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 Amna Feroze. Read on to know more about her work and get inspired.
Tell us a little about yourself, your background, your education, and your work.
I am a Computer Software Engineer, and I graduated from M.C.S., N.U.S.T. in 2014. I have a passion for digital arts and design. Art was my hobby since childhood, but the whole “Dr. or Engineer” philosophy of our society and my parents made me deviate from Arts. However, you cannot merely put out your passion. So, I found my love for arts in the digital realm.
The bombardment of knowledge was just a click away. I was amazed at how technology had evolved and brought digital arts to its new peak with various fields like animations, logo designing, illustrations, web/mobile design, and whatnot.
I did what any crazy art freak would do just dove in taking into the YouTube tutorials to learning amazing tools to buying my first ever graphics tablets. I just couldn’t stop myself from learning more and more. And that’s how I became a confident UI/UX Designer.
Currently, I am working as a UI/UX Lead designer at Digital Street. I have been working as a UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) designer for the past five years.
Designing illustrations, logos, and cartoons are my favorite hobby. I have just started my page amz_illustrations on Instagram, where I publish my artwork.
What are your plans/aspirations? What impact will it have on the community/society/your team/your project?
I want to increase my expertise and skills in the field of UI/UX; being a self-taught designer is tough every day you learn new things, and you are competing with experts across the globe. I want to study my field further and learn more about the possibilities and enhancements that can be achieved and push myself to increase my skills.
But most importantly, I want to set an example and make the field of UI/UX well known to I.T. professionals of Pakistan like other conventional fields of development, Q.A. etc
Please brag about your career accomplishments, what are the things you are proud of?
When I won a logo design competition online, the thrill of winning while competing with international designers from across the globe was something out of this world. That was a turning point for me; it made me realize that this is something that I can transform into a career.
I am proud of the fact that whatever I did was based on my interests and passion. With more than five years of industrial experience, I have done various projects which are currently up and running. One of the most important accomplishments I would say for me is Defence Project, which was a unique idea and a great learning opportunity for me.
I would like to mention here Naizindagi a rehab system for drug addicts, the feeling you get that your work is being used for the benefit of humanity is unique indeed.
While working with the digital street, I am proud of redesigning the experience and interface for the app Foona Review a global platform for discovering & sharing good food, eateries, recipes & experiences. Foona Review is the first-ever social networking app in Pakistan for people who love to eat.
What has been your best education/career decision, and why?
Well, I am proud of taking a step towards digital arts, knowing very well that I was deviating from my field, i.e., Computer Software. I was merging the two my “passion for arts” and my “degree i-e professional education”. I learnt about front-end development. It was not only fun, but I got to keep the thrill of design alive with web development.
They were joining digital.st as a UI/UX Designer was a great decision. The job description was exactly what I wanted to do.
It’s always good to combine one’s profession, and passion as the results would be multiplied exponentially which commonly is a fear among Pakistani society, to only looking for leading or famous businesses like Dr, Engineer, etc
What’re the best lessons you’ve learned?
It is never easy!! If you want to achieve something, you must put your heart into it. Working hard is the key, no matter which field you are in. If you believe in what you love, there is nothing that can stop you. Keep your aims high and reach for the stars.
Michelangelo once said, “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high, and we miss it, but that it is too low, and we reach it.”
There are a lot of fields which can be explored by young aspirers’ rather than limiting to stereotype professions prevailing in the society, but it requires courage to go against the wind.
Which woman inspires you and why?
Laraib Atta, hailing from a village in Pakistan she became the youngest Pakistani to work in Hollywood as a VFX artist. She did her first Hollywood film at the young age of 19. She has worked on blockbusters including Mission Impossible Fallout, 10,000 BC, The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince of Persia, Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past. She also worked for B.B.C., Glassworks Barcelona, and M.P.C.
J.K Rowling, the author of the famous Harry Potter series, she emerged from relative poverty and became a billionaire. Through her power of writing, she encouraged children and showcased women as a robust role model. She showed how the magic of literature could be used to influence the world.
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?
So, there are two viewpoints
From the perspective of acceptance in society: Yes, the stereotypical thinking of the Pakistani community has gradually improved; but there is a need for a complete system at State level to support career-oriented women where still a vacuum persists. Today more women are pursuing jobs, and their talent is being appreciated and acknowledged. The rise in technological facilities and awareness through social media has made people more aware of a significant segment of society being left out of the field.
From the perspective of organizational demand: The acceptance of women is still very less on a national level. Male domination persists.
Recommendations to improve / encourage / absorb women’s in lead role / professionalism:
Teachings of Quran and Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) to spread education (i-e Iqra) to bring a 100% literacy rate in the society/country that includes uniform and free education system.
Provision of Conducive working environment by the state through strict legislation and the rule of law in the country.
To help women move forward, a definite requirement is the support of their family and friends.
National level awareness that diversity and inclusion bring better minds together and improved society.
We must look into international laws of the ratio of men and women in an organization and imply the same in local organizations to provide equal opportunities.
We also need to have more guiding platforms for women who wish to pursue a career but are unaware of the opportunities that can be availed.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
In today’s competitive and technological world, the biggest challenge is to be unique. I.T. Boom and everyday emerging technologies are making global reach possible with a single click. One can pursue right online and distant professions to offer services / free-lance activities; one must now compete at a global level rather than in the closed circle of previous times. A person needs to be the best at what they do and showcases their talent to the extent that they stand out from the rest.
If you could change one thing about the tech industry/business, what would it be?
Technology is evolving at a breakneck pace. People need to acknowledge the power of technology and benefit from it to the fullest. Most of the clients I have worked with are afraid of change. People need to stay updated to the latest trends and evolve accordingly. The technological world is changing so fast that it would be impossible to cope with the world if you are stuck in the past.
How can WomenInTechPK help you and other women?
WomenInTechPK is a fantastic platform that has interconnected all the talented women of Pakistan. They are a guiding beacon to all the women in Pakistan.
WomenInTechPK can guide women by holding training workshops that would not only enhance their knowledge and skills but also help women to understand the working environment.
You can follow Amna Feroze using her profiles below, and please do not hesitate in hiring her for your next project.