Female students pursuing Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) have been challenged to pursue other professional certifications that would increase their job employability after completing their degree programs.

This was revealed on March 13, 2020 during a mentorship program between women techies from various technology companies like Huawei, Safaricom among other companies and University of Nairobi female students.

“Please take certifications after completing your studies. I remember being challenged by my male colleagues to take Microsoft Certifications. I did the certifications and immediately I completed them, my salary doubled,” said Catherine Mumbi, who currently works with Sidian Bank as Chief Information Officer.

Students got a rare opportunity to engage top women in technology and to tap from their life experiences. Students were told  that to get far in life, they needed to find a mentor who can guide them through life journeys and the women in the room were more than willing to help the students through the journey of life. Catherine Mumbi encouraged the students to accept any job that comes along and not to despise humble beginnings. “I urge you to develop your soft skills. Skills like communication skills, presentation skills, networking skills, come in very handy. By joining professional groups like this one, you will have a chance to grow. I have been able to develop my public speaking skills over the years,” she said.

Barbara Okello, Data Scientist from Safaricom Limited shared her life journey with students and the numerous obstacles she had to overcome to be where she is. She observed that reaching the pinnacle of excellence is from sheer hard work and embracing opportunities that come her way. She started off as a Customer Care agent at Safaricom before joining the Social Media team that answers to customer queries. She eventually joined the Data Science team which uses client’s data and insights to solve client’s problems via Twitter and Facebook. “Share your vision with your supervisors and embrace every opportunity that comes your way. When an opportunity come up to join the Digital team and Data Science team and having shared my vision with my supervisor, she allowed me to join the newly created departments. I moved from the Customer Care team to the Digital team and eventually to the Data Science team”, she said.

The students were told to gear up for the 4th industrial revolution that will create millions of jobs. Such technologies like artificial intelligence, internet of things, robotics, machine learning, and data science will create millions of jobs in the coming years. Students were challenged to position themselves by getting relevant skills via studying online on youtube and other online centers like Udemy or Coursera.  

The female students mentorship program by the Women in Technology, organized by Career Services Office, University of Nairobi


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