Women In Tech: Meet Mariam Antar
20 Feb 2019
10 minute read
Welcome back to Coder Academy’s Women In Tech series, our regular showcase of the brilliant women-ovators who we meet across our Coding and Cyber Bootcamps. This week, we’re venturing over to our GenTech Bootcamp to speak to the awesome Mariam Antar who studied at our Sydney campus.
Hi Mariam! What were you were doing before Coder Academy?
I had actually just graduated from high school before choosing to attend Coder Academy. Prior to joining I was stuck between studying either commerce or law at University because I spent most of my time during high school reading about and building small businesses with the money I saved from working in part time jobs. I was obsessed with building things that required hard work — I like being challenged because I never get bored.
Why did you want to get into technology, and more specifically, coding?
I really believe that technology will change the future. I love what is happening right now with the way we are all connecting with one another in the workplace with tools like Slack and social media. Technology is solving problems that were thought unsolvable and programmers are at the fore front of this thanks to the power of tech. The industry is immense. There is so much to learn and there is always work to be done, this is really exciting to me because there are no limitations to what you can create with code. Coding is a mixture of beauty and pain, one minute your code will be working fine with no bugs, and then you’ll find yourself spending over an hour trying to figure out what’s going wrong.
Why did you choose to join the GenTech Bootcamp?
What really caught my attention with the GenTech Bootcamp was the hands-on learning approach — we were coding non-stop from day one and everyone was genuinely excited to be there. My class worked closely together, not only as a dev team but also as friends. We also had the opportunity to visit tech companies and speak 1:1 with the developer teams there. The internship opportunity at the end of the course was what really sold me on taking the course.
What did you enjoy most about your experience at Coder Academy? How did it compare to previous study you’ve done?
I really enjoyed the hands-on approach to the teaching curriculum because in high school everything we learnt was through a text book so it was nice to finally be able to put theory into action and get to work. Once I started getting comfortable with building applications using code, my curiosity got the better of me and I started taking my own research a step further as I wanted to learn even more about all that you could do with coding.
Where do you imagine yourself 1 year from now?
I see myself working at a tech company with a team that is passionate about what they do and is as committed as I am to solving interesting problems. I also hope to enter and compete in Hackathons as a way to challenge myself and go beyond what I believe I am capable of. The future is about collaboration, and I would love to make my mark inside the tech industry through — not only doing great work — but by collaborating with everyone I come across along the way. Great things are never built by one person alone.
Why is female representation important in tech?
Females are still a minority in the tech industry and as the industry continues to grow, so will the demand for developers. Diversity always leads to better products and better results across industries so it’s crucial that we have fresh perspectives from people of different backgrounds with a diverse set of life experiences. Women go through things that men do not, this means the room for innovation is immense. The more women we have in tech, the younger that girls will feel inspired, encouraged and empowered to pursue these industries shaping our futures.
Where do you think the biggest challenges and opportunities are for diversifying the technology industry right now?
One of the biggest challenges for women in tech is that the industry is male-dominated. Women tend to downplay their capabilities and what they can bring to the table. To change this, we must work towards collaboration, continuous learning and we must take the initiative to keep pushing forward so we can encourage more women in tech.
Are you optimistic about the future of women inside the tech industry? Why?
Yes. More women are joining the industry and it’s slowly starting to not be seen as something out of the norm for us to be working in STEM jobs. A diverse workforce is good for the economy and as more women get involved in tech, others will feel much more comfortable and confident pursuing their interests. It’s also great that schools have introduced the importance of coding into the curriculum which means young girls will be exposed to all of the opportunities available inside the industry.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during this experience?
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that persistence is a virtue when you’re a developer. Sometimes all you want to do is throw a chair against the wall when you’ve been trying to solve a bug for hours on end and you’re getting nowhere. I’m used to doing things very quickly as I hate wasting time, so I’d become very impatient when problems became time-consuming. I’ve had to learn to be more patient and I’ve discovered that as you get better at reading code the easier it all becomes over time.
What advice would you give to someone considering becoming a developer?
Know your “why”. Have a vision for yourself and where you want to be or go inside the industry.
Before starting the GenTech Bootcamp to become a Software Developer, I wrote down why I wanted to do it and why I wanted to become one so that I was sure I was making the right decision for myself. I first began coding in HTML/CSS and fell in love with the freedom of it all. I loved how I was able to create whatever I wanted anytime from anywhere. Once you have your own “why” that drives you and have tested the waters, jump right in. You will have downs and you will have ups but that’s all part of the journey so enjoy it!
Any last words?
Take action. Know what you want, ignore the naysayers and go get it!Pursuing coding has been the best decision I’ve ever made and no matter how tough it gets, I still love it. You will constantly be learning, unlearning and then re-learning everything — and that’s exciting.
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