Tatenda Matika is a 26-year-old Zimbabwean-born techie specializing in Data Science and AI. She is an AIMS Next Einstein Alumni, Tea in 60 mentor, and a Codebytes contributor. Tatenda is currently a Data Science and AI research fellow at the University of Tübingen in Germany. Impressive right? No wonder Tatenda is our very first Techie of the Week. A new weekly segment where we profile Zimbabwean Techies doing amazing things globally in a bid to inspire those still coming up and, in the words of Winky-D, "kupa vanhu Sando dzavo".
Tatenda runs a Youtube channel focusing on Africans in Data Science and AI, where she interviews Africa's emerging AI leaders and also shares her personal journey. That shouldn't fool you though; Tatenda knows how to balance her professional and social life. Aside from tech, she is also an avid explorer and foodie.
We recently sat down with Tatenda and had a short interview; below is the excerpt:
What made you get into tech?
I chose Computer Studies as a practical subject in high school because it seemed challenging, and I wanted to challenge myself. This is the one time that I actually chose to be in my field. For varsity, I applied for engineering, but ended up getting a place for Computer Science. So I guess I can say Computer Science chose me.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on a research project in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, specifically, Computer Vision and Eye Tracking
What qualifications do you have?
BSc Honours Computer Science and MSc Mathematical Science
What are some of your notable achievements?
None that I can think of. When I hear notable, I think being the best or winning something, and I'm yet to win something or be recognized as the best in my area of work.
What technology (tech stack) do you work with?
Python, R, IBM SPSS, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Power BI
What are some fun facts about yourself?
My birthday is on the 29th of February, so it occurs once every 4 years. I have a twin brother. I write down jokes in case we ever play a game of stand up comedy, but that has never happened.
What advice would you like to give other techies?
This is for beginners. There are so many things that people will tell you that you need to learn when you're starting out, and sometimes it may feel overwhelming. But you don't need to know everything. Even experienced people google simple things, use stack overflow and copy paste code. Just take it one step at a time and be consistent.
Who are your favorite people in tech?
Fei Fei Li, a Co-Director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence a Co-Director of the Stanford Vision and Learning Lab.
Pranav Rajpurkar, an Assistant Professor at Harvard, and I'm following his course in AI Research Methods :)
Babusi Nyoni, founder of Sila Health
Leonard Mutambanengwe, cofounder of Data Science Zimbabwe
Where can we find you on social media?
Still want to know more about Tatenda, check out this AMA episode on her Youtube channel.