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Semira @here_she_codes

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by | Mar 29, 2019

Semira from @here_she_code discusses what it’s like to be a student pursuing a degree in Computer Science, reflects on her goals for after graduation and her advice for those that wish to pursue it some day. 


Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Semira! I’m a student and I’ll be interning in DevSecOps over the summer.


Where did it all start?

My journey in tech/coding all started with a gap semester I took from school after realising that I was not meant to be a doctor. I took the time to try and figure out what else I could be passionate about In life. My dad (who is a software engineer/Agile coach) convinced me to try coding. At first I honestly really didn’t like it, I felt like I wasn’t smart enough to understand what I was doing. Gladly, my dad really worked with me on my self confidence and coding ability. I’ll be forever grateful for that.



As a student, what does your day to day normally involve?

My day usually involves waking up between 7 and 8. Trying to get to the gym around 10 (IF I get there). I like to head to class by 12 depending on my schedule. I hate morning classes so at times I have a class that ends around 8 or 9pm (which I don’t really mind). If I don’t have any late classes I like to spend that time studying or with family.


Is there someone that encouraged you to study Computer Science, maybe a role model?

My Dad and my mom! For some reason they both thought that Computer Science was a major/ career path that I could be successful with. I’m really grateful to have a supportive family.


What motivates you/what do you find motivating?

My desire to help protect the public’s data keeps me motivated in my goal of becoming a DevSecOps engineer.


What advice do you have for people considering studying Computer Science?

Focus, focus, focus and also persevere. Computer Science can be an intense major, surround yourself with friends that build you up and push you to be the best that you can.


If you could go back in time, what is the one piece of advice you would give to yourself? (hindsight is a wonderful thing!)

STOP UNDERESTIMATING YOURSELF!!! This was the biggest thing that kept me from changing my major to computer science for so long. I wish I knew that it’s okay to be confident in myself and my ability to succeed in a challenging field.


Studying can be a stressful time! What (if any) self-care methods do you use?

One of my favourite self care methods is voicing my feelings to people that are close around me. Sometimes a good venting session can make all the difference. I also love a hot bath, the stress melts away and you’re left squeaky clean!


What is your favourite thing that you have learned so far?

My favourite thing that I’ve learned so far actually isn’t technical. It’s the realisation that as a Woman I belong to an amazing network of strong engineers that are working to pave the way for the next generation of amazing engineers.


Is there an area of tech that excites you more than others?

The intersection of cybersecurity, software development, and implementing agile methodologies!


What is the goal after graduation?

My goal after college is to REST! Just kidding, I plan to take a month or two to rest and then dive right in to the engineering workforce working my way into the DevSecOps space.


Do you have any ideas on how we could encourage diversity in Computer Science courses?

Personally I think there needs to be more outreach to high school students. The programs exist already but they need more awesome volunteers and funding to keep them alive! I also suggest that Universities hold tech career fairs for non engineering students to spark their interest.


Fun questions!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I really enjoy trying new restaurants in my city (Chicago), reading a good book, and catching up with friends.


What’s your favourite colour?

Sky blue


What is your favourite film just now and why?

One of my all time favourite films is the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I read the entire series and the silliness of the entire literary universe that Douglas Addams creates Is something that forever cracks me up.

(I also this is an incredible film! Deep Thought and Marvin the paranoid android are amazing.)

If you could be anyone for a day, who would it be and why? (from any time period!)

I would be Angela Davis. Her role during the civil rights movement as a black panther reminds me daily of the strength of women.


Is there anything else you would like us to know?

The journey into engineering can be an uphill battle but it’s all worth it in the end! Don’t be afraid to start your journeys!

Thank you so much for your answers Semira and I am excited to watch you meeting your goals!