Fatma Elasouad – I know it’s hard at the start, but you got this!

tech sisters podcast art featuring fatma elasouad

Today on Tech Sisters Stories we’re excited to have Fatma Elasouad

Fatma is a hardworking, motivated and knowledge-hungry developer; currently working as a cloud data engineer at BT. She’s also a co-founder of @Inclusive.Code a community that shares their experience as Early Career Developers, many of whom have made a career switch into Tech, in order to spread visibility and hopefully show others who have the same ambition that Tech needs their passion and unique perspective.

Fatma was also part of the winning team of the ShowCode Athena 2022 hackathon and was recently shortlisted as a finalist for both the Rising Star of the Year – Tech and the Role Model of the Year – Tech, for the Women in Tech Excellence Awards 2022

Listen to Fatma’s Story

Key Lessons from this Episode

  • How Fatma built up her experience while she transitioned from education into tech (5:32)
  • What led to Fatma co-founding Inclusive Code (10:52)
  • Fatma’s insights as a STEM ambassador (23:29)


Fatma Elasouad

[00:00:00] Grace Witter: As Salaam-Alaikum, you’re listening to tech sisters stories. tech sisters is a community that connects you with other sisters who share your story experiences and goals. So you no longer have to feel like the only one like you on your team. My name is grace and I get to interview the amazing women in our community, share their stories and the lessons they learned.

[00:00:22] Grace: Today we are very excited to have Fatima Elasouad Fatima works as a data engineer in BT using cloud technologies, and

she’s been doing that since November, 2021. After completing a three month coding bootcamp that trained women , in various technical positions at various companies, she , manipulate data and make it usable so that insights can be made that can help make the business make smarter decisions.

Since joining bt Fatma and her fellow bootcamp graduates have set up social campaign to encourage more women into tech and create a space to share learning online called Inclusive dot code. Outside of BT Fatma, also volunteers to teach beginner coding courses from Introduction to Python and Introduction to Web Development with Code First Girls and has recently signed up to become a STEM ambassador to reach younger audience and encourage them into STEM subjects.

mashAllah, what an amazing bio. Thank you so much for coming on

[00:01:14] Fatma: Thank you for inviting.

[00:01:17] Grace: So we always start off how did you first get into tech.

[00:01:21] Fatma: Yes. How did I first get into tech? I think I got in this similar way a lot of other people Did. You know how people say they ran interest in tech as a young child, I loved making, you know, html, like layouts and that sort of stuff of playing out with css. And this is back in the day when neo pets were super fun, right?

Everyone’s on neo


[00:01:43] Grace: I haven’t, I haven’t heard of big neo pets reference in so long.

[00:01:47] Fatma: Yeah, , that was my childhood. And I would spend like so many hours perfecting my user profile layout using html and css. And it me feel so like hacky and made me feel like so technical. But then as I grow up I just lean more towards like maybe English, maybe become an English teacher at uni. That was my default plan.

But then, Worked in a school realized I didn’t. Wanted to be a teacher. I couldn’t handle it. So much respect for teachers, I could not do it. tried for a year, wasn’t for me. And that’s when I picked tech back up again because during my undergrad, I’d done a course introduction to our development with Code West Girls.

So reigniting that passion for tech with html, css, and JavaScript for the first time. So an actual programming language, which is. And then I learned that you could do computer science for a year, and I thought, Okay, I’ve got time, so why not do it? Did that for a year. And then that led me to learn more about boot camps and that sort of stuff, and that’s what kind of led me into tech.

So I’m really happy that I found my way there. But I’d always known that I would try my hardest to get back into it, maybe through self-learning, through whatever, but um, it wasn’t something that I was dead set on doing and I wish I. When I was younger.

[00:03:05] Grace: So that’s super interesting and I really love that. I wondered, did you have a lot of exposure to other women working in tech when you were younger? Did you see that example or was it kind of, I like tech, but I don’t really know what to do with it?

