. Since 2019, she has worked consistently to maintain and improve the experiences by coordinating and overseeing some of the Google Developer outreach or support programs like Google Developer Groups (GDGs) and Google Women Techmakers (WTM) initiative in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.

If you’re a GDG lead or involved in WTM, you most probably would have engaged with her at one point or the other, as she works hand-in-hand with you to ensure your events are successful.

She Code Africa

One month after completing her university education, Ada took a huge step — starting She Code Africa. Stemming from her displeasure at the injustice women face in the tech industry [going unrecognised or not having equal opportunities as their male counterparts], she started by spotlighting some of her female friends who were doing amazing and posting the interviews on social media.

This initiative later expanded, weathering several storms to eventually become the She Code Africa we now know: a community steadily educating, empowering, and encouraging women in tech. Now a large space consisting of over sixteen thousand (16,000) women, with several volunteers, the idea Ada had has become an unstoppable wave on the continent and globally recognized.

DevRel Lite

Who is in a better position to teach about a concept than someone who’s been involved in it for about seven (7) years? Ada started DevRel Lite to guide newbies in the Developer Relations space and help enthusiasts clearly understand what it means. She uses this space to spread the word about Developer Relations using tweets, Twitter spaces, or blog posts.

Open-Source Community Africa

Aiming to spread the gospel of Open Source and engender the interest and participation of Africans in Open Source, Ada co-founded Open Source Community Africa [OSCA] with Samson Goddy.

With chapters spread across the continent, we can as well say that the goal is being achieved, as there are consistent events and programs to enlighten people about Open Source.

Awards & Recognitions

  • 10 Most Inspiring Nigerian Women in Tech by Tecknext — 2022
  • 100 Most Inspiring Women by Leading Ladies Africa — 2022
  • Most Authentic Dev Advocate by Hackermoon — 2022
  • Rising Stars List (Women in Tech) by FirstCheck HQ — 2022
  • Award of Honour for Contribution to the Empowerment of Women and Girls by The Entrepreneurs Consult (TEC) — 2022
  • YNaija Tech 100 Corporate Players — 2021
  • 30 Fast-Rising Women in Technology by Utiva — 2021
  • Winner, Role Model Category, Booking.com Tech Playmaker Awards — 2020
  • YTech 100 honourees, Future Awards Africa — 2019
  • Top 50 TechWomen of Lagos by TechCabal — 2019

What People Are Saying About Her

  • “Ada is both a friend and mentor. She has inspired me to be better in my career and personal life. My admiration goes for how she has led her team to establish one of the most effective NGOs for African women in technology. She is a person of humility and upbeat nature that goes far beyond her years. Her commitment to developing her career while educating others is an admirable trait. With Ada, there’s always something new to learn.” — Ruth Ikegah
  • “Ada is an amazing friend and community leader. She has a kind heart and tries to help as many people as she can. Ada has impacted the lives of so many people across the world including myself. She continues to inspire me and remind me that indeed, women can do anything.” — Edidiong Asikpo
  • “My relationship with Ada is one I value passionately. She has helped me grow professionally. She is constantly a model to many young girls out there. Ada is a rockstar.” — Omotola Eunice Omotayo
  • “Ada is a sister, friend, mentor and role model to me. I look up to Ada in so many ways and working with her has been one of the best decisions I ever made. She pushes me to deliver and she inspires me to always strive to be a better version of myself.” — Zainab Daodu
  • “I call Ada ‘Boss’😁😁. She’s actually my boss and colleague at SCA. Ada is a visionary with the gift of bringing different people together to achieve common goals. She’s very caring and she always wanna know how you are faring, always ready to give advice if you need any. Ada is loaded with lots of ideas 😅😁, you just have to keep up. She respects your personal space and over the years I’ve seen her relationship with people based on their temperament/personality which shows how accommodating she is. I admire how she’s been able to create a niche for herself in the tech industry, and how she’s been able to keep her ‘stuff’ going and in order. Not everyone can do that.” — Temilola Kutelu
  • “Ada is my Lead at SCA, who turned out to be an amazing person to work with and a friend. Ada Insists on me getting it and she pushes me for more. Ada doesn’t joke about her work; work is work for Ada. One great thing about her is she is willing to put you through if you do not understand a task given”- Elizabeth Okaome

Conclusion

This piece was written in celebration of Ada’s birthday, someone who reminds us daily to not only talk about what we love and are passionate about but also go after it and go hard. She constantly teaches us how it’s done and what it means to show up and choose to do the work daily.

If you know Ada or have been impacted by one or more of her works, share a birthday wish for her on Twitter, Instagram, or the She Code Africa Slack Channel. You can also pen down words about Ada in the comments.

Happy birthday, Ada! You’re indeed a queen, in words, actions, and beauty of course. Keep showing us how it’s done; we see you and we love you!

This piece was co-authored by Olamide 'Pearl' Makinde, Ekemini Okpongkpong, and Omotola Eunice OMOTAYO.

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We celebrate and empower women in Technology across Africa by telling their stories, empowering them through technical programs & activities while also helping them share their knowledge and ideas through articles.

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Olamide 'Pearl' Makinde

Olamide 'Pearl' Makinde

I kinda just like to rant here + I write tech stuff sometimes. I love hearing my readers’ thoughts; we can have a convo in the comment section, twitter, or IG.