Rebecca Franks

Google developer expert

Rebecca Franks was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. She works as an Android developer full-time creating apps; she also speaks regularly at meet-ups and conferences, mainly about Android.

“It is a fun and exciting profession as there is always a challenge or a puzzle to be solved,” explains Franks. “It is a great feeling being able to tell someone you made an app. The ability to be creative and logical at the same time is what makes programming my passion.”

Last year, Franks decided to get involved with a non-profit organisation called Book Dash, which creates free African storybooks.  After reading the books, she realised that she wanted to help solve the same problem they wanted to solve: improving the literacy of children in South Africa and Africa as a whole. Franks decided to volunteer to create an Android app to showcase all the free books. The app already contains over 60 free books in various different languages such as English, Zulu, Sesotho, Xhosa and Afrikaans.

“The beauty about the whole project is that everything at Book Dash is open-source and free. This means that the app’s source code itself is available for download. These books are uniquely African and tell great stories. Some include bits of history while others inspire you or make you laugh,” she says.

In March of 2016, Franks was selected as a “Google Developer Expert” — a global recognition for her extensive knowledge of the Android ecosystem and contributions to the development community.

“I love that the South African developer community is humble, willing to learn and listen to others. South Africans are also hungry for knowledge,” she adds.

She is the first Google developer expert in Johannesburg and the first female in Africa to receive this title.

“Being the first female in Africa to obtain this status is important, as it will encourage other females to take up a career in Stem and it also shows that this line of work is not just for men; women can do it too. I believe that I am also setting a good example for younger women by encouraging them to learn and grow their careers.” — Tiana Cline

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