[00:03:19] Fatma: I actually didn’t, I don’t think I ever did, and I wonder where I did pick up. I think it definitely was through like tv, like totally spies, you know, with a little

[00:03:28] Grace: spies. Oh my God. I know. I could’ve. Best friends.

[00:03:33] Fatma: That’s purely where my inspiration came from. I, I wish I had people in my network who I could have talked to . But yeah, I think it’s the gadgets and stuff. I loved it.

[00:03:44] Grace: Yeah. You wanna be the guy in the, That’s

[00:03:46] Fatma: Yeah, exactly, Exactly.

[00:03:50] Grace: mashAllah, so that’s amazing. And and I think it’s really interesting that you, you did the teaching path and now you’re an instructor at Code First Girls. So what, what’s kind of the difference there? Cuz you’re saying this feels a lot more enjoyable for you, so is really where your happiest.

[00:04:05] Fatma: Yeah. I think it’s definitely because I had that experience in working in education and I’d been a tutor on the side and been a volunteer mentor, and so it was finding that kind of mix in between where I wanted to get more technical experience, but then also, My whole CV was very education oriented.

Like I did not look like a technical CV person. I didn’t feel like I’d be taken seriously by recruiters or whatever. So it, it was, it kind of served me as, as much to serve my passion to teach other people, whereas I was kind of buff up my CV again, that technical experience, but also in. It was genuinely fun for me.

Like I love to impart that information to people and break things down to where it is not so intimidating when you think of, Oh, programming or, Oh my gosh, Python. It’s, no, it’s like you take it step by step, week by week, and then next thing you know you’re off coding where your little programming language is.

So I really, really enjoy being an instructor.

[00:04:59] Grace: Marc, it’s, it’s really apparent that it makes you happy. subhanAllah, and I like what you’re saying, that you’re doing this transition from education into tech and you had a very education heavy cv and one of the reasons you’re doing Code First Girls and the instructor is to help boost that experience. And this is a very common thing that we see in tech Sisters.

We have lots and lots of sisters who are coming in, transitioning from other fields, and they’re kind of running into that same problem. And it’s a very common question we have is how do we build up that experience? Because you can’t really get that entry level job. It’s really difficult.

[00:05:32] Fatma: Absolutely. And that’s so true and it’s one of the things I remember struggled with like the most, and anytime someone asks me this, I always have to relate their back to you have to, mix in what you have currently, like. utilise your own skills and find something. Again, it empowers you because you already have skills transferred into it.

And then it gives you the opportunity to showcase your skills in a new light. So for me, that was maybe instructed with Code First Girls for somebody else that may be recreating a program or some type of project that. Specifically target their area of niche and work. So I recently spoke to someone who is a content creator, or I think she was a social media marketing manager or something like that.

And basically she works in like social media management. And we were talking about how she was really interested in getting into data and I immediately clocked. I was like, Tina, Work with so much data, you’re in social media, marketing and management, and I’m sure you have a lot of data that you manage and make reports for.

And as she was talking, she was like, You know, actually I work with Excels quite a lot and actually I’m creating, I’m generating reports, I’m doing this and that. I’m thinking, Okay, well let’s make a Python program and you can gain some insights through that. And just through having that conversation. She was able to get like a game plan for herself and create like a whole project or portfolio of projects that she can create to build up her skills and have something to show to recruiters or whoever may ask.

You know, for examples of her skill sets when she is jumping into that job market because it’s. It is intimidating making that switch, especially from a different career path. So you do need something to back up and kind of showcase like, I do have skills, here’s some examples. And because it’s in my area or my niche of expertise, I can talk about it a lot in interviews.

[00:07:22] Grace: Yeah, no, definitely. I think there’s. There’s a mindset shift that has to happen where you’re not thinking about your past career as a weakness, but you’re thinking as a strength. So it’s something that’s gonna really distinguish you from the other applicants in the job. And so your job is how to market all of your experience and make it fit into what you’re applying for and how the strength and you know what’s already there and to boost up.

