My Pivot Journal is a Ventures Africa weekly series documenting people’s career transitions from one industry to another, especially to tech.
Enajite Efemuaye has a wealth of experience in the media and communications space although she did not take any course in that field. When it comes to pursuing her passion, she has learnt to take risks no matter the cost. It’s been over a decade since she earned her first degree in Chemical Engineering and Enajite has pivoted to work as the Communications Manager, Pivo Africa – a finance platform for the supply chain.
How it started
Enajite has always had a flair for the arts. As a child, she nurtured an aspiration of becoming a lawyer but had to abandon that dream because of a popular belief that law was not a lucrative profession. Instead, she studied Chemical Engineering at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Univerity, Akwa.
Enajite admitted to having had a bit of a struggle in the process of earning her first degree. “I wasn’t a terrible student, but I wasn’t the best student really,” she said. Eventually, she carried over a course and had to wait an extra year to earn her engineering degree in 2009. It was at that time that fate came beckoning.
While waiting a year for her last paper, she ran into an alumni who had a printing press business in Awka. He offered her an internship as a graphics designer in his business. “So while I was to take the course I had carried over, I was going to his office to learn graphics design. Three months after, he offered me a job. I think we started at N15,ooo,” she added. “Part of my work was to do the layout of books. In the process of doing layouts, I also started editing books.” She worked with the printing press between 2008 and 2010 before answering the clarion call to serve her fatherland in Jigawa state – NYSC.
All the skills she had acquired in the press would later prove useful during and after her service year as she made a living running a small printing press in the northern state. “I started producing the constitution booklets for NYSC clubs, Sunday bulletins for my church, exam questions for some secondary schools, and manual binding of books. Once in a while, I had bigger jobs that required me to go source for materials in Kano,” she recounted. Sadly, the violence following the 2011 elections – reinstating ex-President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan – sent her back to Awka with nothing, save her laptop and a tiny bag.
Later she worked with an NGO as a Programme Coordinator for two years before relocating to Lagos to take up a writing and editing job. “While I worked at the NGO I was also writing and participated in a weekly competition organised by one of Nigeria’s commercial banks. I won it three times in a row. I remember one of the judges was Toni Kan, a renowned Nigerian author,” she added. Kan later invited her to Lagos to handle the editing segment of Sabinews, a segment of Radi8 Media, his PR company.
Enajite quit the job after 20 months to acquire a degree in communications. While waiting to take a post-graduate form, she landed another editing role with Kachifo Ltd as an Enterprise Editor, and later, Managing Editor. She stayed in that role for four and a half years. On one of those days, the business encountered some technical problems while trying to make payments digitally. So they had a back and forth with the fintech responsible for the payment gateway. “It was just very interesting to me, you know. I wondered what went into building something that allowed you to make payments digitally. That was where my interest in tech started,” she said.
Her journey with Kachifo Ltd ended in 2020 following the fallout between the Nigerian youth and government officials at the “End SARS” protest of October 2020. “I felt lost and hopeless. There was nothing to look forward to in Nigeria anymore,” she resigned. Her survival instinct drove her to freelance while she stayed out of a steady job until 2021 when she decided to transition to tech.
As her interest in tech grew, “I didn’t consider writing code at all when my interest in tesch sparked. I could not do the heavy ‘tech’ lifting. So I queried how my current skill sets could work in tech and found that communication was my first entry point to tech,” she stated. In December 2021, Enajite chatted with Nkiru Amadi Emina, CEO of Pivo Africa, over a post she had made on social media. In the process, she pitched her interest in the tech sector and by February 2022, landed a role as Communications Manager with Pivo Africa.
How it’s going
Enajite did not need a specialised course to fit into her new role. She pivoted with an already existing skill set in writing and editing to become a communications manager. But it was not an easy ride all the way. “What was new for me was the tech part of things – tech jargons, fundraising and just generally understanding who does what,” she noted.
To understand the intricacies of her new industry and to communicate them plainly to customers, Enajite began to engage in a lot of online research to catch up with terms and news in the tech industry. Following tech professionals and listening to tech conversations on social media became a norm. “I followed a lot of tech platforms and people in tech, not just people in the communication field but also the software engineers, front-end developers and as many people as I could on social media. Half the time, I did not understand what you were talking about but I kept at it,” she laughed.
Currently, she lives in the neighbouring Republic of Benin, where she works remotely from home and sometimes travels to Lagos, Nigeria, to work on-site.
Research and ask questions.
“Be ready to do a lot of research. Be ready to ask questions, especially from your colleagues that function in the technical aspects of the industry.”
Age is not a barrier.
“Age should not be a barrier to anyone who wants to transition to tech. So do not entertain the idea that you have to be in your 20s. I made this change at 35. I also have friends in their late 30s transitioning into tech.”