Getting into the Field of Tech: Q & A with an Associate Professor of Computer Science
Vivian Ogochukwu Nwaocha is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the National Open University of Nigeria.
She has had an exciting career filled with adventures, lessons learned and breakthroughs.
Vivian started off as an engineer. She initially dreamed of becoming an Engineer because she felt she could do well in that field.
During her industrial training at a Project Development Institute in Lagos, she then discovered another career.
From her studies, she could tell that they had products but no one was coming up to do anything with the products. She then told the Director that people can exhibit the products online.
From then on, she learned on her own. After completing her career as a Methodological and Material Engineer, she went into Computer Science and after that, she did her Masters and her PhD.
Also, during her National Youth Service year, she discovered that she had this fulfilment for teaching young people.
She realised that it was not all about the money but she had a zeal and passion to impact knowledge.
Alongside all of this, she has skills in IT and she became a Network Administrator. She also managed some hotel systems and got used to systems. She became better and better.
Also, during her time in her studies, she witnessed that there were some cyberattacks so she decided to do her research focusing on a distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack because that was trending.
From there, she went into cybersecurity and it’s been so exciting.
Her research has also been into providing assistive technologies. She started with multimedia, making learning more interesting.
She also has a passion for inclusiveness because most of the resources do not include those with disabilities.
In addition, Vivian has also worked around data protection and mobile learning and e-learning. She has also gotten grants for her work through the Digital Science and Technology Network.
You can read on for more on my interview with Vivian.
How would you advise students that want to get into ICT?
The first step is being focused and determined. Students can be restless especially if they are a digital native.
For IT, you have to be very focused. Also, in this field, you are constantly learning. You have to therefore be ready to be innovative.
You should constantly update and improve on your skills.
Also, whatever theory you are learning, you should ensure that you practicalise it before you get into the office job.
I always encourage my students to get hands-on experience.
We have learning platforms like Oracle, Cisco, and IBM. These are resources that we have free of charge and I tell my students to make use of these courses.
You have to be relevant because in the IT world, if you are not skilled, your certificate would not get you any job.
What are the Benefits of Working in ICT?
There are lots of advantages to working in ICT. As a career, we have a lot of fields in IT.
These are Artificial Intelligence, which is quite broad. We have cyber-security and also, we have digital science. In these three fields, there is always some innovation and novelty.
In Cybersecurity, my field, you can go into Auditing. You can become a Manager.
For AI, there is Robotics, Machinery, National Language Experts or Speech Recognition.
I advise my students to get specialised in a particular area.
How Can More Women and Girls be Safe Online?
We know that we are in the digital era. Most offices are online. For women, especially those in ICT, we have to be careful to ensure that we protect our data.
Cybersecurity has to do with protecting systems, networks, programs and anything digital.
We need to protect data while on rest, in motion and once it gets to the user.
This means that we ensure that we have confidentiality, integrity and availability.
Availability means ensuring the data you have is available to the authorised user.
Also, ensure that whenever the user uses it, it is accessible.
Confidentiality means that you have to ensure privacy.
Also, when it comes to internet banking. Please, do not click on links without confirming because there is a lot of phishing.
Phishing is when you are lured to provide information and then all of your details are accessed.
You have to make sure that your systems are upgraded, especially your operating system.
Also, do not give out your passwords. When you give your password to someone else, then the money goes.
In addition, when it comes to social media. You have to be mindful of how you post because people can track where you are and what you are doing.
How Can Women in ICT embrace Equality?
For females, I believe that we have all it takes. In the tech world, it is all about discovery, innovation and we have all the potential.
However, I want to encourage the women that are coming up. Yes, there are challenges when it comes to not having equal support and there might be limitations but there are ways to get support and I want to encourage women to become Digital Experts!
They must be focused and invest in their development and always explore opportunities for supporting women.
Watch the video here.