How Nenne Adaora Nwodo from Microsoft is living her software engineering dream that she had when she was 6 years old
“We are all born different, but we are also born with different gifts; so we should learn to give ourselves whole so that we can die empty.– Name Adaora Nwodo, Software Developer, Microsoft.
Sometime in October 2021, Nenne Adaora Nwodo had a conversation with her brother, who suggested that she take a business/management course to gain valuable insights that will take her to the next level in her career. It sounded like a great idea, so she immediately set out to find a US institution that suited her best.
Of course, she eyed the Ivy League schools primarily because of the network and wealth of experience they offer. You would rightly suspect that their opportunities were limited to Oxford, MIT, Stanford and similar schools.
Adaora, photographed from her room in Lagos, takes the 4,800+ subscribers to AdoraHack, her YouTube channel, on her journey to becoming a student in Stanford Graduate School of Business’s (Stanford GSB) LEAD Online Business Program.
Wearing an orange hoodie with her social brand AdoraHack’s logo on it, 25-year-old cloud engineer AdoraHack shared her story, from her admission to what she can expect in the future.
Attention, Nenne Adaora is also known as Adora and Great Nenz.
Adora says Stanford GSB is a perfect fit for her because she has full school experience and wants to keep her Microsoft job, which she speaks enthusiastically about.
You are wrong if you conclude that Adora is just a YouTuber and a Stanford MBA; Creativity is also part of their arsenal.
As part of the development team building applications for Microsoft Mesh, a mixed reality platform, she creates tools that enable people in different physical locations to virtually participate in collaborative meetings and share holographic experiences.
Further defining her role, she says: “I’m building the cloud services that make up the whole platform and it’s been an experience. I learned a lot and I wouldn’t trade that for anything!”
On a sunny Saturday morning in March, I spent some time with Adora at a meeting point on Lagos mainland. Before she ran away for a family engagement, we spoke for about 90 minutes about everything that drives her, her passions, to everything it took to get to where she is today.
Speaking to Adora, who firmly believes in intentionality, focus, interdependence and putting herself out there as comfortably as possible, it was easy to see the lessons she had learned from her experiences.
“You have to learn to be teachable, because that’s how you would grow,” Adora began and picked up speed. “Be open! If your mind is not open, nothing can happen; you cannot learn it.”
A loaded background
Nenne Adaora Nwodo grew up in the commercial city of Lagos — an intelligent child and an avid reader – had the most unusual childhood.
“To be honest, I didn’t know who I was before the whole tech thing. I’m one of those people who started playing with computers at the age of six.”
The youngest of three children, Adora unconsciously developed a fondness for computers from an early age so that she could be closer to her brothers – her playmates – who spent most of their time using what they had learned during their computer classes on the desktop computer practice that her father had given them by with her.
She credits her brothers for teaching her the basics of using the desktop computer, which quickly became an interest they shared and brought them closer together. But as she spent time with her brothers, Adora’s obsession with the machine grew. Before her tenth birthday, she had taught herself to type faster, navigate Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, and create amateur designs using CorelDraw, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe PageMaker.
Around the same time she was introduced to social media – Myspace – and received her first email from yahoo.com under the supervision of her father and much older brothers.
She was quick to point out that the internet is a much healthier and safer place.
Adora felt more connected to the computer than her brother because she found it engaging and fascinating.
She fondly recalled her reactions when anyone around her said anything about computers and how that influenced her decision to become a programmer growing up. Adora followed her dream and started her programming journey using Visual Basic, HTML and CSS in secondary school before graduating with a first class degree in Computer Science from the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
Anyone who has chosen a career can testify that self-discovery is a lifelong process. And historically, African parents or guardians force their children or wards to choose what they believe to be courses in lucrative industries.
Adora’s decision to get into software development was the result of foresight. She was not lacking in guidance and care from her family and a few supportive people. The excellent curriculum of the IT department at UNILAG also contributed to their success.
Into the Career Verse
Adora’s time at UNILAG shaped her interest; “I just wanted to build things,” she recalls.
From writing code to verify the correctness of a math problem to building websites, her ability to bring random ideas to life gave her an adrenaline rush that drove her to do more.
Now is a good time to mention some of her favorite projects.
She has a food blogging website, a full Android project (an app and a backend API), a local search engine (a school project), a media encryption app for Android, a Game of Thrones trivia Android app, and plagiarism detection creates software (thesis) under the name Third Eye, among others.
Adora got her first formal job as a software developer intern at an advertising agency in her penultimate year of high school; She remained in this role until graduation.
She then completed her mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) with the agency. By the time she graduated from NYSC, she had already had over two years of work experience, and when she was ready to change jobs, it was difficult for her to let her go because of her excellent work ethic and team spirit.
She left the agency for Microsoft in August 2019 when the company had an open mixed reality opportunity in Africa.
“Microsoft reached out to me on LinkedIn because at that time I was already volunteering in a number of communities and speaking loudly about the type of work I was doing and the type of work I was interested in.”
Before the invitation, Adora had repeatedly made her interest in AI-supported technologies public through LinkedIn posts.
“And that’s what I say to people, ‘Always present to the public what you want to do. You don’t know who’s listening,” she said.
Adora’s work on the Microsoft Mesh team spans software development, DevOps and security compliance. She works mostly remotely, with a typical workday starting at midday and ending around 7pm when she takes some time to relax.
Adora was attracted to technology for most of her life and was privileged to be exposed to it from an early age. She is driven by the philosophy that love can heal the world, her desire to make the world a better place, and promoting women’s inclusion in technology.
Mention Adaora Nwodo is becoming increasingly involved in the developer community, contributing to topics at conferences and meetings, writing books and blogging about her career development, software development and lifestyle.
If Adora hadn’t become a software engineer, she would have become a fashion entrepreneur or a DJ. Interestingly, she had dabbled in fashion entrepreneurship in the past and currently whiles away her time as a DJ.
Adora either hangs out with friends, goes to fancy restaurants, swims, video calls friends, or takes occasional self-care breaks to unwind.
Considering how much of Adora can be seen on the internet, she was extremely shy and struggled with anxiety and stage fright early in life. However, she overcame this with years of conscious effort to be vocal and speak at community gatherings.
Aside from scheduling and daily planning, her biggest lifehacks as a writer, speaker, YouTuber, DJ, digital content creator and entrepreneur are delegating, multitasking, scheduling and daily planning.
Ultimately, Adora dreams of a time when she tours Egypt, Rome and the Middle East for a year.
Human Enthusiast | Writer | Senior Reporter | podcaster.
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