The Inspiring Journey of a Future Tech Leader – Viola Konji

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As Viola prepares to graduate and step into the professional world, her journey at Strathmore University serves as a powerful reminder of the impact of perseverance, community, and the relentless pursuit of excellence.

In the constantly evolving world of technology,  one name stands out among the soon-to-be graduates of Strathmore University: Viola Konji. With a passion for research, a drive for inclusivity, and a keen interest in digital policy, Viola has carved out a unique path that bridges the gap between technical prowess and societal impact.

“I was conflicted about which path to pursue after high school,” Viola recalls. 

“Due to my interest in science and passion for research and experiments, my father suggested that I pursue computer science. After further research, I realized it was a valuable pursuit, and it has since opened many doors for me.” This decision marked the beginning of a journey that would lead to numerous opportunities and accomplishments.

Choosing Strathmore University was a pivotal decision.

 “Strathmore is known for offering a top-notch experience that extends beyond academics, so it was a deliberate choice,” she explains. The university’s reputation for holistic development and excellence in education made it the ideal environment for nurturing both academic and personal growth. For Viola, the academic journey at Strathmore has been marked by both challenges and triumphs.

“Throughout my academic journey, I encountered significant challenges, particularly in adapting to the volume of assignments and projects inherent in the field of computer science. Nevertheless, the moments of triumph were truly rewarding, especially witnessing the realization of projects after countless late nights of hard work,” she shares.

One such moment of triumph came with the completion of the final year project. Viola is particularly proud of this achievement: “I aimed to create a system designed to diagnose skin diseases and conditions on dark skin complexions. This is because inclusivity in tech is a very important goal for me. The project required a lot of research and time. I am excited about developing a prototype that I can later bring to fruition.”

The influence of lecturers and faculty members has been instrumental in shaping her learning experience.  “Many professors incorporated real-life cases into their teaching to illustrate concepts. This approach provided me with a unique insight into the various applications of technology in addressing current contextual issues,” Viola notes. 

One class, in particular, the Corporate Governance and Sustainability unit taught by Prof. William Murithi, introduced her to the intersection of technology, digital policy, and ethical business practices.

Beyond academics, Viola engaged in extracurricular activities that contributed to personal and professional growth. Being part of AIESEC and the UN’s Millennium Fellowship provided opportunities to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and make a positive societal impact. “These organizations equipped me with valuable knowledge about the inner workings of NGOs, a field I am passionate about working in,” she says.

Internships also played a crucial role in Viola’s development. During a placement at Systech Limited as a software developer attaché, she gained experience in Figma UI/UX design and back-end development using SpringBoot. These experiences have prepared her for the professional world by enhancing technical skills and providing practical insights into the industry.

Strathmore University’s professional culture, characterized by its dress code and conduct, has made transitioning into the working world seamless. Viola feels well-prepared for a career in tech and digital policy, where her skills such as technical writing, literature review, and data analysis are particularly valuable. Combined with programming knowledge in languages such as Java and Flutter, Viola is certain she is ready to tackle future challenges.

Looking ahead, she plans to focus on capacity building and digital rights, particularly for women.  “I’m part of the coalition for Freedom of Expression and Content Moderation in Kenya, which addresses human rights in the digital realm,” Viola explains.

Reflecting on her time at Strathmore, she wishes there had been more effort to connect with lecturers during their office hours, recognizing the value of their guidance and support. For incoming Computer Science students, Viola advises embracing lifelong learning and remaining open to new ideas and methods, emphasizing the vast opportunities within the tech industry.Balancing academic responsibilities with personal life has been achieved through a strict routine, highlighting the importance of discipline. A memorable moment that stands out is the dedication and patience of the statistics lecturer, Mr. Kevin Otieno, who played a significant role in demystifying complex concepts and inspiring Viola to help others.

Article written by Stephen Wakhu

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