Hi Dara! It’s great to be speaking with you. Please tell me about yourself?
I’m a frontend engineer, and I currently work at Helicarrier. I have a bachelor’s degree in multimedia technology and design from the University of Kent. I moved back to Nigeria shortly after graduating and started my tech journey. I love what I do and wouldn’t have it any other way!
Why did you choose to move back after graduating? Was that always the plan?
I considered staying initially, but it was quite competitive getting a job. It didn’t help that I was extremely confused about my next steps, career-wise. So, I wasn’t very confident in the jobs I was applying for. Moving back was the next best option.
You studied design at university and have some marketing experience as well. How did you get interested in web development?
I’d always been curious about tech and my degree program definitely piqued my interest. Although it was design-focused (graphic design, 3D design, interaction design, animation etc.), one of the course modules was web programming - we had to build a personal portfolio website. I found it super difficult and didn’t enjoy it one bit.
After I moved back, however, I found myself going back to that portfolio project and playing around with the code for some reason. That kind of spiraled into spending my days downloading website templates online, tweaking them, and learning in the process. I eventually started working on freelance projects. That’s how I got started in tech.
You started in frontend engineering at Sterling Bank. What was it like working in a bank?
It was my first job, and I don’t know if there’s an all-encompassing word to describe my experience, but it was both exciting and challenging. I worked in the technology department and was the first and only frontend developer on the team for a while. This meant working on many different products simultaneously and learning on the job.
I was eventually able to grow my skills to a level where I helped and mentored interns. It was definitely a good place to start my career!
And now you’re at Helicarrier! How was it transitioning from working in a bank to a Web3 company?
The bank had already started to dabble in crypto - there were a few blockchain engineers on the team working on various projects - which gave me some exposure. So, I would say the transition was more about moving from a large corporate organisation to a startup. It was really interesting adapting to new ways of working and a different kind of structure.
What made you interested in Web3?
I fell into this space as I didn’t set out to move into crypto (even though I started out working in finance).
Before joining Helicarrier, I sometimes tried to understand all of the crypto and blockchain concepts I kept hearing about, but that was all there was to it. Then last year, I worked on a freelance project for someone who referred me to one of the Helicarrier founders. They reached out, I did an interview, and got the job.
Being in this space can be daunting - there’s still so much I don’t know. But I love learning, so it’s been an exciting process for me.
What's it like working at Helicarrier?
It’s been great so far. I work with really smart people, and I’ve learned a lot since joining. I work on the Buycoins and Sendcash products. I also work in the research team, building exploratory web3 applications. I’d say the only hard thing about my job is trying to keep up with the constant change.
From your experience, what advice would you give to people looking to transition from Web2 to Web3?
Once you start, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and think you’re not moving fast enough, so try to take it one day at a time. Don’t try to become proficient in five different things at once, and always remember that even the people with 10 years of experience are still learning, just like you.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends, watching TV shows (Modern Family is a favourite), trying out new restaurants, exercising, and reading. 🙂
What are your plans for the future?
I’m still figuring this out, but I would like to keep working on products that impact the people and communities around me.
Lovely! Thanks for your time Dara! How can people follow you?
Thanks, Iyin. You can follow me on Twitter @daraolayebi