To be a better engineer, communicate clearly - Ire Aderinokun, BuyCoinsFeatured

"What are the skills you feel are essential to succeed in your role?"I have a number of different roles in my career. My primary job is as co-founder of BuyCoins (YC S18), a Lagos-based startup building a cryptocurrency exchange for Africa. In this role, I work on the development of the product through design and engineering, and I also work in managerial and operational roles as we’re such a small team. In addition to this, I write an (almost) weekly blog on frontend engineering, I speak at conferences globally (and organize one locally), I mentor startups through programs like Google Launchpad Africa, and I make videos on YouTube both for work and fun.I think the most important skill I have that enables me to do all these things is effective time management. Luckily for me, I learned this early on while doing the International Baccalaureate program in high school. It required juggling more work and activities than I had ever done before in order to pass. Since then I've been able to manage my time efficiently with a combination of strict schedules marked out in my calendar and by allowing myself the freedom to work on what feels the most interesting and important at the time. I find this maximizes productivity. I use the app Things to manage deadlines for tasks. I find the most useful feature it has is the ability to notify you of tasks days before they are due. This means tasks can be resurfaced with plenty of time for me to decide when the best time for me to work on it will be. If I feel inspired to work on a thing many days before it’s due, that’s great! If not, which surprisingly rarely happens, I scramble to get it done before the deadline.In addition to time management, another incredibly important skill that has been essential to all the roles I’ve had in my career is my ability to communicate clearly. This has obviously been paramount for my role as a writer and public speaker, but it has also made me a significantly better designer and engineer. Whether it be through writing documentation, or creating understandable product specifications, being able to communicate ideas in a way that almost anyone can understand has been helpful in moving projects forward. Ire Aderinokun is a self-taught UI/UX Designer and Front-End Developer working in Lagos, Nigeria. She co-founded BuyCoins (YCombinator S18) in 2017, it is a cryptocurrency exchange in Africa and the only exchange in Nigeria that allows Nigerians to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. With degrees in Experimental Psychology and Law, Ire is adept at technical writing and breaking down complex concepts to be easily understood at all levels. Ire is an international public speaker and advocate for open source and sharing within the development community.
Hi Elphas – as a reminder – this is part of our public posts series sharing conversations with women across tech on the topic of #careergrowth.Ire, thank you for sharing with us.Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks for sharing this, Ire! I enjoyed learning about your time management process and I like that you work on what's inspiring at any given moment. I sometimes force myself to work on things that need doing, inspired or not, and it's the perfect situation for procrastination x_xI'd like to hear more about how you learn to communicate effectively, similar to what you've done with time management. For example, how do you plan out what to write? How did you learn to communicate effectively? What tools do you use (similar to Things for productivity). Sharing resources might also be helpful.
Thank you Tolu!To answer your question, I think I learned how to communicate effectively through a lot of practice, particularly at school. As you can imagine, I had to write *a lot* of essays doing my Psychology and Law degrees, and it really helped me learn how to craft and communicate an argument clearly. Also, writing a blog post (which I did every week for 2 years) helped me improve my technical writing. So it's really just practice!Regarding the tools I use for writing, I personally prefer to write in Markdown. The app I currently use to write most things is called Bear - . But since I write in markdown, I can use pretty much anything!
Thank you for sharing your story, Ire! I love reading about how you time manage to ensure most productivity.
You're welcome :)