So that’s like this whole art, And I love what you’re saying is how you had this conversation with her and you’re able to bring this. So that’s mentoring, right? And that’s why it’s so important to have mentors who believe in you and can just, just kinda help you see what you already have, right?

[00:08:03] Fatma: Absolutely. And there’s so many people out there. I think this is one thing that I’ve learned about being in the tech space. People are so open to talking to other people, and especially if you’re women and you’re BAME, Muslim women, whoever you may be, cuz we’re all facing some type or similar barriers in this community being underrepresented.

I love when people reach out to me. I’m generally down to jump on a call with you. It’ll go from just a mini chat, just a small question to I’ll have a 30 minute conversation with you, like, let’s have a talk. And so many people have done that for me when I was starting up. That’s really a beauty about the tech community I found since joining.

[00:08:42] Grace: Yeah, I’m exactly the same way. It makes me feel really happy when somebody comes and asks me a question, especially if it’s one of I’ll be honest, especially the, the entry level questions, I feel like I can really answer those very well. It’s when it gets a lot more technical, I’m like, well, I can point you to the right direction.

[00:09:00] Fatma: Yeah. I’m not in that advanced, but you know, let’s figure out together

[00:09:05] Grace: Yeah, exactly. And that’s even part I learning during too, cuz I think a lot of people have it in our heads. If someone is senior or someone is the face of something, that they know it all, which is absolutely not the case. And the more you work, the more you realize that the seniors are Googling all the time.

[00:09:23] Fatma: Yes, Yes. This is such a shift that I found in like joining this like whole work of tech and the world of tech, having to be okay with not knowing stuff. As a perfectionist, it hurts me because I feel the need to. Know things before I jump into it. I think this is a thing maybe in women in general, how, you know how they say women can look at a job advertisement and if she doesn’t have like 90 to a hundred percent of the skills you wanna apply, whereas a man will see, Oh, I got 50%, I’m gonna go for it.

I’m sure I’ll get it. I feel the same way. And it’s just having kind of overcoming that and like being okay with not knowing things and just sitting with the fact that it’s gonna be a forever lifelong learning career. Yeah, it’s definitely really reassuring when you see your seniors who are gonna, the answers or someone’s senior in your team asks you a question and it’s like, Well, let’s both Google this

[00:10:16] Grace: Yeah, exactly. We don’t know Yeah. I had a colleague who, whenever he encountered something that he didn’t know, he would get more and more excited because this was something like, Oh, cool, I, I’m learning something new. And I thought that was such a really great mindset. I can never reach that level of ex of excitement that he had.

But I can still go into like, Wow, this is, this is a neat new thing that I’m learning. This is new information I’m putting in my brain. And then, you know, we’ll have some new, it’s, it’s just a barrakah, right? Everything that you learn is a barrakah, and then it’s, it’s good to be able to apply it alhamdulillah. Yeah.

So let’s talk a little bit about founding, inclusive code, because you’re talking about in this space you have more Muslim women In tech, we have lots of women of color.

It’s really hard, you know, these different identities. You have these, all these layers of being the other. And so I think you’re going through this with your group as well.

[00:11:08] Fatma: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, def absolutely. Since joining bt I’ve come in with a group of amazing women and out of this group of women, I am the only black Muslim women in the group. Everyone else has their own thing like going for them, but again, we’d all come from the same background in terms of the bootcamp and joining bt.

And inclusive code was really generally a way for us to navigate our learning through this new career, new tech space. It’s so daunting joining and jumping in and switching careers into tech. It’s like, it’s almost like a funnel where there’s so much information out there, and yes, the more you learn, the more things start to come into place until you start to.

Gain some expertise and knowledge in one area and then you start to drill down and that that’s where expertise, right. For me, that was maybe day two engineering, and I see myself as like, okay, I’m like mid funnel. I’m still learning. I’m still trying to drill down, but when I first got in there, it was just, A landscape like super wide, I didn’t know anything.

