Women in Tech: Meet Rafia Farooq
Happy Women’s History Month to all the amazing women in tech!
This month, we celebrate the contributions of women throughout history who have shattered barriers and made significant strides in the tech industry.
From Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, to Grace Hopper, who developed the first compiler, women have played a pivotal role in shaping the technology we use today.
Let’s continue to celebrate, empower, and inspire the next generation of women in tech!
#WomensHistoryMonth #WomenInTech #GirlPower
LT: What inspired you to pursue a career in technology?
RF: I am a volunteer teacher and wanted a career which would allow me to continue helping the community through my volunteer activities while giving me the ability to achieve financial independence. Also, I noticed during my volunteer activities how each and every institution is in need of a tech professional and I hoped to be able to contribute to the community by offering my services in this department too. My aunt who is a self taught IT professional suggested I try my hand at coding. And before I knew it I was in love with coding (some languages more than others) 😉 and it became a hobby and passion.
LT: What challenges have you faced as a woman in the tech industry, and how have you overcome them?
RF: I am from Pakistan where many companies work in partnership with clients or companies in the West. Due to the time difference, many of the job positions available are limited to very late night shifts and as a woman it became quite difficult and restrictive to find a good job at a reputable company and not face the difficulty of commuting at late hours. Luckily, the availability of remote job positions solved the problem for me. I am working for a woman owned company in the US (Lavender Turtle!) without worrying about the hassle of commuting at odd hours.
LT: In your opinion, what can companies do to improve diversity and inclusivity in the tech industry?
RF: Sometimes the focus is largely on the degrees whereas some positions need skill more than theoretical knowledge. I guess give people with non-tech backgrounds a chance to show what they can do, especially if they seem committed and hardworking.
LT: What advice would you give to young women who are interested in pursuing a career in technology?
RF: The two things that benefitted me the most were being consistent and making connections. Firstly, don’t give up. Some languages / concepts take time but it is not impossible. Try different languages, frameworks, fields and when you find the path you like then commit to it. The second thing was a challenge for me, being an introvert I had to constantly remind myself to connect with others in order to find work. It paid in the end and initially I found some freelance clients and then my current internship.
LT: What technologies or trends in the tech industry are you most excited about?
RF: Artificial intelligence in the field of medicine is quite intriguing.
LT: How do you stay current with the latest developments in the tech industry?
RF: I like to go through the job boards and read the requirements for the jobs roles that I would hypothetically apply to and see if I have the skills listed for that position. It gives me a good idea of what is in-demand at the moment and what new technologies I need to familiarize myself with. In addition, keeping up with tech groups through slack helps a lot.
LT: What are your goals for your career in technology, and what steps are you taking to achieve them?
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