In this latest series of articles, we are publishing interviews of some incredible women who are part of the tech industry or the broader STEM fields.
In these interviews, you will find women working on solving real-world problems, breaking stereotypes and creating the next big impact on the 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 Shumaila Khan. 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 an IT graduate from Jinnah University for Women and have been working in the industry for the past 8+ years. I have gained multiple local and international certification throughout my academic and career. I still love to learn about new technologies.
I started my career as a PHP developer and gradually moved to become a Senior Application Engineer. I go through everything that comes to my way with passion, consistency, and dedication. My hard work takes me to this successful career and I extremely love what I do. Luckily, I have been appreciated and acknowledged various time for my hard work and dedication to my work.
Three years ago, I lost my mother and had to leave my job due to health issues so started my own blog to deal with my depression.
Currently, I am working as a freelance eCommerce Consultant and building my own startup n-square. It’s been 3 years of freelancing and providing services as a company to local and international clients and all I can say is “the fun has just begun!”
What are your future plans/aspirations? What impact it will have on the community/society/your team/your project?
I have multiple aspirations for multiple roles I carry. I am super eager and planning to execute them at my own pace as I’ve just stepped up in motherhood club.
I want to pursue my Masters from a renowned university as a distant learning program. As an eCommerce consultant, I am willing to attempt “Magento Certification” in the coming year. Also, I am planning to teach “Magento” for females voluntarily because we have very small numbers of female Magento developers in Pakistan and none of the institutions are offering this particular learning opportunity.
I have been working on my own startup and a product. I am focusing more on building a remote women-only team for my startup which won’t only provide technical training but flexible working time according to their responsibility in personal lives and society. By doing so, I wish to let the world know that women can manage a ‘programming’ related job with any other role if she wishes.
Please brag about your career accomplishments, what are the things you are really proud of?
I am a hard-working person by nature so when I choose CS as my subject in Matriculation, it intrigued me that what happens behind each click I do. This curiosity led me throughout and questions might have changed but the journey is still going on…
I started my career as a basic core PHP developer and bagged every challenge under my scarf, be it a new technology or a unicorn boss. I love coding and always has a very smooth relationship with my QA.team, ask why? Because I believe they taught me a different perspective each time and help me to become a better programmer.
One of the major achievements I’d like to mention is that I’ve become an interim PM for a month in my last full-time job, that too, by recommendation of the project manager who was always a big big critic to me. I felt great and happy and did my best in his absence.
What has been your best education/career decision and why?
Be at home. No, Seriously! I got married in 2016 and decided to say goodbye to full day in the office and remain in traffic Lifestyle.
To keep my workaholic nature and my depression at peace I started blogging, did it a few months but I am not a writer but a programmer by heart! I resumed my work instantly from home and never looked back. Recently I started looking into distance learning and loving the independence it has given me. I have gained around 8 online certifications while being pregnant and raising an infant. Isn’t just amazing?
I urge everyone to think about it and try to adapt it because its an amazing opportunity to learn and work from home while giving plenty of time to your family and yourself.
What’re the best lessons you’ve learned?
- Love your work but don’t get to attach to the place or people. The world out there is too practical and cruel honestly.
- Don’t give up, you’re never late to start or restart something in your life.
- Payback to community and that’s how you’ll keep finding the right people to help you grow continuously!
Which woman inspires you and why?
I am not into history or inspirational tales, I find people around me to get inspiration. My biggest inspirations are few ladies from WomenInTechPK community including Faiza Yousuf, Shamim Rajani, Samina Faisal Khan(Forifix) and Sanam Asif from Miryana. These are the women who have their fair share of struggles but they always raise and keep going up high!
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?
A bit, yes. But still we are facing the same challenges and point of views yet I think a chunk of our generation has got exposure in pursuing a career which gives me hope for a better future.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
To prove that they can manage their personal and professional life simultaneously.
If you could change one thing about the tech industry/business, what would it be?
Women using ‘women’ flag. We all have to understand that when women are demanding equality and talking about gender diversity they should not use this flag.
How can WomenInTechPK help you and other women?
WomenInTechPK group is a lifesaver for me. It gives me motivation and lots of workstreams. And I am sure it has done a lot more for many other women. It’s a safe space to learn and grow for women.
You can follow Shumaila Khan using her profiles below, and please do not hesitate in hiring her for your next project.