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15 || November || 2023

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#Issue 48

How Olukunle Aboderin went
from DJ-ing to data

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by Timi Odueso

Tech trivia questions

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

  1. How many emails are sent out daily?
  2. How long would it take to download all the data on the internet?

Ten years of fintechs and banks

What do you do with a physics degree and a love for math? 

If your answer is, like ours originally was, teaching, then you’re not as imaginative as you need to be. Olukunle Aboderin is though. 

The physicist and number cruncher describes himself as a data scientist who has spent the past 13 years working with the largest banks and fintechs across Africa.

Olukunle Aboderin

The physicist and number cruncher describes himself as a data scientist who has spent the past 13 years working with the largest banks and fintechs across Africa.

Olukunle might have started with a Bachelor’s Degree in physics from the Osun State University, but the tech bro now has two Master’s degrees—which he mentions he got voluntarily 😯—in risk management and data analytics, and 16 different licences. 🤯

Now, he’s the assistant vice president (AVP), Financial Operations and Treasury at Flutterwave, one of Africa’s unicorns. 

Wondering how Olukunle built his love for math and physics into an illustrious tech career? Let’s find out. 👇🏾

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How Olukunle built it

Akin to many tech enthusiasts, Olukunle’s foray into the tech realm didn’t just happen. Armed with a background in physics, his knack for problem-solving found its niche in the intricate world of tech. “Physics prepared me for the complexities of algebra in the business world,” he explained, underlining the importance of a solid analytical foundation.

Transaction Monitoring, eTranzact International PLC 2010 – 2014
Card Operations Manager, First City Monument Bank 2014 – 2016
Lead Settlement & Reconcilliation, First City Monument Bank 2015 – 2018
Internal Control & Audits, First Bank Nigeria 2018 – 2019
Senior Risk, Portfolio Manager, Renmoney 2019 – 2020
AVP, Financial Operations & Treasury, Flutterwave Mar 2020 – Present

But before he was even a tech bro, he was a disc jockey—a DJ—who hosted radio shows and was infamous during his undergraduate days at Osun State University. At the time, Olukunle worked with artists like M.I. and Blaqbonez but with great rhythmic power came great responsibilities that could only be settled by a stable means of income. And so, during his service corps year, he entered tech and finance with a role at eTranzact.

Olukunle’s technical acumen was honed over the years, blending mathematical prowess with hands-on experience. For him, like any one who entered tech in the early 2010s, learning data wasn’t as streamlined as it today. There were no boot camps or courses, all they had was YouTube and stronghead. “It’s about having that groundwork to understand complex tech solutions,” he said. And because he already loved math, data science was easier to understand. 

“I have a big flair for problem solving, and because I had a background in math and physics, I would say it made it ten times easier to understand financial systems I was learning about.”

Olukunle painted a vivid picture of how the tech scene in Africa has drastically changed over the past decade. He pointed out how nowadays there are way more ways to learn tech stuff, like online platforms and mentorship programmes, making it much easier for new folks to dive into the tech world.

When it comes to getting into tech, Olukunle talked about the balance between getting certified and getting hands-on experience. He said certifications are cool and can boost your resume, but real skills come from actually doing the stuff, not just acing exams. “You have to know your stuff,

And because Olukunle knows his stuff, the data scientist is helping other people know their own stuff too. He’s the co-founder of the Business Artificial Intelligence (BAI) Incubator

The BAI Incubator is a technology business accelerator and a global talent community that provides a platform for AI-related professionals to converge, get access to mentorship, network and grow.  It’s like a supportive hub where budding entrepreneurs get guidance, support, and connections to transform their early-stage projects into viable businesses.

Olukunle says there are no application forms for BAI just yet, but if you’re interested in learning from him and other experts, reach out to him on LinkedIn and tell him #EnteringTech sent you 😉. 

How you can do it too

We learnt a lot from Olukunle in our conversation—especially the fact that math can mean the difference between understanding data science and being stuck on SQL or Python. Here are the top five things he highlighted that we’d like to take away: 

Image source: Zikoko Memes
  1. The importance of soft skills: Olukunle emphasises the significance of soft skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. These are crucial alongside technical abilities to succeed in the tech industry. It’s like they say: hard skills might get you in the door, but soft skills get you promoted.
  1. Mentorship value: Mentorship plays a pivotal role in guiding and supporting aspiring individuals, providing them with exposure and opportunities they might not otherwise encounter.
  1. Focus on quality over quantity: Olukunle stresses the importance of prioritising accuracy and quality over speed or quantity in project delivery. Over-delivering quality work stands out in the long run. 
  1. Individualised Success Metrics: Defining personal success metrics is crucial. Comparing yourself to others on social media platforms can create unnecessary pressure—especially when you realise many fine photos are thanks to ring lights. But having a personal blueprint of success can help you maintain focus. What’s critical to you? What does success look like?
  1. Promising tech fields: According to Olukunle, promising areas in tech include data analytics and payment systems, especially in regions like Africa where these domains are still in their infancy, presenting numerous untapped opportunities. It’s not just enough to enter tech, make sure you’re entering a domain that’s promising. 

Olukunle’s journey is a testament to the fusion of technical prowess, continuous learning, and adept communication—a blend essential for thriving in the fast-paced world of tech. His insights offer a guiding beacon for young aspirants seeking to carve their paths in the ever-evolving landscape of technology.

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.

Apply for the Utiva Scholarship

Exciting news for tech enthusiasts.

It’s been a month since we gathered the most audacious players in Africa’s tech ecosystem to celebrate innovation on the continent for Moonshot by TechCabal. Moonshot is a gift that keeps giving so if you attended the conference, there is still a chance for you to be a lucky winner of the Utiva tech scholarship worth ₦200,000 each.

All you have to do is share a picture of you at the conference, tell us why you need the scholarship, tag us, and use #UtivaScholarship and #MoonshotbyTechcabal. Do not miss this opportunity to enter tech.

You can be a data professional too

Check out some of these resources that can upskill you into a kickass data professional.

Introduction to Data Analysis on Udacity
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Data Science for Everyone by DataCamp
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Google Data Analytics Course on Coursera
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IBM Data Science Professional Course on EdX
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Data Science by Moringa School
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Tech trivia answers

  1. There are 347.3 billion emails sent out every day as of 2023.

  2. If you were to download the entire web, it would take approximately 11 trillion years.


  • 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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