Adora Nwodo, Software Engineer, Multi-Published Author & Global Speaker, Microsoft, Nigeria

Adora is a multi-award-winning Software Engineer. She currently works at Microsoft where she builds Mixed Reality on the Cloud. She is the Founder of NexaScale, a social enterprise created to help people start and scale their tech careers by exposing them to jobs and other opportunities that help them build projects. Beyond these roles, she leads many tech communities. For example, she is also the Vice President of the Nigerian chapter for VRAR Association. Her work there involves creating more awareness for Immersive Reality Technologies.

Adora is also a Digital Creator. She has courses online that teaches people about infrastructure automation, she has also published multiple content on Software Engineering, Productivity & Career Growth on her blog and YouTube channel, AdoraHack. She is currently a student of LEAD in the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. She is the Author of “Cloud Engineering for Beginners”, “Beginning Azure DevOps” and “A Handy DevOps Roadmap and Study Guide”. She co-organizes community events, contributes to Open Source, and speaks at technology conferences worldwide.

Recently, in an interview with CXO Magazine, Adora shared her favourite part about her role at Microsoft, NexaScale, the social enterprise started by her and its key objective, pearls of wisdom for other female leaders, and much more. The following are the excerpts from the interview.

Adora, please tell us about your professional and personal background.

I am the only daughter and the last born in my family, and I’ve always had support from everyone in my family. I’ve always wanted to build a career with computers ever since I was introduced to computers (by my family) when I was six years old. As a result, I grew up being intentional about programming careers and that led me to study Computer Science in the University where I came out with a First Class Degree. As a student, I started doing Software Engineering internships and after my degree, I continued working as a full-time Software Engineer. I’ve been doing that ever since.

What is your most favorite part about your role as a Software Engineer at Microsoft? Can you tell us about some of the projects that you are currently working on?

My favorite part is that I am working in emerging technologies. I’ve always wanted to be part of a team, building interesting things that will define how we interact with computers. At Microsoft today, I am working on Microsoft Mesh, a platform that enables presence and shared experiences from anywhere, on any device, through mixed reality applications.

What trait are you known for at Microsoft?

A lot of people acknowledge that I am multifaceted. I work on different parts of the project in my job, and I’m also pretty involved in the tech ecosystem, and I have other projects I run personally too. Combining all of this successfully makes me multifaceted.

You are also the Founder of NexaScale. Can you please tell us about this community and your role in it?

One common issue I’ve observed among entry-level individuals in the tech industry is that despite having acquired training and certifications from various organizations, not all of them are able to secure jobs. I’ve met people who hold multiple certifications in a particular field but ended up working in a different role due to the availability of opportunities and the need for income.

I started NexaScale to solve this problem. Our main goal is to create programs that facilitate the start and growth of STEM careers. We have partnered with internship and job placement programs, open-source contributions, and hackathons to provide our members with practical opportunities. Our focus is on helping individuals build projects that can enrich their portfolios and enhance their employability. We understand that many individuals already possess technical skills, so we are not solely focused on teaching those skills. Instead, we offer opportunities for internships and entry-level positions through our programs, as well as courses for those who wish to advance in their careers. Our aim is to enable individuals to contribute to the digital technology space using the skills they have already acquired, and we are constantly seeking partnerships to expand our efforts and support as many people as possible.

What do you think are the main challenges and opportunities for the next generation of women leaders?

The main challenges for the next generation of women leaders include breaking through gender biases and stereotypes, overcoming unequal opportunities and pay gaps, and navigating work-life balance. However, the opportunities for women leaders lie in increased awareness and advocacy for gender equality, the potential for diverse perspectives and innovation, and the ability to inspire and empower future generations of women to strive for leadership positions.

What is the best decision that you have made with regard to your career?

The best decision I made in my career was to invest time and effort into building strong networks with people within and outside the different places I’ve worked in. This has not only helped me to achieve success in my current role but also opened up new opportunities for advancement. I have gotten mentors and sponsors that help and advise me in certain decisions. I have also gotten people that support the things I do and that has helped me grow my career, my brand, and other aspects of my life.

Despite the odds, what motivates you to stay positive?

Honestly, it’s a mixture of multiple things. The first is my unwavering belief in my abilities and resilience. I know challenges are inevitable, but I am determined to overcome them and continue moving forward. I also have support and encouragement from my loved ones, mentors, and colleagues. Their belief in me and my abilities keeps me motivated to persevere even in the face of difficulties. Finally, I am passionate about what I do. I am deeply committed to my work and find joy in making a difference, which keeps me motivated to overcome obstacles and maintain a positive outlook. I like that the work I do motivates and inspires people.

What is something that you believe now that has never occurred to you previously?

It will be the importance of adaptability and flexibility in a rapidly changing industry like tech. I used to resist change and cling to familiar ways, but now I realize that being adaptable and flexible is essential for navigating uncertainty, seizing new opportunities, and staying relevant in today’s dynamic business landscape.

What are your passions, and how do you unplug from work?

I love music and I also have a passion for creating things. I express that creativity in different ways personally and professionally. To unplug from work, I listen to music and mix music too. I also like swimming and self-care.

If you could have one superpower, what would you like it to be?

I love seeing new places, but flights stress me out a lot, so I would choose the ability to teleport. Imagine having the ability to instantly travel to any location in the world without the constraints of time or distance. It would make commuting, traveling, and exploring new places much easier and more convenient.

What advice do you have for other female leaders?

Pay it forward by mentoring and empowering other aspiring female leaders. Share your knowledge, experiences, and lessons learned with others. Lift other women and help them reach their full leadership potential.

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