Tech Series: Meet Iheanyi, a software enginerd
Styling by Christina Madry
It was about 9AM, right before it started raining, that Iheanyi walked into the studio, wearing layers of all black. Just the style perfect for those - Is it winter or spring?- days. Iheanyi, a first-generation Nigerian-American, is a software engineer (or enginerd as he signs)who also enjoys software design. "It was a lot of fun!" was his reponse when asked about his recent trip to Nigeria. He was quick to mesmerize how far his dollar could go back home. His love for tech spews out in different aspects of his life. From teaching some tech courses online to speaking at tech conferences. As we talked, he explained "I really got into tech and loved it. I'm glad it worked out." This was right before we started the interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I'm a first-generation Nigerian-American born and raised in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I went to college at the University of Notre Dame, where I studied Computer Science and Graphic Design. During the day, I work as a Software Engineer at DigitalOcean. When I'm not coding or designing things, I'm most likely either playing video games (Overwatch is my jam) or most likely reading a book.
How do you describe your style?
My style is kind of hard to describe, I think. It's pretty laid back and casual, but I tend to just stick with the basics. I tend to wear basic, dark colors (white, grays, and blacks mostly), with dark shades of other colors sometimes (burgundy, greens, and blues). Some people describe it as streetwear, but honestly I don't really know how to label it, haha.
What is your daytime style? How does your style evolve into the evening?
Daytime style tends to match up with my evening style, generally. I'm a huge fan of layers, so in the spring and fall, you'll most likely find me wearing a bomber jacket layered over a light sweater of sorts. Generally, I prefer wearing solid color crewnecks or buttondowns underneath my layers, depending on the weather. I tend to take the outer jacket off during the day, but definitely prefer keeping it on since it gets chillier in the evening. I don't really have a dress code at work, so I don't find the need to change up my style inside and outside of the office.
What is on your playlist?
Last thing I listened to is the Black Panther album from the new film. It's a straight banger. On the other hand, I've been obsessed with the album Laila's Wisdom by Rapsody. I love this album for a few reasons. One, Rapsody's wordplay is something that I think is unparalleled and her flow is also pretty unique as well. Two, she's from North Carolina and being from the Carolinas myself, I love supporting amazing talent from the area. Three, the production on the album is also amazing, with production from one of my favorite producers, 9th Wonder.
Your love side projects: Can you tell us about one of them?
Ah, side projects keep me sharp and on my toes. I think my favorite one from the last year is Interface Lovers. It's an online magazine where we interview various product designers from the tech industry and get their wisdom and thoughts out into the world. Its blown up way more than I ever expected, to be honest, but it was a blast to work on and I'm excited to see what happens with in 2018.
What does “My Heritage My Inheritance" mean to you?
My heritage, My inheritance? Hm, if anything, heritage is something that is inherited from your ancestors, right? Even though I was raised in the United States, my parents would always scold me when me and my siblings were acting out and say, "Oh, so you think you are American?" I have a pretty strong connection to my Nigerian culture and honestly, it's on the parents of individuals to make sure their children inherit a key understand of their heritage and where they come from. Similarly, it's going to be on me to pass the same knowledge down to my children.
Tell us about your design process?
Oh boy. I rarely do design work anymore but I generally start with rough wireframes for most things. When it comes to websites, I tend to design directly in the browser rather than in Sketch, just because it's faster for me to iterate in the browser than it is for me to iterate locally.
What/Who are your influences?
To be honest, I can't think of any influences that I have right now when it comes to things. I've been looking for inspiration, but I haven't been finding it as of lately.
What inspired you to get into tech?
I wanted to be a game developer and ended up going the Computer Science route in college. I fell in love with programming in college and I just stuck with it. Rather than working in the game industry, I decided to enter the tech industry and I've been here.
What’s the last investment piece of clothing you purchased?
Hmmm, last investment piece of clothing I purchased? Probably my triple black Yeezy Boost 750s. Honestly, I'm a fan of what Adidas has been doing recently in their clothing and shoe game, from simple things such as the Stan Smiths, to more expensive shoes such as the Yeezy Boosts or Y3. And I really dig the aesthetic of the 750s, so I had to have them.
What African fashion brands are on your radar?
Probably Yomi Casual. It's the one brand I have committed to memory. He designed the traditional clothes for my sister's wedding last year and it was really on point. I"m looking forward to hopefully picking up a few more pieces from him in the future.
See Tech Series interview with Jordan Obi(right), a software designer.