How Abdulhakeem contracts for international startups and companies.

08 || November || 2023

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#Issue 47

Abdulhakeem Olasupo’s
product design journey

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Greetings ET readers 👋🏾

Before we dig into today’s edition, here’s your reminder to watch some Entering Tech shorts today. 

Today’s edition explores how you can become a brand strategist. This edition features Ayomide Ajayi, a marketing and communications manager at Dojah who shares some critical lessons in one minute. Watch it here.

by Timi Odueso

Tech trivia questions

Some trivia before we begin. Answers are at the bottom of this newsletter. 

  1. What was the first commercially available laptop?
  2. When was the first smartwatch released?

A product design expert at 21

If you’re looking for a story that’ll inspire you to perspire, here’s one for you. Abdulhakeem Olasupo‘s journey in the tech industry is an intriguing case study of a young professional product designer finding his footing amidst the ever-evolving world of technology. At just 21, his accomplishments are indeed noteworthy. 

Abdulhakeem Olasupo

He’s been a consultant at several international companies like Swarm, Spottr, and Brain Trust. He’s also co-founding a startup, Studio Duo, where he and a team of designers and builders are empowering startups to design and build faster with Nocode.

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How Abdulhakeem did it

Abdulhakeem’s path hasn’t been so straightforward though; his path is fraught with critical decisions that have shaped his career.

UI Designer (Intern), Apr 2017 – Aug 2017
UI and Graphic Designer, Tribesquare Aug 2018 – Apr 2019
Co-founder and Creative Director, Digital Graphic Hub Sep 2019 – May 2020
Figma Specialist (Contract), Spottr Jun 2021 – Sep 2021
Founding Product Designer, Stealth Startup Jan 2022 – Aug 2022
Product Design & No-code Consultant, Swarm Mar 2022 – Present
Senior Product Designer, Braintrust Apr 2022 – Present
Founder, Studio Duo Apr 2023 – Present

Hailing from Ilorin, Nigeria, Abdulhakeem’s initial foray into tech was in graphic design, sparked by an opportunity presented by his brother’s company at the age of 14. What began as a curious experiment soon turned into a full-fledged journey into the world of design. However, his early transition from graphic design to product design is a calculated move to adapt to the trends and opportunities in the tech world.

The Kwarabuild community, a tech-focused network based in Nigeria, played a crucial role in this trajectory. In 2018, he attended a coding event organized by the community, seeking to expand his horizons. While he might not have fully grasped the implications at the time, the connections he built within Kwarabuild proved invaluable. It underlines the significance of networking and support systems in the tech industry, where collaborations and partnerships can determine one’s success.

What distinguishes Abdulhakeem’s journey is his relentless pursuit of self-improvement. Faced with limited access to formal tech education, he turned to online platforms, such as YouTube and Udemy, for his education. 

As he ventured further into the realm of product design, Abdulhakeem started accepting freelance projects, gaining recognition beyond Nigeria’s borders. 

Today, Abdulhakeem Olasupo stands as a 21-year-old techie with a global presence. Yet, his journey is a stark reminder of the daunting challenges that persist in the tech industry, irrespective of one’s age. While youth can be an advantage, it can also be a double-edged sword. The pressure to prove oneself in a field that traditionally values experience can be immense.

How you can do it too

Abdulhakeem’s young age doesn’t define him; it’s his pragmatism that sets him apart. In our interview, he shared five critical pieces of advice for young techies everywhere:

Image source: Zikoko Memes
  • “Know thyself”: The first and foremost advice Abdulhakeem offers is to understand one’s own skills and aptitudes. Before delving into the vast expanse of the tech world, take time for self-reflection. Recognise what you are genuinely passionate about and what skills come naturally to you. Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses is the first step towards a successful tech journey.

  • Leverage online resources: Abdulhakeem’s journey highlights the power of online learning. Access to online platforms such as YouTube and Udemy can provide you with valuable knowledge and skills. These platforms are a treasure trove of information, often more up-to-date than traditional educational institutions.

  • Build your personal brand: “Carving out your unique identity in the tech world is crucial,” Abdulhakeem says. “Share your work online, write articles, create portfolios, and showcase your skills. A strong online presence not only helps you get noticed but also enhances your credibility in the tech community.”

  • Embrace networking: Networking is more than just a buzzword; it’s a lifeline in the tech industry. Join tech-focused communities, attend events, and connect with fellow enthusiasts. Abdulhakeem’s own journey was significantly shaped by the Kwarabuild community, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and partnership.

