Nevertheless, Teeks Coded

atiqazafar profile image Atiqa Zafar ・3 min read

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I began coding because

It empowered me! Born and raised in the small town of Sukkur, Pakistan by a single mother with support of her brother - my interests in computer science started when I was 13 years old and had a computer lab built in my school as part of NCC Education program. Always fond of mathematics and problem solving – this was an exciting experience for me as I didn't own a personal computer at home and I instantly fell in love with computers.

What began as writing my first ever program in Logo, resulted soon in mastering Microsoft Office, playing with sensors in LogITLab and developing software solutions in VB.net and C. At sixteen, I successfully automated the Library Management System of our school, that was deployed in the school library to persist data about students and books, track transactions and calculate fines. This gave me ‘THE INITIAL PUSH' to pursue computer science! I was amazed at how technology could help us to improve our lives and how it allowed me to be a contributor to that change. Coding became my superpower! In 2012, I went on to pursue a Bachelors in Software Engineering from NUST (Islamabad, Pakistan) where I took courses in Data Structures and Algorithms, Database Design and Implementation, Software Construction, Statistics, Distributed Computing and Computer Vision.Over these years, I have actively taken part in local social hackathons and developed Android Apps to solve a number of issues like e-commerce solutions for cottage industries, crime and emergency reporting and analysis, and learning data structures(linked lists, trees, queues etc) through simulations. I also built a .NET based desktop solution for constraint optimization of exam scheduling as the final year project for my Bachelor's degree last summer.

I'm currently hacking on

data services built using Azure based technologies and docker containers as a Software Engineer at Bentley Systems where I am part of the Strategic Technology Advancement (R&D) Group, that is responsible for developing innovative ideas, tools and technologies that the product factories of Bentley can adopt in their current and future engineering and infrastructure solutions. Apart from these projects at work, I am utilizing my weekends to build an understanding of the tools needed to analyse and visualize data through Microsoft Codess Sponsored Professional Program in Data Science Track

I'm excited about

how Data analysis is revolutionizing industries from business to government, health care to academia. I am passionate about discovering interesting things about how people interact with their world and with each other, and relay impactful and approachable information about social issues. For this, I am using python and building an understanding of the key topics, like statistics and machine learning to prepare and manipulate data sets for predictive and prescriptive modelling, that i could employ in my future projects to examine data from a variety of angles and determine hidden trends.

My advice for other women who code is

build your WWC community! Community is a powerful thing. t shapes how you think, what decisions you make and what challenges you take! Computer Science has numerous challenges and problems to solve today, and every single contribution matters a lot. Make an effort today to surround yourself with people who inspire you to take those challenges & solve those problems with technology. Make an effort today to inspire your friends to take those challenges and solve those problems with technology as well.

I firmly believe that Code can empower and have experienced it in my own life story. Starting from my humble beginnings, I stand at a position where I can understand the potential of technology and can explore it. In Pakistan, very few women sign up for STEM careers due to lack of support and guidance; but I have seen it how girls respond more positively toward mathematics and problem-solving if they are encouraged. In one of our community workshop organized at an all-girls public school for 3 weeks, we saw how girls who hated algebra, started to look at the word problems with fresh perspective and had fun translating those problems into equations. I want to change the mindset about girls in STEM and to empower girls with the super power of tackling and solving problems through code; and I am willing to do everything in my power to bring this dream into reality and shift the balance in our society of gender inequality!


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