In Praise of Tech: Kibirt Bayou on the Opportunities the Industry Offers Women

Kibirt Bayou is an ALX graduate from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with an 8-year background in Civil Engineering. Her journey as the mother of an infant who made a daring career change into Software Engineering was acknowledged by Fred Swaniker as the definition of ‘doing hard things’.

Kibirt works at iCog Labs – the first private AI and Robotics Research and Development Company in East Africa – and plans to pursue entrepreneurial projects in machine learning, artificial intelligence and mobile development in order to develop her country.

What motivated you to join ALX?

I was driven by my passion for Software Engineering.

As a woman starting out your career in tech, what excites you about the journey ahead?

I’m excited that tech is the fastest-growing industry in the world, and I get to be a part of it.

Since graduating from ALX, what "Hard Thing" are you doing?

I'm multitasking by working on my own projects, supporting the family business, and raising my child.

Why do you believe it's important to have more young women in tech, particularly considering how few women there are across the tech landscape in Africa?

The tech industry, which is becoming increasingly inclusive of women, has much to gain from the participation of smart girls and women. Additionally, with data being a critical component of Artificial Intelligence, the absence of women's input could have significant implications for any resulting products.

What would you say are some of the misconceptions that exist around women in tech?

That women can’t understand and write code. It’s absolutely false! And there are so many women at ALX and beyond who are testament to this.

What are some of the barriers you’ve faced, and how have you managed to overcome them?

Being a single mom in Ethiopia, I'm constantly shamed for not paying enough attention to my child and not being seen suffering for him. I’ve learned to keep my head up and drown out the noise. I know I will prove naysayers wrong someday soon.

How did the experience of ALX impact your growth and help you in your career journey as a woman in tech?

ALX showed me the depth and scope of the tech field and what it would take to work for a global tech company.

How do you aim to make a difference through your work and add value to the world?

I want to adapt solutions that the world is already making use of for Ethiopia and make it accessible to Ethiopians.

What message would you give to young women in Africa wanting to pursue a career as a Software Engineer?

In my opinion, there is no better field to accommodate all the twists and turns of life as a woman than tech. All you really need is a laptop and internet connection. As women, our sharper intellect should be channelled optimally into a tech career.

Finally, what advice would you give to those who are in the middle of their programme or about to start their training at ALX?

It is going to take all you've got, but it'll actually be worth it.

ALX develops well-rounded tech professionals who are equipped with both the technical proficiencies and soft skills that will enable them to thrive in the future of work. Find out more about how ALX is providing opportunities to women across Africa to launch impactful careers in tech.

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