So inclusive code was a really great way for us within ourselves just to ground now learning. And the part that I was really interested in was learning more about roles in tech. I’d ask so many people about that. Like everyone I talked to, from mentors, to new managers, to people within bt. Anyone in my network, I would just be like, You need to explain the roles and

[00:12:34] Grace: What’s your job? Yeah,

[00:12:35] Fatma: Yeah. What, what, what is this? I, I, I know like software data, there, there’s apparently so many other things, methodologies versus actual rules of, Oh, my days, all these buzz words. I didn’t, I don’t, I don’t half of it, but it’s just kind of making sense of it and trying to understand it yourself is the.

Really, it’s really helpful, but I felt that the best way to do it was as we are learning, we just put it out there and we share it so that it helps anyone else who’s in our kind of position. I feel like once you specialize in something, sometimes it’s hard to reflect on the feelings of what it was like as a new beginner.

So sometimes it may be hard to relate to someone who’s trying to, I don’t know, learn the landscape themselves, and so you get a bit caught up in the jargon, the technicalities of it Also, when you’re trying to help navigate that new person. things fly over their heads. So again, it was a perfect way for us to, as our learning, share that knowledge forward.

Because we were there. We were right there in the trenches with you. But then it also became a way for people to reach out to us, which we loved as well. And we were always upfront onside I so beginners, but hey, let’s talk about the, let’s jump on a cool, let’s have these conversations. And it served as a way to grow our network as well, which is.

Another thing we, we always rant to everyone about anyone who asks us. Use your network, grow your network. As someone who is socially anxious at best at networking events. , she’s not good in the social conversations sometimes, but I found it as a really great to break that ice cause people will reach out or I can reach out the common knowledge and it just helped make it a lot more easier to grow the network in that sense.

So I guess that was another bonus that came outta. No, it was really generally just a fun project on the side while I work, but it grew into something that is very near and near our hearts, and we look forward to growing it even more.

[00:14:28] Grace: So there’s a lot of beautiful things that you said in there. I think one, it is just really lovely that you stayed in touch with this group, that you have this common experience and now you’re even more bonded by the thing that you built and you’re giving this positive experience with so many other people who are following you.

Like that’s wonderful. We just had a discussion question on tech sisters about maintaining friendships as adults and it’s really hard , right? But doing something like this, but you’re all kind of bonded together is really beautiful. subhanAllah so amazing there, and I love what you’re saying about. How it’s difficult to give that advice to a beginner once you kind of move up, because you very, very quickly lose that beginner.

Not so much lose something in your mindset because you’re always, in some ways a beginner, but you don’t really know how it feels to be fresh anymore. So that’s really, really cool that you’re able to, to do that and to give so much support.

[00:15:22] Fatma: Yeah. We really enjoy it. It’s good fun.

[00:15:24] Grace: Good, fun . And that’s the most important thing too. subhanAllah that these things are fun. I’m also right there with you. I do not do well at networking events. This is my networking, so.

[00:15:37] Fatma: I love that. Yes. the same for me.

[00:15:41] Grace: Yeah, This, this is how I make friends. I invite them onto podcast episodes,

[00:15:46] Fatma: Oh, I love that.

[00:15:49] Grace: Oh, it’s not, not even a lie. . So alhamdulillah, So Fatma. So you’re doing really well at inclusive code and you’re in a good, good place with bt. So what are you hoping for next?

[00:16:03] Fatma: Oh. Oh. I don’t know. I feel like I have so many goals bubbling up in here that I don’t even know where I’m after next. I think I generally, I’m like counting my, my blessings and all. Privileges I’ve been allowed, like that’s gotten me to this position. Even, you know, facing the barriers that we face, I still recognize I have a lot of privileges considering, you know, where I’m from and who I am, and currently what I’m doing.

