When taking a look at Mattaniah Aytenfsu’s resume, your first guess wouldn’t be that she had no prior experience within her pursued field going into her freshman year of college.
While balancing being a student in college, the young science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) student worked with the likes of NASA and TaskRabbit — which eventually led to Google.
At 24-years-old, Aytenfsu is a UX engineer for YouTube and a budding TikTok influencer.
The Road To Working At YouTube
Developing a deep knack for math and science during her years of being homeschooled drew Aytenfsu in. Although the college freshman, at the time, entered as a systems engineering major, her path took a turn soon after.
Being a lover of solving puzzles, she had a great sense of knowing when things weren’t fitting well. Realizations lead to new discoveries, which in her case happened to be that computer science, along with her longtime love for design, was her true calling — or rather her missing puzzle piece.
Switching majors sparked the trajectory of Aytenfsu’s work history. Going from failing a physics course in her first college semester to now working at YouTube is the definition of a come-up story.
From her first job of teaching girls how to code to now bringing her creativity to her role at the tech giant, she’s always thrived in spaces where she had the liberty to be hands-on.
Going Viral On TikTok
Always being open to new opportunities and avenues led Aytenfsu to the land of TikTok, where she began posting videos revolving around the intersection of art, design, and engineering.
With multiple viral moments under her belt, it was one particular video that got the social media community buzzing — her painting that she turned into a musical instrument.
The video was uploaded in December 2021, but she initially started the innovative project almost exactly a year from its publish date. Picking back up on it turned into what now stands at nearly 3,000,000 views, as of this writing.
The TikToker’s audience has quickly increased, which has been both an overwhelming and exciting experience for her.
“As an artist on a platform like TikTok, it’s kind of difficult because TikTok is known for being fast-paced,” she expressed about the platform. “TikTokers always talk about how they have to post three different videos a day to stay on the algorithm and things like that. It’s so overwhelming when you’re coming to TikTok as an artist and you want to focus on making art, not just content.”
She continued: “And that’s not to talk down on content because I love content creators. I love watching vloggers, but it’s just so different when it’s coming from a place where you’re creating art. You have to constantly create, but sometimes it’s good. I think being on that platform has pushed me to actually want to finish things and share them.”
Her advice for aspiring Black STEAM students?
She says to tap into the inspiration that can come from both real life and online communities.
“I would say just to stay curious and to really focus on building communities and learning from each other,” Aytenfsu told AfroTech. “I would say the moment that a click switched on for me and I was like, ‘Okay, I can be in tech or I can pursue these different fields’ was when I was placing myself in environments of like-minded people.”
To keep up with her, check out her TikTok.