Ivy Barley is a social entrepreneur and currently shaping a world where more African women will be daring enough to lead in in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields.

She is the co-founder of Developers in Vogue, an organization that trains females in the latest technologies and connects them to real-time projects and jobs. In 2017, she was named as one the 50 Most Influential Young Ghanaians.

Ivy is also a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum and holds a Master’s Degree in Mathematical Statistics.


Tell us about yourself

Growing up, I always had a strong aptitude for Mathematics and Technology, and that has pretty much shaped my career path. I recently completed my MPhil. in Mathematical Statistics.

I believe that I have the potential to make a significant impact in Africa, and this is enough motivation for my work at Developers in Vogue. Aside from being a selfie freak, I enjoy hanging out with my best friend (my phone).

How did Dev in Vogue start?

About a year ago, I was working at an all-girls pre-university where my role included assisting the girls with Mathematics, Statistics, and Physics. I also taught the girls programming.

Before working in this school, I’d been hearing people say that women don’t like coding. However, I realized the contrary!

The girls were very enthusiastic about coding, they also had so many great ideas! My stay in the school was cut short but all the while after that, what never left me were the memories of the girls!

It dawned on me to start a sustainable initiative that will create the ideal environment for females to code, connect and collaborate.

What has been your biggest hurdle so far?

We pretty much didn’t have a lot of challenges getting our business off the ground. We’re glad we had support from interested stakeholders. A hurdle though is trying to create a community.

One of our unique value propositions is that we don’t only match our ladies to jobs, but also creating a community of women who support each other. It definitely requires a lot of time and effort to create such a sisterhood.

Coding and generally technology has so much untapped potential in Africa - Ivy Barley @devinvogue Click To Tweet

Has there ever been a time when you thought of giving up? What kept you going?

I think I have thoughts of giving up very often and I find that normal. I have however learned not to let my feelings dictate. If there is something that has to be done, I definitely need to do it and do it now!

My life is governed by one mantra: Pay Now; Play Later. That is, I would rather sacrifice now so that I can have a better future. Most importantly, I start my day with the word of God and listen to a lot of inspirational podcasts especially from Joel Osteen and Terri Savelle Foy.

 

What is your favorite thing about coding?

I particularly like that with my laptop and internet, I can create powerful software that can transform Africa and the world at large. Coding teaches you critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are very important skills for this era.

I won’t deny that it doesn’t get difficult. When coding, you’d realize the power of a ‘simple’ semi-colon because omitting that can sometimes cause you hours of no sleep.

 

Which season is the toughest for your job? How do you overcome this?

For now, it has been keeping the community engaged. Though it has been fun doing this, it definitely needs more time investment.

I’d like to call myself the cheerleader of the team, inspiring the ladies to dream big and work hard to make them happen.

What however serves as motivation in spite of the challenges are the stories of the impact we are making in the lives of these women.

 

What, in your opinion, is the future of coding especially for girls in Africa?

Coding and generally technology has so much untapped potential in Africa. For females, the future is even brighter. Day in and day out there are so many opportunities that come up to promote women in technology.

Relevant stakeholders are beginning to realize the gender gap in the tech ecosystem and are putting measures in place to bring more women into the room.

 

What advice would you give to any girl in Africa considering coding?

Keep at it, my girl! You need to work hard in order to stay relevant. You need to keep improving your skills.

Though it may get difficult at some points, think about the big picture. Also, make time to network with people in the industry to learn best practices that can make you world-class.

If coding is truly your passion, then you definitely need a lot of diligence and determination. In case you need some support with this, I’ll be glad to offer a helping hand!

Any advice for African women entrepreneurs?

I think one advice I’d always give to people is hard work. Also, have your visions and goals in writing and review them every single day.

As women, there are so many activities that are likely to take our attention from growing our businesses. This is the more reason why we need to stay focused. Let’s do this for Africa!


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