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Adekunle Oduye — Meet the Mentors

In this new series, we will take a look at our diverse and awesome mentor team here at MentorCruise. Building this platform wouldn’t have been possible without the support of them. Today, we are going to talk to Adekunle Oduye.

Adekunle is one of our mentors on MentorCruise. Visit his profile now and get mentored by him: https://mentorcruise.com/mentor/AdekunleOduye/.

Hey Adekunle! Before we get started, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Adekunle Oduye (Add-eh-koon-lay Oh-due-yay) and I’m a design technologist born and raised in New York City. In the past I’ve built products for companies like Justworks and NASDAQ. I was also a co-organizer for SassConf, a national front-end development conference and GothamSass, a local NYC meetup that serves front-end developers and designers.

I enjoy working where design meets development. Some of the topics I’m really interested in are design systems, data visualization and UI animation. When I’m not building software, you can probably find me planning my next travel adventure or learning more about personal finance.

Over the years, you have worked on several different exciting projects and have collected a lot of experience. How did you get started? How did you get your first job?

Most of my studies from elementary school to college focused on the arts, specifically painting. I made the switch to graphic design during my latter years in college where I took courses around typography, photography and design theory. Unrelated to that, I also studied economics to gain a more balance education. It gave me the chance to train both my creative and critical thinking.

My first gig was at a boutique design agency where I got exposed to many different skill sets. Some of the areas I explored was graphic design, logo design, print design, web design, front-end & back-end development and SEO (yeah, it was a lot!!!). Being exposed to different areas allowed me to find out what I really wanted to do…which was design and front-end development.

What project are you most proud of?

My favorite project I worked on was building a Data Visualization Library at NASDAQ. It was an interesting problem to tackle because we didn’t have a consistent way to visualize data in our products and this was a great opportunity to establish guidelines for all our products. I also had the pleasure working with a great group of people which made the project even more enjoyable.

What have you been working on recently?

As a Product Designer at Justworks, I lead the design efforts on building a Citi Bike sign-up flow for employees and employers. The goals were to bring the entire sign-up experience into the platform, increase employer & employee adoption and automate steps in the back-end process for the operations team.

Now that you are a mentor — what is your desired mentee like?

I desired a mentee who has a great passion for learning, persistent and is open to feedback. There are going to be many days where you would want to quit and give up. But with these three qualities, you increase your chances for success and get the most out of your mentor.

What is your best advice to people starting out in Tech or Design?

1. Work Hard

I had many early morning and late nights when I first started out (I still do till this day). I knew as a young person in tech, especially a black one, that I had to work harder than everyone else. My advice to young people is to work on as many projects as you can. From this, you will find out what you enjoy doing and what you dislike(which is important). A great work ethic eliminates fear and builds confidence.

2. Be Brave

I knew if I wanted to get exposed to different skills and technologies, I had to explored the unknown. This meant attending events where I didn’t know anybody and being forced to network. This was dreadful for me at first but I eventually got comfortable being in those situations. I have now exceeded those limitations as a seasoned conference speaker. If I didn’t push myself through those fears, I would not be where I am today. So if you fear speaking in front of people or going to places by yourself, I challenge you to face your fears with tenacity and confidence.

3. Trust the Process

When I started out in tech, I struggled due to fact I wasn’t good. Most of my tech knowledge didn’t come from college, it came from reading books + blogs and practicing everyday. The thing is that “If it was easy, everyone would do”. Trust the process and have faith that eventually you will be in a place where you are producing great work.

4. Surround yourself with great people

One of the best things I have ever done was to surround myself with great people. When I wanted to become a front-end developer, I would attend events to gain insight on what I should be learning and doing. I was able to build a network of trusted colleagues where I could share ideas and get advice. A supportive system is key if you want to become better. So my advice is to get out and make new friends whenever you get a chance, because you never know!

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

You can find me on Twitter where I share a lot about design, CSS and tech related topics. I also blog sometimes on my personal website and Medium.

Adekunle is one of our mentors on MentorCruise. Visit his profile now and get mentored by him: https://mentorcruise.com/mentor/AdekunleOduye/.

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