So I’m really, really happy in where I am at, but I definitely have a lot of amazing things I do want to achieve. And that ranges like everything’s categorized. So like I’ve got my certification goals, I’ve got my mini project goals, and then there’s obviously like inclusive code. And where I envision that and becomes and think at the forefront is just like certification.

How can I excel in my career?

[00:16:50] Grace: Hmm.

[00:16:51] Fatma: Okay, great. You’ve made it in, you’ve got your first job, but now what now is when the work really begins, It was hard getting the first job, but now it’s. We gotta step it up. So I think definitely certifications giving back to more communities. So mentoring and that sort of stuff is really important to me.

Trying to help out people where I can. And I think currently Inclusive code trying to grow that. I really want it to become more of a community, so we’ll be building up on that, especially coming December time. Really excited for some of the new things. We’ve got a plan behind the scenes. But yeah, I think lots of mini girls, and I think it’s important that we have like goals that we can strive for making them achievable in specific timeframes.

Because one thing that I found, which was really frustrating was before I even got my job is, Super high expectations, and then we all fall for it. And then when you don’t even meet at all, you’re barely halfway to that goal, and then you get demotivated and then you lose track, and then it’s just, Oh, okay.

So you’ve lose, you’ve lost focus. So currently I’m trying to scale it back, work on building new habits, work on my mindset and how I approach different tasks, and then we’ll see where it goes. Because through that and through building them habit, So a lot we will achieve great things. Well, yeah, we’ll see.

[00:18:08] Grace: inshAllah remember the most beloved deeds are the small and consistent ones, the ones you do every day inshAllah. And in the tech focus, you know, you have iterative development. We do it into sprints, so you take a big end point, you break it down to small chunks. You keep getting better each time.

[00:18:24] Fatma: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:18:26] Grace: It’s all the.

[00:18:27] Fatma: Exactly. Exactly.

[00:18:31] Grace: That’s it. Yes. See, it’s not scary to get into Tech

[00:18:36] Fatma: Yeah.

[00:18:39] Grace: What is something that you’re most proud of, Fatima? In your personal life, or it can be in your career, however you wanna answer something that’s like really special and meaningful for.

[00:18:48] Fatma: This for me, like ranges, it flips between two things. Inclusive code and how it’s built up and all that we’ve been able to accomplish with it. I’m super, super proud of that platform and the little community that we’ve got going and with what we’re trying to accomplish with that moving forward.

It’s something that’s always gonna be like, make me really, really proud. But another thing I think that’s more personal to me is probably just like my career in general, . I love who, who I am. I love being a data engineer. I. Such pride in like my career and like, especially considering like I’m Libyan, I’m, , visibly black hijabi.

So to be able to thrive in this type of career and, you know, get all these amazing opportunities at work and be able to do the side projects that I’m currently doing. Where I’m the only person here in the UK with my dad, I’ve always grown up with only my family here in the uk. Everyone else is back home.

So there’s a drastic difference between the role of women in the UK versus the role of women in Libya, who again, they’ve made amazing strides in their own right. I just see that difference quite a lot. So to be able to come here in the UK have all this privilege and advances that I’m able to, get.

Being here, being born here and getting education here and then getting a job in tech, in the western world alone. It’s still an issue, it’s still underrepresented in women in general. So I love that. I’m trying to like strive for that and I think I get that from my dad cause he quite literally made it out of the village with, you know, amazing.

Test results and scholarships and became a doctor in the uk part a


[00:20:35] Grace: the bottle model that

[00:20:37] Fatma: Exactly. So you see where I get that from So that’s what we’re trying to do and I think that I’m, I’m generally really, really proud of where I am. So continuing on that front and trying to extend that careers.

Yeah, it’s gonna keep me most proud I think.

[00:20:51] Grace: That’s amazing. subhanAllah. May Allah love reward your father for being such a great inspiration for you and your whole family and know, mashAllah, it’s amazing. There’s something that I’ve noticed in talking to so many women on this is and this is, maybe it’s a bit of the generalization, but it’s what I’ve seen is because we’re so connected with the communities and women who do not have access to the privilege that we have, .

