For the longest time, the tech world has been a pre-dominantly male industry. But if the situation in Kenya is anything to go by, there is a huge shift taking place. Women are slowly climbing up the tech ladder and taking over. If you look around you, more women are the voice of tech companies. More and more start-ups have their co-founders as women.
The tech world is a competitive world. Even with women taking over, there is stiff competition ot be the best of the best. There are a few women who stand-out form the rest.
Here is a list of the top 10 Kenyan women in tech
1. Judith Owigar
If you’ve heard of Akirachix then you probably already know about Judith Owigar. She is the president of Akirachix; a revolution for African women and technology, a coder, a blogger and a tech enthusiast. She started off as a tech support specialist in a Kenyan company called Turnkey Africa. Turnkey Africa is a start up that provides solutions to insurance companies and banks in Africa. She later moved to the position of developer at a start up called Ibid Labs. There she honed her developer skills. She later moved to Japan Center for Conflict Prevention (JCCP); an organization the deals with peace building in Macedonia, Afghanistan and East Africa.
2. Martha Chumo
In the process of applying for medical school, Martha Chumo happened upon coding through a tech internship which sparked her curiosity to head straight into the tech world. Chumo was set to attend Hacker School, a U.S. based retreat for programmers, in New York to master her skills and meet fellow coders, but she couldn’t raise the airfare needed to do so. She started an Indiegogo campaign for her trip and ended up raising $5,800. That wouldnâ€™t be the final obstacle however. In the end, because Chumo could not demonstrate to the U.S. government that she had sufficient â€œsocial tiesâ€ to Kenya to prove she was returning home after the Hacker School, she was denied a visa. Instead of giving up, Chumo remained passionate about her desire to learn and her own hacker school which she named Nairobi Dev School.
3. Hilda Moraa
Hilda Moraa is one of the founding partners of Weza Tele Limited and Myorder.Hilda graduated with a Bachelorâ€™s Degree in Business Information Technology from Strathmore University and has a masters in Innovation & Entrepreneurship by Research. She has published and written numerous research papers and journals on the thematic focus of ICT, development and entrepreneurship.
4. Catherine Kiguru
Cahterine Kiguru a skilled software engineer from Kenya who has expertise in building mobile and back end solutions. She is one of the brains behind Ukall. She also designed and developed Akida, a mobile application that keeps track of mobile staff and those located in remote sites. Catherine started out within a local security firm working with their staff and was tasked with automating their operations. She kicked off Akida by building their back end solution.
5. Jessica Colaco
Jessica Colaco currently the Director of Partnerships at iHub. She was the Founding Manager between 2010 and 2011 at iHub and Research Director between 2011 and 2013 at iHub Research. She uses her position at iHub to court local, regional and international stakeholders to adopt Kenyan-made and African-made solutions. She is the co-Founder of WMIAfrica and AkiraChix, ISOC-Kenya Chapter, Treasurer, ACM-W Nairobi Chapter Chair, TED Global Fellow 2009 and upcoming Guitarist. She was named one of the top 40 women under 40 years in Kenyaâ€™s business scene by Business Daily on 2009, 2011 and 2012.
6. Nivi Mukherjee
Nivi Mukherjee is the co-founder and CEO of eLimu, an interactive educational platform with rich digital localized content for the Kenyan Primary School curriculum. She worked in the IT training industry (for adults) for 6 years before starting eLimu. She also runs Maisha ni Matamu (life is sweet in Swahili), a social project that aims to bring a day full of joy every month to children who are underprivileged and/or orphaned.
7. Shikoh Gitau
Shikoh Gitau is founder of Ummeli, Guitings Education Trust and TaaSisi. Shikoh, has 10+ years of experience in ICT4D technology design & implementation. She has established expertise in both African and other Emerging Markets research and design practice with a specialized interest in issues pertaining to the development and use of technology in resource poor communities. She currently leads the User Innovation efforts at Mercy Corps. In this role, Shikoh uses insights drawn from continuous and constant interaction with various communities to inform design and product development for the marginalised communities. Prior to Mercy Corps, Shikoh worked as a User Experience Researcher with Google primarily focusing on Emerging Market Users, she has also worked in various capacities both with the private sector and non-government organizations in Kenya and South Africa
8. Lynn Sellanga
Lynn Sellanga is the Operations Manager at the Nailab, a tech business incubator based in Nairobi, Kenya. She has been with the Nailab for close to three years, starting of as the Liaison Officer and growing to her current role.
Using her academic, past work experience and on the job training, Lynn has helped to influence the success of various tech based businesses for example Sematime, Gigwapi, Sokotext and Cladlight by offering training, mentorship and office support services.
Lynn holds a Bachelors degree in Information Systems and Business Administration from the University of Texas. She is also a board member of Sokotext and an advisory board member of Young Freddie Collections, a startup currently incubated at the Nailab. Lynn is also a board member of Afrilabs, the consortium of hubs and incubation labs in Africa.
9. Jamila Abass
Jamila is the C.E.O and co-founder of M-Farm. She strives to empower farmers by using technology as well as drive growth in the East African IT sector. She quit her job at Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI/University of Washington) where she worked as a Medical Records Systems developer to co-found M-Farm. She worked as a Software Engineer in other companies like African Virtual University and also served as the Business Development Manager of the Akirachix, an IT forum for girls.
10. Catherine Mahugu
Catherine has been involved in various ICT for development projects including with Stanfordâ€™s Nokia Africa Research Center building mobile apps for informal communities. She co-founded SasaAfrica, a woman-owned and operated social enterprise that empowers craftswomen to become global entrepreneurs. Catherine joined the SasaAfrica team to help develop a scalable and appropriate technological solution, and manage technology integration across mobile and web platforms