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We asked our audience to share their stories and journeys in tech with us, and the first story we got was from an inspiring young woman who’s making her way into the design space, so far removed from her discipline of Law. She tells us about her love for everything design and what the future looks like for her in this journey.
1. Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Rae. I’m 24 years old and I graduated from Afe Babalola University with a degree in law in 2019. I currently work as a paralegal at the Ministry of Justice and I am a self-taught designer.
2. Why was it important for you to transition from law into tech?
I’ve always loved design; whether fashion, interior, or graphic design. In uni, I used to make fliers friends for their events, businesses, and more for free. Then I started designing logos for my businesses and one day in 2017, someone asked me to design a logo for her bag brand and I think I charged her N10,000 or so. That was the first time I had taken money for designing something. I had zero experience in branding and I was scared that I’d mess up but thankfully, I was able to come up with a design she loved, I was so proud of myself when I saw the final results. The logo is still being used today. Coming out of uni, I wasn’t certain I wanted to practice law, so while waiting for admission to the Nigerian Law School, I decided to focus a little bit more on design and in 2021 after failing a course in my bar finals, I decided that I would build a career in tech, alongside my law career, when I eventually get called to bar.
3. What career in tech are you specialising in?
Design; graphic, product, brand, and UI/UX.
4. How has the transition been so far? Any obstacles? Wins, failures?
It’s been fun, really. And very insightful. I’ve learned so much over the last 6 months about my personal skills and strengths and I know for a fact that I have the potential to be an awesome designer. The one obstacle (or two!) that I currently face is imposter syndrome and the fact that no one wants to hire junior designers; everyone wants a professional with “thirteen years experience” and it’s frustrating because I work best in a defined, controlled environment. However, I am taking the freelance route now. I gotta eat.
5. What would success in tech look like for you?
Overseeing the design of a major product and brand; from the conceptualisation stage till the final launch phase. And also, I want to have a design firm in the near future. It’s already in the works, but I can’t wait to have an elite team of designers. And yes, I’ll be hiring people with zero experience, ready to learn on the job and gain experience.
6. What have you learned in your short time navigating the industry?
You don’t need to know how to code to be in tech. There are so many non-technical roles, especially for people like me who have no interest in the engineering track of tech. Also, copywriting is a very important soft skill for a designer, because more often than not, when designing, you may have to come up with taglines, subtexts, etc. that don’t sound corny and off-topic on the spot. It’s a lot of brainwork but I really enjoy it.
7. Is there anything you know now you wish someone had told you from the beginning?
Honestly, I wish I studied design at university. I feel like I’d be more accomplished, but hey, it’s never too late.
You can find Rae on Twitter @raetheelefty, and on Instagram as @raethelefty.
If you’re a woman in tech and would love to share a story, opinion piece, or anything at all with us, shoot us an email at [email protected]! We’d love to hear from you.