In this series, we talk with women who are Microsoft Student Partners so we can understand their experience as women in tech. These women are doing inspiring work in their communities, and we hope these conversations with them inspire others to make a difference and to pursue their passions in tech.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
Today we’re talking with:
Microsoft Student Partner since August 2018
How did you get interested in tech?
I wasn’t interested in computer science in high school, but then I decided to explore what my options were [for a career]. Computer science really interested me then because we interact with technology every day. Now I go to an all-women’s university and I’m surrounded by women in tech. They are all doing wonders.
What’s your favorite music to listen to while coding?
Something soft, not distracting, with good beats. I like Ed Sheeran.
What challenges do you face as a woman in tech?
There are definitely some problems in this area. There’s a lack of female role models. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to go out there and prove myself. The men around me support me to go out there. Every time I ask for help, nobody says no. I have developed mentors to help me and that has helped me a lot.
Other challenges are general to anyone as a student of technology. Which technologies should I master? We learn about different ones every day. We need to understand what our interest really is. I have been exploring a lot of technologies. When I think I know enough for now, I move to the next one. It’s challenging to keep up with all the new tech.
I have one goal in my mind: I want to create an impact, no matter how small it might be. I want to solve real-life problems faced by people in my local community or in the world. My focus is on building something to help others.
What’s the best idea you’ve ever had?
I can think of something we did some time back. The culture is that women help other women in tech. I founded a club with two of my peers, and we created a mentorship program. When we learn from our peers, it’s exponential. We asked students if they would be interested in being mentored in web development and machine learning. The mentees came up with their own idea, so they were invested and committed to seeing it through.
I interviewed some mentors using these tracks and asked them not just about their technical expertise, but also about their willingness to help others. They had to have that piece or the mentor relationship would not work. We ran the program for four months. The mentees really benefitted from it, and so did the mentors. It was beautiful to see them working together. We strongly believed in helping each other.
What do you eat to celebrate when you’ve finished a great piece of work?
Desserts! I like chocolate. It helps to improve my already good mood.
How did you find out about the Microsoft Student Partner program?
Some seniors from my university were conducting events. They told me how to apply, so I did, and now there are 30 Microsoft Student Partners at my all-women’s university. I didn’t know any of these women before they joined the Microsoft program, but once we met, we all collaborated.
Being part of the Microsoft Student Partner program has opened up the community to me, not just at my university. It’s a worldwide program. With Teams, I now have contact with people in the program globally.
I think that I always have something to learn from everyone. This is a platform for sharing and support, and it has the credibility of the name of Microsoft.
What advice would you give to other women who are considering a career in tech?
My advice to them is to keep trying, no matter what. Keep pushing yourself. Try to find a mentor. This really helps. Support can come from anywhere, male peers as well. Find likeminded people. And just remember: whenever we ask for help, nobody says no.
What’s the best thing you get out of the program?
Networking. Definitely. I have stronger bonds and collaborate at events. Learning becomes exponential in collaboration, and I’m learning from peers across the globe.
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