We give back a lot more. We’re always really invested in mentoring and helping the community and doing social enterprises and doing tech for good and, and really, you know, making use of this. And I think it’s really because we have that deep connection with the people who don’t have it. Right.

[00:21:35] Fatma: Absolutely. I really, really see that and I love that. I love that my community’s able to bring so much using the skills that we gain.

[00:21:43] Grace: Hmm.

[00:21:44] Fatma: Amazing, and it makes me so happy to see.

[00:21:48] Grace: What is something in your journey that you regret or you wish you did differently?

[00:21:53] Fatma: Ooh. That’s a good question. I like to think that, you know, this was a path that Allah’s always put in plan for us. So whatever happened, I don’t, I don’t regret, but some things I sometimes do wish were a little different. I wish that I’d taken computer science at an earlier age and I wish I took it more seriously.

I wish I had more faith in myself and actually actually sat down and took it. Cause I remember, I, I, I vividly see this like point in my life where I was. I could sit and take this access to higher education course and I could choose computer science as a specialty, but I dunno, I just thought, you know, I can become English teacher.

I, that’s a career I could do, and it just seemed like the thing to do at the time, and that was the advice I was getting from the people around me. I think also that influenced it quite. So I do regret it that I didn’t take computer science and I, and I wish I’d had someone to push me as well, like as a teenager to commit to it, which is why I now encourage my little sisters to, to do it.

Now, I made sure they also computer science on GCSE’s one of them is actually taking it quite seriously and she did it for her A levels and she’ll be doing it for her university as

[00:23:09] Grace: well

Well, that is serious indeed. Yeah. mashAllah

[00:23:12] Fatma: Yeah. I’m like dragging her into the tech. I’m like, Yeah, I gotta come

[00:23:16] Grace: You’re gonna love it, I promise.

[00:23:19] Fatma: Exactly. Yeah. So I, I’m really, it makes me super happy when they come to me for advice and I can help them out on that, so, Yeah.

[00:23:25] Grace: Well, alhamdulillah well, that, that’s a good point as well.

So you’re a STEM ambassador now, and you’re, you’re helping these young girls who, not just your sisters how are you encouraging them to get into the field or just to, to kind of get that in?

[00:23:40] Fatma: I think that honestly if it helps one child, one school child that sees any of my videos or any of the sessions that I’m definitely gonna be getting more involved in with some ambassadors, it’s that they can see someone who looks like them. Someone who looks like them, but is working in tech, because I know I’d never had that.

But I think what I think, I think I know if I had seen it, I, I probably would’ve taken a lot more seriously. Sometimes it just takes that one person to, to say kind of, Maybe enlighten a bit more on the world of tech and the specific roles, because at that age you really don’t know a lot and maybe you don’t know all your options.

And having someone who’s kind of made it through the other side and they’re in their career showcase what the end goal could look like and. If that relates to you in any way, then you might take it more serious than, Yeah, actually, you know, put yourself down for computer science.

So for me, that’s kind of the most important point to, even though like, I’m not like out there, out there, I like to, if I get opportunities to, you know, go to talk to classes or whatever, I. Do you usually jump on that? I’m like, Yes. Put me through. I’m there. I’m actually talking at another bootcamp like in two days, so I’m like, Hey everyone.

Yes, bootcamp. Let’s talk about


[00:25:00] Grace: do it. mu Oh, that’s wonderful. And I’ve definitely noticed that, especially with you know, that GCSE age where there’s a general interest in tech, but you don’t really know too much about the jobs that you can do. Maybe you could work at Tesla, maybe you’ll be a video game designer. And then question marks, you know,

just some gentle guidance on these are actually the rules that you can do. You don’t have to do math, you don’t even have to do coding for a lot of rules in tech. You can totally do this. So

[00:25:33] Fatma: absolutely. The math on got me there The questions I get about the math, I’m like, No, you don’t need

[00:25:38] Grace: you don’t need it. I haven’t done math in my job at all.

