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Leading the way for girls in technology
It all began with being fond of computers as a child, then chatting on Yahoo messenger and finally taking up electronics and communication engineering. Rojina Bajracharya is now an aspiring software developer whose passion for programming has led her to co-found Girls In Technology and eventually win the very first scholarship given by Toptal- an exclusive network of the top freelance software developers and designers in the world. Rojina believes that the future for females in technology is bright. As a winner of the first Toptal Scholarships for female developers, her inspiring drive and need to help the community around her set her apart from the other entrants. She continues and hopes to use her knowledge and skill to encourage and inspire more girls in Nepal to be involved and excel in the field of technology.
What were your expectations when you first entered the Toptal Scholarship?
When I first came to know about Toptal scholarship, I tried my best to educate myself about the requirements and criteria of the programme. It was surprising to find out that although the scholarship had certain criteria, it gave you the freedom to exercise creativity in programming. Since it was a global competition, my initial expectation was simply to fulfil the requirements. The theme of the program itself motivated me to work harder. But for starters, I just wanted my application to be acknowledged.
What was your initial reaction when you found out that you had won the Toptal Scholarships for Female Developers ?
Obviously, I was extremely happy about winning the very first Toptal scholarship. It meant that I had made my mark in a global competition. I usually do not like to have high expectations for things but I do believe in doing what I love. It was great knowing that I was being recognised and appreciated on a global level.
How can developers change Nepal and what needs to change in the country for more female developers to actively participate?
For a country like Nepal, Information Technology can be used to build a strong infrastructure. ICT sector in Nepal has been growing progressively despite the political and social unrest the country faces but there is definitely room for growth. And I believe the developers, talented programmers, and designers in Nepal have a vital role in bringing that development.
Various social media can be used as the platform to help people learn more about the field of technology. Whereas, organised meet ups such as PHP, RUBY, and PYTHON are such places where developers can network and explore opportunities. These powerful networks can assist the government in making IT policies and also help with large scale investments.
In terms of increasing female participation, I believe developers can create developers. This chain leads to production of skilled workforce. In terms of opportunities, both girls and boys have equal chances. However, the country needs to research on why girls are recessive in number when it comes to getting involved in the IT sector. Girls in Technology will soon work on this statistics. We hope to encourage and introduce more girls to technology and the scope this industry has.
What were the challenges that you had to face when becoming a female programmer?
I believe challenge is how well we do something despite the odds, adjust in it in spite of the difficulty. The only obstacle for me was to be able to submit the programme codes before the deadline for companies. Also, in terms of being the only girl working in an IT company, it was an opportunity for me to learn how from a group of talented people and implement it in Girls in Technology as well.
What’s next for Rojina Bajracharya?
In the coming years, I want to learn to better myself as a software developer and a programmer. As for Girls in Technology, the group and I hope to influence more girls who are interested in technology and provide them with opportunities. Some of our future plans include providing skill based trainings, scholarship schemes, meet ups, and various other workshops. In the future, I want girls to be more confident when pursuing a career in technology.
How do you manage running Girls in Technology while working full time?
I never forget to make a cup of coffee before I sleep and then I also make sure to cook something that will help my mother for the next day. So, when there is an interest and responsibility, we have to fulfill both. As for Girls In Technology, it is a dream project of mine that will soon mark an astonishing accomplishment for the technology girls in Nepal. But, we really need to work hard for that. This thought pushes me to work every day. Since, we are still in our initial phase, we are striving to improve on our strategy and vision. There is a lot more to do and achieve in the future.
I want girls to be more confident when pursuing a career in technology.