Nigeria’s Ire Aderinokun is a front-end web developer and user interface designer, who is also co-founder, Chief Operating Officer (COO) and VP Engineering of Helicarrier, a company building cryptocurrency infrastructure for Africa. Helicarrier is behind products such as Buycoins, Sendcash, Sendcash Pay, and others.
Aderinokun’s passion for technology was ignited at a very young age. At the age of 13, she built her first website, a Neopets fansite, on which she mastered her first basic HTML codes. However, she did not consider it a career path.
After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol, she pursued a master’s degree in law at the same university. While studying law, she took a design course at Codeacademy due to her interest in computer science.
“I rediscovered it while I was getting my master’s degree; that was when I understood what computer science was all about,” she told Techpoint Africa. “So, I decided to try and teach myself to see if I could get into it. I did some online courses and read blogs and things like that, and then I started off doing freelance for a while before I began working for an actual company.”
Aderinokun, who is said to be Nigeria’s first female Google Developer Expert, currently runs Helicarrier, previously known as BuyCoins, as its COO and VP Engineering. Her platform’s mission is “to financially connect the African, anywhere they are in the world,” she said. Her functions include leading the front-end team, managing operations and overseeing a bit of the business and finance side, making sure that her company is compliant with regulations, among others. In 2020, users bought and sold $141 million of cryptocurrency on Buycoins, according to Nairametrics.
The Nigerian tech guru also runs a blog called bitsofco.de, where she offers coding advice to fellow programmers. Also, she runs a tiny scholarship scheme to allow Nigerian women to take an Udacity Nanodegree in a technology-related profession of their choice.
Besides work, Aderinokun does not do much except watch YouTube and TikTok videos. Occasionally, she tries to meet friends.
“I don’t listen to music that often, I mostly listen to podcasts so I’d recommend ATP (Accidental Tech Podcast). Cortex is another one I enjoy, and Somehow I Manage which is a podcast about the TV show ‘The Office,’” she said.
For young Nigerian women who want to be like her, Aderinokun is advising them to weigh their career options and tailor their studies towards that in order to make their degrees relevant.
Using herself as an example, she noted: “I would say, I wish I started this a bit earlier because I ended up going to school for five years and getting two degrees for things that I don’t actively use. I won’t say I didn’t need to do them, but maybe if I was more aware, I might have been able to make a better-informed decision.”