Why the Gender Gap in Software Engineering | Daily Express Online
According to Faezrah Rizalman, CEO of Rambutan Code Academy (RCA), there are only two women who have signed up for RCA’s full-time Full Stack software development program which began early last month.
Because of this, Faezrah decided to give them a 50 percent scholarship for the course, and she had recently offered a partial scholarship worth RM 1,000 for the part-time Full Stack Software Development course.
“As a woman, I realized there was a need to support women and guide them through technology,” she told Daily Express in an exclusive interview.
Faezrah learned to code at the age of 14 and started using a computer at the age of eight. Her passion for technology made her want to continue her studies in computer science, however, her family opposed it because they did not see much future in the field.
She listens to her parents and goes to London to study law. Although she attended the University of Buckingham and obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree, her passion has always been for technology.
After graduation, she enrolled in a 12 week intensive coding boot camp in Europe and ventured into the tech industry as a career. Now a business owner, Faezrah runs her own school that teaches the Sabahans how to code in months, just like what she learned before.
In the male-dominated industry, Faezrah was the only woman to work as a junior software engineer at one of Kuala Lumpur’s hottest tech companies. Once she felt like giving up, she thought she was a fraud and even once she experienced impostor syndrome.
Currently, most of the coding school staff are men, as fewer women apply for the jobs and Faezrah has also hired graduates from her academy, mostly men.
“I lived it. So, I know the characteristics of the people I’m looking for when hiring for roles; people I want to work with and be part of my team and it doesn’t matter if they are women or men.
“I’ve seen my fair share of training junior engineers, whether as a member of another team or as a manager,” said Faezrah, who also owns Pandan Digital, an innovative software solution in the state.
As Sabahan herself, Faezrah has always wanted to empower other Sabahan women with technology, especially rural women farmers. And that led her to create a mobile app and e-commerce platform called Bayu Harvest, which connects these farmers with buyers looking for locally grown agricultural products and moving their produce through a chain of high added value supply.
His invention also won an international competition organized by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Chile three years ago.
“In 2019, I won or rather received the Apec Digital Prosperity Award in Chile. Apec is an intergovernmental forum for 21 member economies, held annually, and the venue for meetings is alternated between members.
“The award was supposed to be announced during leaders’ week in Santiago in November 2019, but it was canceled due to a series of massive protests and riots in October of the same year,” she said. said, adding that the announcement and awards ceremony was then taking place. held in Langkawi in December 2020 during the first Senior Officials Meeting (SOM).
She said the Sabahans should take the opportunity when it presents itself and when they see an opportunity, they should be prepared to take the plunge.
“One of the lessons the pandemic has taught us is that we have befriended technology, and there is no turning back. The Covid-19 pandemic is accelerating digital transformations in businesses as they attempt to become more resilient to future epidemics and disruption.
“We have been forced to learn new technologies, new tools and software just to carry out our daily tasks, which shows that we all need to have some degree of digital literacy, no matter what industry we work in. take steps to improve your skills or develop yourself, ”she added.
She also urged the Sabahans, men and women, to be a maker, a creator, an innovator because the future is for those who can make, create, innovate, and less for those who are content to use. If nothing goes their way, then they should start doing it.
It is the only way for them to move forward as a nation.
Faezrah said they should learn to code because it’s the language of the future, and coding is no longer (just) just for people who want to create things or become engineers. Coding should now be seen as crucial as the ability to speak English (basic) in order to ensure the sustainability of one’s career.
“Code improves your skills in logic, not necessarily math, but just logical thinking, and promotes creativity. It also teaches you how to solve problems, as coders typically learn to break complex problems down into simpler ones.
“These are the necessary skills that you need not only in the digital world, but in any industry you want to be in,” she said, adding that they should also teach their children to code. because coding prepares them for the careers of the future. , and teaches them how to become future creators.
However, there is still an insufficient number of coding boot camps in Sabah, and it is a new concept in Sabah. Faezrah was once told that she was ahead of her time here in Sabah and that she had to do a lot of outreach, campaigning and explaining what she was trying to do.
Despite all the criticism, Faezrah managed to create RCA, the first coding school in Sabah.
The academy focuses on digital education, especially coding / software engineering and exclusively offers boot camp style courses which are different from other training centers.
Although she is an introvert, she forced herself to go out of her way and connect more with people in order to stay relevant, to sustain her own business, to take responsibility for her business and people.
As CEO, she has a duty of care to her clients and a responsibility not to take someone’s life savings if she doesn’t honestly believe she can make them an IT developer.
“At Rambutan Code Academy, we won’t stop helping students until they get a job in tech, join or found a start-up. Graduating them is not enough. We do more than that, ”she said confidently.
Faezrah also valued student commitments more than their money, even though she is a businesswoman. Its academy only accepted seven students out of 30 applicants who applied to the Full Stack software development program in March, as many of them have their own full-time jobs and are unable to attend classes during the day.
When asked why she was willing to do this, she said her main goal is to develop more local tech talent and prepare them to be job-ready and career-ready as soon as possible. , which requires the commitment of the students.
“If they fail to land a tech job, doesn’t that mean I’m failing to produce the products that I say I’m capable of producing?
“For students: at each stage of their career, my goal will always be to challenge them. So what they learn every day will be more difficult than the day before. So what do I get out of all of this? It is commitment above all. This process needs someone who is persistent and motivated, ”she said.
“This is why in the Rambutan Code Academy coaches are called coaches; not teachers, not lecturers. We don’t teach people to code; we show them how to learn to code. When they fall, our coaches will be there to tell them to get up. When they are stuck, the coaches guide them so that they can take off, ”she added.
As a woman, I realized that there is a need to support women and guide them through technology. – Faezrah ”