[00:25:43] Fatma: same. It’s ok. The math problem solving communication skills

[00:25:49] Grace: Yeah, that’s it. Communication is really most of it. So,

[00:25:51] Fatma: Yeah.


[00:25:53] Grace: Although I don’t wanna come off as anti math in this interview. If you love math, that’s great. Good for you. Go for it. It’s a strength but it’s not like a requirement for tech. You can definitely, make a very good career without math alhamdulilah

so last question I have for you tonight, Fatma is, what is something or someone that you’re most grateful for in your tech journey?

[00:26:16] Fatma: Ooh, I. The two groups really are the people who have mentored me throughout the, my time in like this, you know, transitioning tech. Then my first official mentor, her name was Pauline, and she’s really amazing. Like she’s up all up in like social media space. She has a blog and everything. She’s just amazing content.

But she volunteered quite a lot with code first Girls, so as one of the code first girls programs I was on, she was a mentor for my group. She actually put BT on the map for me. I would have never thought to consider BT as a place that I could work in. I just didn’t think I was technical enough at all, if I’m being honest.

Yeah, and then she, through talking to her about the, the BT grad schemes it just seemed a lot more attainable and hearing her experiences in the company. It just felt a lot more like, okay, this is probably a company I could see myself work in as well. And I applied, didn’t get through, I being honest, I made it to the last stage, places filled up.

But then I heard about the Code First Girls bootcamp, the first one that they were throwing BT sponsoring position. So subhanAllah like all just came back around again and I accepted it and I got into BT through that way. So clearly, Allah wanted me to work at BC

[00:27:27] Grace: alhamdulillah

[00:27:28] Fatma: I think that having people like that in my life, the mentors really are the ones who have shaped my career and where I am.

My second mentor was the person who advised me her name was Tilly. She advised me to become a data engineer. This is when I had joined bt. And the way we joined our managers, they got us to choose placements, kind of figure out where we want to be based in, and then through that we would gain experiences internally.

And we had different placements like a network developer or a DevOps engineer or a data engineer. So there’s a few roles, and these were all. Words to me. I didn’t really understand a hundred percent the work that they would be doing clearly. You see why I was really interested in roles in tech when I first joined but she’d kind of talked me through the different, like roles that were available and recommended you should go for the data engineer cause I talked a lot about my interests with her and she got doing really well over the summer. So I’d done that and I’ve really enjoyed it since it was very hard at first, but I really enjoyed it since. And then my manager since joining BT. Incredibly amazing and like helping me navigate through like working life cuz I just gone through working at KFC into bt.

So it was a,

[00:28:48] Grace: you didn’t

[00:28:49] Fatma: know,

[00:28:49] Grace: on your LinkedIn

[00:28:52] Fatma: it’s come off LinkedIn by now. She’s gone now. But yeah, I went straight from working at KFC BT, which is my first office job. So that.

[00:29:02] Grace: That’s a big

[00:29:03] Fatma: scary. It was a huge change and I kept thinking that I’m gonna come across as, I dunno how to ever get myself in an office space. So that was really important for me, it was terrifying at first, but my manager was really, really helpful, like with like helping me out even down to like the old things, like how do I sign up, like emails correctly and like how do I book like meetings, like efficiently, you know, CCing and BCC people. Yeah. These, all these office. She never like judged me for it at all, which I love, and everything was just like, Over the top answering, which I absolutely love for that.

So yeah, that was, she, she’s absolutely amazing in bt. She really set the standard of what a manager should be like. So these, these people who have like helped shape. My career I am forever grateful for and it’s, I’ve just taken away all the qualities I’ve really admired about them, and I’m just trying to give back to like anyone else who reaches out for help because it’s generally like the people who pave the way for me.

