I stumbled across the Amaliah x 23 Code Street Muslim women scholarship on Twitter while abroad.
When I read the post, I thought it was a wonderful opportunity for women and Muslim women in particular to access the tech industry. But I was surrounded by doubts about my capacity to follow a 12 weeks course in coding. Did I have the right profile as a SAHM (Stay At Home Mum) to enter such a course?
How would I be able to manage a two hour a day, twice a week course for 12 weeks with 3 small kids of 7, 5 and, 8 months??
I pushed all my doubts aside and decided to apply for the scholarship, thinking internally that at least even if I am not part of the scholarship, I would have no regrets because I tried.
And guess what? I got in!
I was excited by the news but also frightened. What if I can not keep up with the pace of the class? What if I don’t understand a thing?
The class was supposed to start two days after I got the news. I had an old computer, no childcare cover, but I knew one thing, I was passionate about coding and I would do everything to make it work.
Anisah was kind enough to advise me on a new computer, my husband arrange to be at home 2 days a week before 6pm, so I could go to classes. Everything was coming into place.
Fast forward to today, I really enjoy the classes. The working environment is very serene, safe and non judgmental. It makes learning enjoyable. I love the fact that now I’m able to write some codes and see it materialise on a webpage, I feel very proud. I know now that coding is really what I like and It feels good to find something you’re passionate about.
Before entering the 23 Code Street course, I was following them on Twitter, amongst other coding school focusing on women and I thought that 23 Code Street stood out. Not only they provide a safe environment for women to learn to code but they also for every paying student in uk, help a woman student in India, which is pretty cool.
I’m doing this for me but also for my daughters. I told them I was going to return to school and they were very excited, wanting to know every details. It is important for me to show them that as a black Muslim girl, they can dream and achieve everything they want.
I’m aware that there is still not enough people from BAME backgrounds in the tech industry but I do believe we have to keep pushing to change that. The fact that two Muslim women, Nafisa and Anisah decided to create this scholarship to open doors to other Muslim women is the true definition of sisterhood and can only inspire me to do more and excel. I hope that one day I will be able to give back to the community in the same way.
I would advise every women to push aside your doubts and pursue your goals. Especially, muslim women, black women, mums, take your chance, we need to see more of us in the tech world! Of course, it will be challenging, the road won’t be straight and simple, but if it is really what you want, then go for it.
You’re a mum, you left school long ago? Who cares! None of it matters, what matters is your willingness to start something and to follow your dreams.