It is quite laudable that a handful of African youths are impacting the world in different fields and are breaking geographical barriers.
Iddris Sandu was 10 years old when he started learning programming on his own for two years before he got spotted by a designer from Google, who offered him an internship opportunity at the company’s headquarters.
At age 13, he got his first experience with programming and worked on many projects such as initial Google blogger, Google Plus, among others. He also designed an app for his high school that gave students turn by turn directions to navigate their classrooms.
Iddris was a 16-year-old high schooler when he developed a mobile software that gained the attention of the former United States President Barrack Obama, this novel innovation landed him at The White House where he received the honorary presidential award.
Now 22, the Los Angeles-based young man is the unconventional tech guru who has accomplished many incredible feats, including being responsible for algorithms that have made Uber, Instagram and Snapchat what they are today.
The software engineer considers himself a “cultural architect” and said he aims “to level the playing field” between Silicon Valley and young communities of colour. He was inspired and drawn to technology when he saw the first-ever iPhone that was unveiled. In his words “I got super excited. I thought the device was going to change the world. The reason why the iPhone was so important was because it was the first time regular consumers could develop for other regular consumers. Before, you really had to work at a tech company for multiple years to be able to offer any sort of input or to create an app. But Apple made it to mainstream. I knew the future” he said.
Idris Sandu is ensuring that Africans are represented in his line of work. “Information is one of the highest form of class. And that is what keeps people divided. You should be able to think on a higher level, instead of being strictly consumers. And people of colour in particular are more likely to be consumers than creators. It is really hard to get out of poverty or to change the structure of economic power if you are always going to be a consumer rather than creating. Shifting that narrative is what I have been trying to do. And thus far, it’s worked, it’s successful”, he stated.
With a huge drive to empower youths in Africa and to make a positive impact in their communities, the unconventional tech genius is already on his way to become a leader for the next generation of influencers and entrepreneurs.