I want to be able to pave the way for someone else.

[00:30:06] Grace: Oh, wonderful. That’s so beautiful. mashAllah You’ve been very, very fortunate mashallah to have so many wonderful mentors and good managers. It it’s really wonderful,

[00:30:17] Fatma: Yeah,

[00:30:18] Grace: Oh, that’s

[00:30:19] Fatma: definitely be very lucky. Count my blessings. I, yeah, definitely luck out there,

[00:30:23] Grace: Mm. Totally alhamdulillah. Is there any last bits of advice or anything that you’d like to share? Fat.

[00:30:31] Fatma: Ooh. Last piece of advice. I think just keep at it to anyone who is listening to this episode and is kind of in that little wavering stage of, Should I shouldn’t I, Tech is booming, you know, they’re flirting with the idea of switching into tech. I’d say go for it. I think that it would never hurt to pick it up.

You know, if you like on your own, you can always find classes that lots of different organizations will hold. code. First Girls is a really great organization, but it’s one of many. You’ll always find amazing organization that will. Help direct you and help you with those beginner stages and beginner courses.

And I always say like the most important part is don’t be afraid to reach out. And I feel a little bit like a hypocrite saying that because I am terrified when it comes to reaching out sometimes.

But um,

[00:31:21] Grace: you know how scary it is. That’s

[00:31:22] Fatma: Exactly, Exactly. And sometimes all it takes is that one message to someone because again, I’ve personally found a lot of people.

They’re happy to have conversations with you and like, answer questions and sometimes they’ll, you know, sit and like on calls with you. A lot of people will sit on calls with you, so definitely don’t be afraid to reach out and like ask questions cuz it, you know, sometimes it takes that person with the experience to help guide and help navigate your, your, your path and how you wanna make it in.

So, I just say don’t give up. I know it’s hard at the start, but you’ve got this. Pick one project and stick with it. It’s another key advising . Cause we’ve all been that. You, we’ve all done that Cliff many projects, unfinished

[00:32:05] Grace: I dunno what you’re talking about.

[00:32:09] Fatma: stick to the one calculator Python project and finish it.

[00:32:12] Grace: Just finish it. What is this?

[00:32:14] Fatma: Yeah. But I think definitely, definitely the, the biggest one is, Just talking to people, talking to people, reach out to people, get some advice if you need it, and cause it really, really helps you. And just don’t give up cuz you’ll gotta see yourself to the end.

[00:32:30] Grace: That’s it.

[00:32:31] Fatma: Yeah,

[00:32:33] Grace: Well, thank you so much Fatma it was so wonderful having you on, and we definitely have to do like a collab with tech sisters and inclusive code.

[00:32:41] Fatma: absolutely. You read my mind You beat me too, so I’m gonna hold you to it. Grace

[00:32:47] Grace: Yeah, it’s recorded. So this is gonna be in the episode, so there’s evidence

[00:32:51] Fatma: Absolutely. We’ll be DMing you soon.

[00:32:55] Grace: amazing.

[00:32:55] Grace Witter: And as always, thank you so much for taking the time to listen today. If you liked it and you like what we’re doing at Tech Sisters consider following us, leaving a review, sharing this episode with any friends or even supporting us on Patrion. All of those really help us a lot. This is a completely non-profit organization. We’re just doing this for.

Sadaqua , so anything that helps more Muslim women find us and discover us and hear the stories is immensely helpful. And if you are a Muslim woman in tech, please go ahead and check out our community. It is completely free and fun and very supportive. You can join by going to our website tech-sisters.com and filling out the membership form, and you will get a link right away into our slack. So it’s really, really easy.

And that is all for me. And I’ll see you next week. As Salaam alaikum.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Fatma. Jazakallahu Khair! You can connect with Fatma Elasouad on LinkedIn and follow Inclusive Code on Instagram
If you liked this story, be sure to check our other Tech Sisters Stories and get to know the amazing talent we have in our community.

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