In-house developer for a construction company by day and an applications developer by night, Zainab is the creator of NaijaXpress, an RSS aggregator for Nigerian content. In our chat with her, she talks about how she started coding, what languages she loves and why you shouldn’t listen to advic…well, sometimes.

Please give a brief description of yourself:
I really like interesting and analytic conversations. I can talk for hours given the right topic. I live in Lagos and I’m presently fighting my transformation into a Lagosian. I am very passionate about Nigeria, though it’s hard not to get desensitized with all the constant crazy. I can get really mean when I’m really busy; I hate distractions.

What are your code proficiencies/languages/superpowers?
I can handle .NET and WinRT technologies (C#,VB, ASP) quite well. I can find my way around PHP. I however absolutely think in Java. My mind is totally Object Oriented. Recently, I’ve been trying to see things in a more functional kind of way via Python.

How and why did you start coding?
I went to a computer school right after secondary school. I loved it so much I decided that whatever career path I took had to be in the computer world. So I dumped my original course, accounting, opted for a computer course in school and here I am.

My first experience with code was with evil C , in my first semester, first project in school. I would go from 2 errors to 1,000 errors in seconds. It was a terrible experience but I loved challenges (I pick my battles more carefully now), so I made it my mission to break it. I kept at it till I found Java. The rest is history.

What have you done (projects/places you’ve worked)?
I have done and own NaijaXpress. Every other thing I’ve done is owned by clients. And clients make you sign NDAs and stuff 🙁

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a learn series project.

What kind of projects would you like to tackle in future?
Crowdsourcing. Augmented reality. Building apps for something really cool, like Google Glass.

Random fact about you.
I’ve never read Things Fall Apart.

Any last words?
I dumped the very first app I built mid-way because someone I perceived as much more experienced and ahead of me tech career wise told me no one would use it and to stop wasting my time. Fast forward three years later, the same kind of app gets over ten million downloads monthly. Mine may not have grown to be as big a hit but that’s not the point. The point is to never take anybody’s advice as gospel. Don’t make big decisions based on someone else’s opinion or experience. No doubt you might gain some insight and perspective discussing with some people, but ultimately, base your decisions as much as possible on measurable reality.

Don’t stop pursuing a vision simply because someone else couldn’t see it.

You can connect with Zainab on Twitter – @baniyaz

Zainab is the third techie in the girls who code series this week. Previously, we’ve interviewed Bukola Akinfaderin and Uyoyo Edosio, be sure to read their stories too.

Tolu Agunbiade Author

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