  • Seek mentorship: Abdulhakeem’s experience with mentorship underscores its value. One of his mentors, Victor Fatanmi of Fourth Canvas, has been indispensable to his growth. Find mentors who have already travelled the path you’re embarking on. They can provide guidance, support, and insider knowledge that formal education may lack.

Abdulhakeem Olasupo’s journey is a testament to the complexities of the tech industry. It’s a story of passion, resilience, and a willingness to confront the challenges head-on. As the tech landscape continues to evolve, we hope his experiences provide valuable insights for every young tech enthusiast.

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Calling all innovators to the Payaza Hackathon 2.0. Payaza is searching for game-changing solutions, innovative technologies, and inventive concepts that can leave a mark on the world. Brainstorm ideas, and make a submission. Visit our website to learn more.

You can be a product designer too

Check out some of these resources that can upskill you into a kickass product designer.

Product Design (UI/UX) by The Moringa School
  • Price: Ksh 142,500 ($1,180)
  • Duration: 16 weeks
  • Tools Needed: Internet + laptop
  • Level: Beginner
Get Course
Product Design by Utiva
  • Price: ₦55,000 ($126)
  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Tools Needed: Internet + laptop
  • Level: Beginner and Intermediate
Get Course
Product Design by AltSchool
  • Price: $290
  • Duration: 1 year (diploma)
  • Tools Needed: Internet + laptop
  • Level: Beginner
Get Course
Google UX Design Professional Certificate on Coursera
  • Price: $49/Month
  • Duration: 6 months
  • Tools Needed: Internet + laptop
  • Level: Beginner
Get Course
Learn Design by Figma
  • Price: Free
  • Duration: 1 week
  • Tools Needed: Internet + laptop
  • Level: Beginner
Get Course

Ask a techie

Q. How do I find software developers who are ready for partnerships on startup projects within Africa?

Post about it, literally. There are a lot of software developers across Africa who are open to collaborating. Leveraging social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can significantly expand your reach. Share your project details and reach out to critical stakeholders too. If the software developers find value—yes this includes lining people’s pockets—they’ll come to you. It’s also critical that you keep an open mind when you’re searching for these developers; be open to working with mid-and-junior level developers who are skilled and eager to contribute. It’s way harder, and more expensive, to land senior software devs for partnerships. 

You should also reach out to tech hubs like Kwarabuild, and Data Community Africa to see if their members are interested in working with you. Hope this helps.

That’s all we can take this week. Have any questions about working in tech? Ask away and we’ll find answers for you.👇🏾

Ask a question

Tech trivia answers

  1. The first commercially available laptop was the Osborne 1, which was released in 1981. It weighed over 23 pounds and cost $1,795, which is equivalent to over $5,000 in today’s dollars.

  2. That would be the Seiko Model Data 2000, which was released in 1982. It was a simple device that could only display text and numbers.


  • Applications for the New Venture Competition by the HBS African Business Club is now open. The competition is aimed at fostering and supporting innovative businesses on the African continent. Ten semi-finalists will be invited to pitch their business in front of over 1,000 attendees at the conference, and the three top companies will receive non-dilutive cash prizes of $30,000, $15,000, and $10,000. Apply by November 15.

  • The citizens of Commonwealth countries in Africa can now apply for the Commonwealth Africa Cyber Fellowship Programme 2024. Selected experts will serve as fellows for a year, and get exclusive access to academic research opportunities, networking events and annual conferences, with a focus on enhancing cybersecurity policies and institutions across Commonwealth countries in Africa. Apply by December 10.

  • Applications are open for the Mastercard Foundations Scholars Program 2023/2024 at the Carnegie Melon University Africa. The program provides generous financial, social, and academic support for students whose talents and promise exceed their financial resources. Apply by January 15, 2024.

  • Applications are open for the Aurora Tech Award 2024. The Award is an annual global prize for women founders of tech startups. Winners of the first prize get $30,000, the second prize gets $20,000 and the third prize gets $10,000. Apply by December 1.


There are more jobs on TechCabal’s job board. If you have job opportunities to share, please submit them at

Disclaimer: TechCabal is not affiliated with or associated with jobs and opportunities listed on all its job boards and newsletters. All applicants bear the responsibility of researching about the roles and companies they apply to.

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