Choices is a platform where guests take us on a trip through their journey in their chosen (STEM) field, with emphasis on some of the choices they made, who and what inspired them, and what they are using their knowledge for.
Our guest for today is Faiza, the founder of Girly Tech.
Could you please tell us something brief about yourself?
I’m Faiza Adam. Chenti is my middle name. I’m the first child of my parents and I have six other siblings. So I have a lot of responsibilities. I’m a Network Engineer. I have a degree in Information Technology and a certificate in Project Management.
I also run an organization called GirlyTech and it’s basically providing opportunities for young girls to pursue STEM education and careers. I’ve been working with young girls in the Zongo communities since 2018.
What inspired you to become a network engineer? Were there other fields you were interested in? If so, what made your current profession stand out?
I didn’t really know what inspired me. But I think I usually like to be in control or in charge of things. I get very lazy and bored sitting in one place for so long so I knew programming wasn’t my thing. I do program though but I enjoy networking.
I wanted a career where I wouldn’t have to sit in one place for a long time, where I get to be in the office and still go to the field and travel since I love traveling. So, networking was the best option for me, and also I want to go into security.
So you combined your passions with work?
You can always combine passion with work. It makes work easier, especially in the tech field. It can be lonely sometimes so it’s a passion that drives most of us.
We would love to know more about your field of work, what are some of the challenges and how do you deal with them?
My field is really interesting. I’m usually at the field. I get to monitor live sites, network traffic, and anomalies. I do auditing and also penetration testing as well. I also do configurations. The fun part is climbing ladders and polls.
In the tech field, there are many challenges. You always have to work harder to be taken seriously just because you’re a girl. And you constantly have to prove that you’re capable of doing the work. I’ve faced a lot of challenges since I came into the tech field. I’ve even tagged a feminist because I’m always advocating for ladies.
Now that this has come up, what are some of the main challenges when it comes to being ‘a woman’ in your field of work? Are there any stereotypes you'd like to debunk?
Some of the stereotypes are women are always in support roles. The tech industry has not made much progress when it comes to women in pure technology roles. It’s just a handful who is in the pure technology roles. So I’d urge us all to spend much time to be skilled in tech roles.
When did you first come into contact with Python and how do you compare it with other programming languages?
That was when I attended Django girls Accra in 2018, I think. I started learning python again just this week.
How is your current work impacting society both positively and negatively if it applies?
My current work is with GirlyTech; where we are introducing more ladies into technology. We provide role models, encourage them, teach them the technical skills they will need, and prove to them that careers in technology will make it possible for them to impact the world in a positive way.
Unfortunately, since we spawn out with the Zongo ladies some few people see it as an Islamic movement.
That's unfortunate but I wonder what inspired you to concentrate on that particular niche, I mean ladies living in Zongo?
We started with Zongo ladies because we grew up in a typical Zongo community and we saw how our mates rushed to get married without careers with hope for support from their spouses.
We believed we could make a change and encourage them to see the possibilities in technology.
Finally, any advice you'd like to give to fellow ladies with aspirations to join you in network engineering?
I’m employed as a network support engineer now, but I aim to become a security analyst. The next meeting we have, I would have moved to the security department. I would encourage all who want to get into network engineering that, it’s the core of all communications. Without networks, the internet wouldn’t be possible. This WhatsApp group chat is made possible because of networking. I am learning a lot and would assure you that you wouldn’t be disappointed.
One last thing Miss Faiza, if you could tell us how to reach you on social media, that'll be amazing.
You can reach me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
We hope you enjoyed our chat with Faiza as much as we did.
Leave a comment below and tell us some choices you had to make in your journey.
This session was moderated by Irene Dzifa Avotri.