Wading through the web of technology

Saturday April 11 2009

By JOHN MAKENI

Judith Owigar says there is nothing spectacular about her day. But she admits that being a woman is a crisis because the society has certain expectations of women.

“I don’t think a woman is defined by a kitchen, but the society needs to define who you are, based on where you are at certain point in life,” said the 24-year-old who works as a web developer at Ibidlabs.

Her interests are “mobile technology, web technology, information security, IT policy, graphic design and animation.”

Ibidlabs is a social networking and a finance system company based in Nairobi, which Ms Owigar describes as a one-stop shop for information technology.

Her job

She said her job comes before anything else, adding that she has enjoyed every bit of her experience at Ibidlabs, albeit the challenges.

“Many people expect miracles when doing something; people have high expectations,” she said about her job. “The easier it looks the more complicated it is.”

Though she admits that her work is very challenging, solving the problems makes it worthwhile.

Her passion in web developing dates back to her days as an intern at United Nations Environmental Programme (Unep) when she was still a student of computer science at the University of Nairobi.

The web fascinated her and she decided to make a living out of it.

“I wanted to do something that I liked and make money out of it,” she said. She chose a mobile blogging and development project.

An avid reader, her favourite book is Who Moved my Cheese? by Spencer Johnson. The book, she says, has taught her to always be on the move in life.

A devout Christian, one of her philosophies is that “you have to fight with God until all issues are sorted out”. Her ambition is to start a business that will have a “huge impact in Africa”.

The fifth born in a family of six, Ms Owigar said she is fond of the kitchen. But she does not cook every day because she often arrives home tired.

Super women

“I like cooking, only that I need to do it when I have free time. Our mothers were super women because they would come from work and cook for the family at the same time. They never complained of getting tired. But I don’t think our generation has super women,” she said.

She loves shopping, especially for shoes. And she still finds time for art, music, watching movies, laughing and dancing.

One of the people who inspire her is Nobel laureate Prof Wangari Maathai who she says believes in what she does.

“She is one of the people who can get an idea and put it into action,” she said, adding that success to her is achieving dreams, living comfortably and empowering other people to reach their potential.

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