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Her Voice- Ayesha Waseem

Digital Her was set up to address the gender imbalance in the digital and tech industry in Greater Manchester. Our programmes aim to inspire the next generation of women to join the industry, and support the current generation working in the industry.

Tell me about your journey into working in the digital and tech industry.

My journey into the digital and tech industry began in 2006 when I graduated from a Pakistani university with a strong foundation in computer science. In 2007, I moved to the United Kingdom and became a homemaker, dedicating myself to raising my family. However, I was eager to continue pursuing my passion for technology and enrolled in an MSC program in Advanced Software Engineering as soon as my children joined school in 2014. This allowed me to update my skills and stay current with the latest industry trends, preparing me for a career in the digital and tech industry. 

My MSC degree landed me my first tech job as a Junior Web Developer. However, I took a break in my career to welcome my youngest child into the family. Once I was ready to resume my passion for technology, I enrolled in the Mindweaver program and joined BAE Systems as a Data Engineer Consultant. This program provided me with the opportunity to upskill and update my knowledge and gave me the confidence to pursue a career in the digital and tech industry. I am now excited to be part of a team at BAE Systems, contributing my skills and expertise to meaningful and impactful projects.

What challenges have you found along the way? And how have you overcome them?

My path wasn't completely conventional, but bridging the learning gap was one of my most important challenges. Participating in programs like Mindweaver helped me fill that gap by learning about new tools and technologies.

Did you have a mentor, and if so, how did they help & encourage you?

I never had a formal mentor, but I was fortunate enough to receive support from my wonderful colleagues, and I am truly grateful for their assistance.

What is your favourite thing about being part of the industry?

One of the most exciting things about being part of the tech industry is the opportunity to learn new things every day. The industry is constantly evolving, and there are always new technologies and innovative solutions to explore. It is also a rewarding industry, as technology has the power to solve complex problems and make a positive impact on society. Additionally, the tech industry provides endless opportunities for continuous learning and growth, whether through upskilling, attending conferences and events, or working on new and challenging projects. This allows professionals in the tech industry to stay engaged and passionate about their work, and to make meaningful contributions to the world around them.

Why is it important for programmes such as Digital Her to inspire young people to join the industry?

It is crucial to launch programs like Digital Her to support future generations because it promotes diversity and inclusivity in the tech industry. Women and other underrepresented groups have historically been excluded from the field, which has resulted in a lack of diversity and a shortage of skilled professionals. By encouraging and supporting young women to pursue careers in tech through initiatives like Digital Her, we can address this imbalance and tap into a wider pool of talent. Additionally, promoting diversity in the tech industry can lead to more innovative solutions and better outcomes for society as a whole. It is also essential to support the next generation in developing the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a rapidly changing industry, and programs like Digital Her can help to bridge the skills gap and prepare young people for the jobs of the future. Overall, launching programs like Digital Her is vital for creating a more inclusive and sustainable tech industry, benefiting both individuals and society as a whole.

Why do you think it's important that we're reaching out to those younger ages? 

Reaching out to young people is super important because it helps them see what's out there in the tech industry and creates a pool of talented folks. A lot of young people might not even know about the opportunities in tech or might not have the resources to pursue a career in it. But by showing them what's possible, we can inspire and prepare the next generation of tech innovators, problem solvers, and all-around tech folks. It's especially important for groups that haven't traditionally been represented in tech, like women and minorities, who might not have had access to the same opportunities and resources as others. Basically, by getting young people psyched about tech and giving them the tools to succeed, we can create a more diverse, inclusive, and innovative tech industry for everyone.

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