A journey through the eyes of a newbie female developer

Speaker: Ridhwana Khan

Type: Talk

Graduating from a 90% male computer science class, to an initially 100% male software development team, finally allowed me to realise that there is a dire lack of women in the computer science field.

Entering this industry in a minority invokes initial feelings of the need to constantly prove oneself and one's capabilities – normally this puts one at an immediate disadvantage. However, given the correct circumstances, surrounding environments and attitudes, these adverse feelings can quickly be replaced with self-confidence. I was fortunate enough in my daily working environment to have my opinion given the weight that it deserved.

However, experience has also taught me that the sailing is not always so smooth within every aspect of the development field. Certain environments are a lot less welcoming to women because of the strange misconception that they are going against the norms of society.

As a newbie, within the development industry, one has to be able to adapt and have an open mind to gain unbounded knowledge and learning experiences. The world of development is a polyglot environment and striving to build an ambitious career involves lots of hard work and dedication.

I would like to take the audience on a journey to experience the obstacles, growth and challenges that I’ve faced. I also aim to provide concrete suggestions on increasing female willingness to join the tech industry, and improving co-existence in the development environment.

As a developer, my goal is to provide inspiration to capable young women, to fathers who have daughters, brothers who have sisters, and men who have female colleagues. To convey that I have embraced the development environment, and that we within the tech industry should never shy away from the opportunity to increase our pool of passionate developers.

We are proudly South African and most definitely should be known for our diversity….

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