Female African Tech-oriented Minds – Phyian Karinge

Phyian is one of the tech-oriented women who are helping to drive technological advancements, spur innovation, and improve the lives of people across Africa;

Hi Phyian, thank you for offering to share your story with the world through us. We are delighted to know that you find our work impactful
Hi Winnie. I am happy to share my story on your platform in the hope that a mini Phyian will be inspired.

Let’s start with you telling us your name and giving me a brief rundown of who you are
My name is Phyian Karinge from Kenya. I am the founder of YoungTechiez, a platform that makes Tech Familiar in Africa. I also work as a Product Manager at UrPlug Finance Limited, a UK-based company that helps more students access international education.

We are interested in knowing how you got into this tech-oriented space! Briefly, how did your journey begin?
Brief?…haha no promises!

Well, I’ve always been a happy child, from a loving home. Growing up, I was always teased and called ‘rainbows and sunshine’. I was, and still am a pretty confident person – that 10-year-old kid who got up on tables to sing in the middle of the classroom. At 25, I still do this only with a different name – Karaoke. I excelled in school and ended up doing a bachelor’s degree in Business and Technology (BBIT), which I didn’t enjoy very much. Regardless, I finished it; because I’m keen on completing and following through.

Right after school, I got a job which I found pretty cool but once the stint was up, I got another. This time, the job was so tricky that it had me feeling completely and utterly lost in the tech space. To give some context; I felt like a fish learning how to walk. Out of depth from my strengths and in the pits of a space I did not like.

Luckily, a good friend of mine called Claire Matuka referred me for another role as a Project Manager at a FemTech startup. This was a great role because it allowed me to thrive both professionally and personally. I made incredible connections, friends, and memories and was eventually made Co-Founder of the company. And as every romanticized story goes; I quit my job to pursue my dreams. I like to say I quit my job to realize my dreams, not chase them. My dreams already exist in the spiritual realm, my job is to realize them in the physical realm. This led to my current position as the Founder of YoungTechiez.

As someone who was tech-oriented from a young age, what are some of the challenges you have faced in this tech?
Professionally, my biggest challenge was finding a space in tech that would tap into my strengths and allow me to thrive. Without professional experience, the assumption is that the only career in tech is a coding career. We have a minimal scope of the different roles in the industry. I tried coding and I immediately knew that it was not something I could do for the rest of my career. It took networks and a lot of learning to discover roles that allowed me to create the most value. This eventually birthed the Young Techiez Community; on a mission to make Tech Familiar and to provide tools and information to young people in the tech industry

I know there are many challenges for tech-oriented women. How are you always able to push forward?
Two things – Phyian’s highest self and Phyian’s current self. Phyian’s highest self is successful because she shows up resiliently, consistently, creatively, bravely, assertively, and above all as a person who can do hard things. I try to show up as her, while I honor the Phyian in the now. Phyian in the now is calm, driven, curious, sunshin-ey, and also capable of doing hard things. In both cases, Phyian pushes forward.

Side note; The human spirit is incredibly resilient, I mean look at us…still moving forward.

Tell us about some of your most prestigious achievements as a woman with a tech-oriented mind
To be honest, starting YoungTechiez qualifies as a big achievement in my book. Starting anything is quite audacious. We now have a community of 2500 members and have qualified for 3 programs centered around empowering women in the digital space. Through the WomenWork Digital Future program we won 200USD in ad credits. We also qualified for the Sunlight Absa women empowerment program and most recently the Jammii Femmes African Women Entrepreneurs For Sustainable Impact 2023.

Wow, congratulations to you and the entire team!

Who is Phyian outside of computers and other tech-oriented activities?
I think about this a lot, how I’d describe myself without work. My thought was; if I were the sole survivor of a meteor that hit the earth, what would I do with my time? I came up with three things that bring me joy, with or without an audience; reading, Karaoke, and running.

Besides that; spending time with people gives me energy, so any place with people will recharge me. I have an odd obsessive interest in drugs, psychology, and medical research. In another life, I’m easily a Psychiatrist. I’m big on family, I eat pretty healthily and I love babies, flowers, and sunlight.

What is your favorite quote?
Take it one day at a time” ~ Marijohn Wilkins.

What is your advice for a young girl who is tech-oriented but is not sure what happens next?
I might get some slack for this but tap into your two energies at work. Your feminine and your masculine energies will both play key roles in how you deliver your work. You will find few successful pessimists, so be keen on how you see things. Most things in life happen for you and most things are also random, so roll with the punches. These things are mostly “figure-outtable”. Most importantly, try not to take things personally, because most things are seldom personal. Finally, life is not short or long, it’s instant. Do regular edits on your instant.

Thank you, Phyian, for teaching us more about what we can do with our tech-oriented minds. Your story and positive attitude toward life are going to inspire someone out there. Thank you for volunteering to do this.

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