The second edition of Women Tech Quest was held at 10Pearls on 7th April 2018 where 150 women participated to compete in a coding and testing contest. Women Tech Quest is an annual initiative by 10Pearls, designed specifically for women developers and testers with intent to empower them and provide supporting programs that encourage women to pursue careers in tech-related fields. The event targets tech-related women from all walks of life: be it students, IT professionals or housewives and across all technical designations, from programmers to coders, project leads to web developers.
When the results were announced, a housewife outshined all professionals by securing the first prize. Yusra Khatri, who was awarded a shield and cash prize of Rs15,000, said she quit her job some five years back due to domestic reasons — but she surely didn’t quit the passion and profession. “I still code from home, and this was a unique opportunity to test my skills,” she said.
The event started in the morning with a moving personal story by Tooba from Circle about her journey as a developer, Co-Founder and CEO of The New Spaces & ToffeeTV, Talea Zafar, shared some great insights. “Business has its own challenges and being a woman isn’t the biggest one. I am always on the lookout for women we can hire as animators, illustrators or even writers and we struggle to find suitable candidates. The more young women that will enter and stay in the workforce, the greater the cumulative impact will be.”
And isn’t that the whole problem? There aren’t enough women in the workforce, they don’t remain active in the field for long enough to get the experience they need in order to populate the senior management position, a complex vicious cycle that just keeps turning.
The organizers of the event explained that the main purpose behind this activity was to provide a platform for talented young women to leave their mark in the technology space. It provides tech-related women with an opportunity to come together, interact and express their skills and creativity, they added. For people like Yusra who left the professional field, it provides women with a chance to ensure that their skills are relevant and benchmarked.
The winners were awarded cash prizes along with acknowledgement shields, while all contestants received participatory certificates. Unlike the objective of a hackathon where competing teams pitch an idea and have it ‘funded’. Since the duration of the session was so short, perhaps the developed projects or concepts should have been showcased so that they could be more visible to other companies or even approached as freelance options for organizations. In addition to helping them benchmark their skills, if we want participants to think about being part of the workforce, we can all collectively provide platforms to do so. That goes for all organizations.
P@SHA President Jehan Ara, the chief guest at the closing ceremony, gave away cash prizes and shields among the runner ups and winners of the Hackathon and Testathon competition. 150 young women participated to prove their mettle in the tech industry is an achievement of sorts. As Jehan Ara told the audience during the closing ceremony, “You all are winners since you all came out and contested.”
The New Spaces and ToffeeTV were event partners for the 10 Pearls Women Tech Quest