Impostor Syndrome – A Silent Topic Among New Engineers


Starting out as a software engineer is not easy. Tech companies are competitive and keeping up with the ever-evolving technology is challenging. When I started at Ona as an intern, surrounded by smart people and high expectations, I began to have feelings of inadequacy. Which is why I’m sharing my experience with imposter syndrome and the ways I’ve managed my feelings to let others know that, however unpleasant, these feelings are common and surmountable.

My story

My internship started after passing a rigorous interview. I received the opportunity and challenge to work with a bigger engineering team. My initial tasks were to setup the development environment and familiarize myself with tools used at Ona, including: Docker, Ansible, and more — which were all completely new to me. I wondered if the timeline I had for the setup was long enough. I made up my mind not to go the old school way of watching YouTube tutorials, fearing someone would peep at me watching tuts instead of going through documentation.

After the setup, I had to read through existing code and build new features on top of it. Boom! New libraries, APIs and frameworks. Looking through the code base, my brain shutdown for a moment. It was not the normal Android code I was familiar with (using Activities and Intents). Events, sync adapters, rules engines, and Mapbox were bizarre and unfamiliar concepts. I felt pressure to keep up with code standards and write quality code at par with other engineers in the team. I started to feel I was not up to the challenge.

After losing confidence, I discovered what I was going through is known as impostor syndrome and decided to research ways of overcoming it. I’ve concluded it’s a rarely discussed topic among engineers, yet a common phenomenon that many can relate to and have come across. You may be having this persistent feeling of “Oh! I feel like I’m faking it.” Or, thoughts like “I just got lucky”, “I am not worth this job”, ”they did me a favor” etc. are just so familiar to you that they can’t seem to fade away. If you sometimes become anxious, stressed and feel sorry for yourself, read on.

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Ona Engineers Presenting at droidconKE August 8th and 9th


We are very excited to be at droidconKE this Thursday and Friday to see two presentations from Ona Engineers. Droidcon is a global conference focused on the engineering of Android applications. The gathering held at the iHub in Nairobi Kenya from August 8th to 9th 2019 will be the largest of its kind in Africa.

Allan Onchuru will be presenting on open sourcing engineering products and working on open source projects.

Ephraim Kigamba will be presenting on writing tests for Android, including why to write them, how to write them, why people don’t write them, and what happens when you don’t write them.

We’re hoping to see you there!

Joining our solutions team: My time at Ona so far


Ona staff having lunch

Ona staff having lunch on the kitchen island

Every day at Ona presents a new learning opportunity — more so when working in the Client Solutions and Support team. Working on this team has greatly contributed to my learning of the Ona system, since clients bring up issues and requests that require a lot of research and troubleshooting. So the silver lining of every complaint email is it becomes a learning experience for me.

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Data Verification in Ona using Submission Review


Data review is a key step in the data collection process that ensures completeness, consistency, accuracy, and appropriateness of data, and generally builds confidence in data used for decision making. We are introducing a submission review feature to paid Ona accounts so teams can collaboratively review submissions and assign pending, accepted or rejected statuses.

Submission review lets you add a data verification step to incoming submissions in the Ona platform, replacing an inefficient workflow you are probably doing offline and simplifying the work of data managers/supervisors.

review button

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Ona News Update


Ona Supports Emergency Response in Mozambique and Zimbabwe Post Cyclone Idai

Biera floods

Damaged buildings in Beira, Mozambique post Cyclone Idai. Photo credit: Sean Blaschke/UNICEF/2019

Ona was contracted by UNICEF to help define, build, and deploy a solution for the emergency response in Mozambique and Zimbabwe after the devastating Cyclone Idai hit the coast of the two countries affecting 1.7 million people.

canopy dashboard screenshot

Cyclone Idai Response Platform showing the cyclone path and the extent of flooding in both Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Courtesy of Ona, MapAction and OCHA (HDX)

Our team established powerful, map-based information management portals that enabled the emergency response team to create data visualizations from multiple disparate systems and data collection. These portals, powered by Canopy, mapped out all key infrastructure services, including functional energy posts, water points, population census data, road access conditions etc. and visualize data from rapid and aerial assessments. Read more on the Cyclone Idai response.

What’s new?

Introducing Submission Review

We’re excited to announce the release of ‘Submission Review’, a premium feature that lets you verify the accuracy of data submitted to your Ona account. The review process is done directly from the table view by selecting and marking a submission as approved or rejected before exporting it or sending it to your preferred analytics tool. Submissions that are not yet approved/rejected are marked as pending by default.

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