We had an interview with a budding female game developer in Ghana by name Diana Senakey. She is a graduate of the Ghana Technology University College, where she pursued a degree program in Information Technology. Diana as a child found learning rather stressful hence she wasn’t one of the brightest students in class. Her education in the university now gives her the opportunity to ease the burden of children who have the same problem as she, when she was their age. Therefore she has developed a game, which can be of tremendous help to any child who is struggling academically. Children learn best when they are having fun. That is the philosophy behind this game; that while they play they end up sharpening their skills and learning something new which will benefit them greatly.
Excerpts from the interview:
kindly tell us briefly about your games.
The brain game has been categorized into three main cognitive areas thus memory, attention and speed. Under memory there are two games that challenge the brain in memory. They are the Tree match and Bee matrix. Under attention there is one game that challenge the brain. This is called the fruit-veg. Here the child compares the word to the image. Finally under speed there are two games: snooker and alpha-num. This makes the child work under the pressure of time.Some basic maths and english concepts such as, less than, greater than, even and odd numbers, consonants and vowels are also used in my games. I currently have five games in all.
*Would you say developing video games has some difficulties exclusive to women?
I came in contact with computers during my junior high school days at First Star Academy. I didn’t do much with computers back then until I entered the university (Ghana Telecom University College) to read information technology. I fell in love with them when I realized I could carry out my own dream with computers. I chose computer games because of my passion for children and the desire to help them learn in interesting ways. I don’t see any major hindrances because of my gender. Once the passion and dedication to develop your games are there, nothing should hold you back. That said, there are frustrations that come with programming which is not that easy on females per their biological make up. (for example in a home situation, a woman normally has additional duties such as babysitting, cooking, keeping the home and this can be a distraction when enough time is needed to code)
*In our society, video games are regarded as the pure reserve of boys, did it feel like you were embarking on a project that would only benefit boys?
Yes, I developed it for children in general – irrespective of their gender.
Should female software developers concentrate on products that will only be used by women or they should develop solutions to global problems that affect both genders?
The world is not made up only females; so for example, my games are not limited to females.
Do you have time to be like the average Ghanaian girl your age?
I strike a balance. I don’t do all the coding work alone. I have friends who help ease the burden on my neck. But I must say it does alter my life a bit from the average girl’s. I spend most of my time developing new game concepts and improving my game.
Have you considered the entrepreneurial aspect of the tech-industry? And have you had any formal training in entrepreneurship?
I have considered the entrepreneurial aspect of game development, but haven’t had any training in the field yet. Hoping to do that when the opportunity arrives. My concentration up until now has been on the development of the game.
Who are your role models or mentors in the tech-industry?*especially locally* Michael Osei Ntow, the lead developer /chief technology officer(CTO) at retailtowers, he inspires me in programming and gives me that push I need when I am frustrated and on the verge of giving up. Mr George Sackey Jr, CEO of E-Toys, Mr.Eyram Tawia, CEO of Leti Art and many more.
To end this interview, can you say a few words of encouragement to the up and coming female tech-entrepreneurs?
Follow your passion because life is too short. Don’t concentrate on the barriers, rather look beyond them. Bare in mind, that once others have succeeded in achieving their dreams you can also achieve yours. All you need is to take that step and don’t apologize for it. Remember to enjoy what you do as well.