The Superb Rebecca Franks

The first woman on the continent to become a Google expert android developer

Rebecca Franks is breaking new ground in the world of computer science as Africa's first woman Google Developer Expert, and Johannesburg's first ever. She's involved with a Non-Profit Organisation called Book Dash and has created their free children's literacy app. With over 60 books in English, Zulu, Sesotho, Xhosa and Afrikaans, the app contributes to improving the literacy of children in South Africa and Africa at large.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?

My favourite thing to do is bake! I love making any delicious treats and there is always something delicious to eat.

What’s the next thing you’d like to tick off your bucket list?

I’d like to see more of the world, particularly visiting places such as New York City, France and Italy.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I used to be a morning person but recently I have become more of a night owl. I think it fits the programmer stereotype more to be a night owl.

What are the top 10 things on your wishlist?

I am a sucker for gadgets and rose gold coloured items, and I love decorating. 

  1. Dance with the wind print
  2. Watermelon cushion
  3. Roshe NM Fleece
  4. FitBit Alta
  5. Geometric Fox
  6. Midnight Snack Duvet Cover
  7. Watermelon tee
  8. Rusty the Fox lunch bag
  9. Hexagon stool
  10. Stackable basket

What are you reading right now?

I haven’t had much time lately to pick up a good book but I have read all the kids books in my app (that counts right?). On a more serious note, I read a lot of online blog posts and articles related to Android development because as a programmer you are never done learning. 

What’s the weirdest thing in your bag right now?

A Lego Man - well actually a Lego granny. I like to take weird photos of lego everywhere I go, so you have to be ready when the photo opportunity arises.

What’s one question you would ask the president?

What are your plans for improving the literacy rate in South Africa?

What’s the last thing you bought?

A new desk for my home office!

How did you start doing what you do?

I studied Computer Science at the University of Johannesburg, so I guess I chose this career path from the start. I always enjoyed making apps whilst studying and now I get to do it every day. I think the best part of my job is sharing my knowledge with others through my blog, that is the most rewarding part.

What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs wanting to start a business?

If you believe in your idea, go for it. Have a plan as to how you want to make money and by all means, try. No one ever succeeded by doing nothing.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I think the best advice I have received is to not let the negative overpower the positive in your life. You will always find someone trying to bring you down, ignore them and focus on you. It’s your life anyway.

What would you do with a R100 000 investment?

I would put it towards growing my online presence for my blog, which contains Android Development tutorials. I would invest more into advertising the apps I have made and look to using that money to pay for servers and hosting that would be required for my blog to continue.

Which words or phrases do you overuse?

“You should write a blog post about it” is a phrase I am sure people are sick of hearing, I like to encourage others to share what they have learnt. Sharing is an important part of the software development community.

Name the talent you’d most like to have.

I would love to be able to sing and dance but I should probably stay clear of both areas. 

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My fashion sense, it is non-existent and I would love to have someone pick out clothes that will look great for me.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Obtaining my honours degree in Computer Science. I started university not having a clue about programming and within the first week I really believed I couldn’t do it. After the first few months I caught up with the rest of the students and eventually passed cum laude!

What is your most treasured possession?

My phone. I’m kind of obsessed with it and feel really lost without it. I guess it is understandable because I am an app developer, right?

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face in doing what you do?

I think the challenge of an ever-changing environment. One day you learn about something, the next day it's old news and there's already something better out there.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I think most people would know me for my cool earrings that I wear - I have quite a collection of earrings. Ice creams, donuts, rubber ducks, giraffes, and minions - I really enjoy collecting cute earrings.