In this latest series of articles, we are publishing interviews of women who are working as a professional or a student in the technology sector. The objective is to highlight their work and contribution to the industry as well as to the community.
In these interviews, you will find women working in technology to solve real-world problems, to break stereotypes and to create the next big impact on the tech industry. This series of interviews shows that even with the lowest rate of women participation in the labor market in Pakistan, there are still lots of smart women who are creating and using technology to work wonders.
Today, we are featuring Abeer Zahra. Read on to know more about her work and get inspired.
Tell us a little about yourself, your background, your education, and your work.
Hi! I’m Abeer Zehra, a final year student. I’m pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from FAST, NUCES University.
I moved from Bahawalpur to Karachi for my bachelor’s degree. Four years back(i.e. in 2016) and from there my story began. I was the girl who was scared to even catch an auto from my doorstep. Studying in a girls-only college and high school made me more reserved. But that was me till 9th August 2016 before I landed in Karachi. I traveled the first time alone, all the way from Bahawalpur to Karachi. From scaring to standing on the bus stop for my first day at university and traveling half-world alone changed me by 180 degrees!
What are your future plans/aspirations? What impact it will have on the community/society/your team/your project?
Since last year, I felt deprived of a women’s chapter at my university so I along with my friend started working on this. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make a proper wing for women, but we were able to make a platform for the girls of FAST University. Through this platform, we try to make awareness for girls about different growth opportunities. Since I came to know about different opportunities so late, and I don’t want that same thing to be faced by my junior batches. So we try to encourage them to participate more in competitions and events.
Please brag about your career accomplishments, what are the things you are really proud of.?
Last year (2019), I got selected as a GHC student scholar. Going to attend a gathering of almost 25K women from all around the world was mesmerizing. Being selected from a list of participants was something unbelievable for me. It was a three days conference; consisting of many speaker sessions, seminars, and career fairs. There was a two days hackathon. The best part of this conference was that it was sponsored by high tech companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Cisco, and many more. I had the experience of interacting with their recruiters and talking about new trends and technologies: what they are expecting from a fresh graduate and the importance of higher studies. My favorite part of attending any career fair is the swag there and after all, these were high tech companies and so their swags were 😛
What has been your best education/career decision and why.?
Moving to a metropolitan city for the sake of better education was, I guess the best decision of my career. This opened new dimensions for me.
What’re the best lessons you’ve learned?
Remain consistent and determinant.
You can achieve any milestone by remaining consistent and determinant towards your goal.
Which woman inspires you and why?
AnitaB – I guess, she needs no introduction.Dr. Anita Brog combined technical expertise and fearless vision to inspire and motivate women in technology. Her dedication to bring a change for women in tech inspires me. Syster, GHC, institute of women in technology are her accomplishments.
Moreover, she did her Ph.D. at the time when it was not considered as a piece of cake even for males. A computer scientist, a social activist, and what can’t be she labeled. All these inspire me to do some in my country where even today females are 2/8th as compared to males in this field.
Do you think Pakistan has changed as a society, in terms of accepting career-oriented women? What needs to change to help more women come forward?
Umm, I think Yes! Today there are more women-focused tech programs. In the past, the women-focused programs were mostly based upon vocational training. But now, there are many competitions, boot camps, scholarships for women in tech. The mindset which I used to see that computer science is not the field for females is changing by now. Even the ratio of females in new batches at my university has increased.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
To know how to drive in the ocean of knowledge.
If you could change one thing about the tech industry/business, what would it be?
There is a stereotype that a married woman can’t deliver work as efficiently as others. I would change this stereotype. Unfortunately, this stereotype still exists in the industry to some extent.
It is up to women how they will be managing their personal and professional lives. Until or unless they are delivering their work up to the mark, their marital status should not matter to the company.
How can WomenInTechPK help you and other women.?
By making a platform where undergrad females can interact with professional females. By exchanging their experience, professionals can help their juniors a lot.
By making ambassadors in every university, the ambassador would gather females at one platform and provide all the possible assistance.
You can follow Abeer Zehra using her profiles below, and please do not hesitate in hiring her for your next project.