Women Hacker Stories: Meet Hajar from Wiper
Once upon a time…, oh no, today we are not talking about princesses, we are talking about female hackers. We are in the year 2022, at the South Summit, which this year more than ever, brings us numerous novelties in the field of innovation. One of the star guests is European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, Youth and Sport, Mariya Gabriel.
His vision is clear: “our society is deeply impacted by digital transformation. The low representation of women in the digital sector in Europe prevents them from taking advantage of the opportunities of this digital transformation, as well as depriving the big technology companies of their talent. In fact, only 17% of professionals in the technology and digital sector are women. It is crucial in the coming years to encourage their participation to achieve equitable representation and participation.”
From SamaGame we have stayed with Hajar Mrabet Rahmouni, CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of Wiper Gaming, an e learning startup for gamers. She is definitely among this 17% of women in technology, willing to change the status quo. She is working hard to be a reference for those girls and women who want to be part of the digital transformation. She also has a clear vision: “my parents have taught me not to let myself be limited by the prejudices of others. The only person to set limits for me is me.”
How Hajar became a female hacker
Sometimes the paths are not straight. In principle, Hajar’s professional choice had nothing to do with programming or the IT sector. She studied psychology. She says that it is very difficult to choose a profession when you are 15 years old and that in schools they do not inform you about all the careers that exist today and you could choose.
Especially when girls are good students, teachers recommend them to study medicine, psychology or something like that. More role models of female hackers are needed to make girls aware of studying STEM careers. No visible reference in the big technology companies is a woman. When we think of the most famous people in the sector, the first that come to mind are people like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs and a long etcetera.
The change to technology
Hajar acknowledges that he has always had a curious spirit. He took courses and continued training. After graduating, he did an internship in the human resources department of an IT company and realized that he really liked this sector. As a child, she used to read computer books that her father bought. So decided to take a course in programming and without previous knowledge, he started a boot camp Developing full stack. Then she went into Campus 42Telefónica’s programming school. He says that at Campus 42, at first, the students go through a Bootcamp type pool, which is 26 days with very cool projects, both group and individual, and a very innovative methodology with a lot of peer programming. It’s a bit like the day to day of a real programmer.
She continues to train every day. She is constantly looking for new courses, talks and her vision of her life is to learn every day to the fullest to improve yourself. At just 23 years old, she has become the CTO of a startup dedicated to training gamers in games as emblematic as League of Legends. In fact, Wiper Gaming has launched a “women’s healthy gaming tournament” to encourage the participation of girls in this worldwhere the presence of men stands out.
The underrepresentation of women in tech
It is clear that the key to encouraging girls and women to want to enter the world of technology goes through two aspects: education and having role models. According to Hajar, students are currently beginning to be motivated in classrooms with block programming classes, for example, but there is still a long way to go.
“References are needed and that women in STEM begin to be made visible so that girls know that they can become whatever they want to be“, Explain. During her development as a programmer, there was always a very low female representation: “Two months ago I met another female CTO for the first time, although I am continually going to events, networking, etc.” She says that in programming pools of 120 people, only 5 girls participate.
It is the ideal time for women to integrate into the technological field
Hajar has not experienced negative situations for being one of the few girls in the world, but she does notice that others are always looking at her with a magnifying glass. She has rather experienced moments of positive discrimination, such as people congratulating her on her role as CTO for her being a woman, for example. Because of this, she believes that she is a ideal time for women to fully enter technology. He says that right now they are looking for girls even under the stones. When she started her path in programming, she would have loved to have more references from female hackers.
If you would like to study something related to technology or programming, do not hesitate. According to Hajar it is a world full of challenges, but in constant change. What programmers learned five years ago is already obsolete and that today anyone can learn and be part of the change: “we can always go and change careers and do what we want because we are in a world where everything is possible.” She would love to become a reference to motivate more girls and women to study STEM careers, but she admits that you have to earn it by working hard and improving every day, both professionally and personally. Her recommendation for all girls is: “Just do it, because when you learn something it returns three times as much and the happiness you have when solving a complex problem or a bug is infinite.”
How Telefónica promotes the participation of women in STEM careers
On the one hand, Telefónica organizes events such as Girls Inspire Tech 2022, with workshops on programming, cryptography, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain to encourage girls’ interest in this type of technology. It also offers training for women in different technological fields through initiatives such as Fundación Telefónica or Miríadax.
If you want to get started in the world of programming, for example, there are free trainings in the section “apps” from the main menu of Movistar Plus+, always when you access the platform through the UHD Decoder or UHD Smart WiFi Decoder. You have the Living App of Conecta Employment that breaks down the digital professions most in demand in Spain and offers a large number of specialized courses in programming, video editing, etc. If you want to improve your soft skills, go to the LinkedIn Learning Living App. There is a lot of training out there, so if you want to be part of the digital transformation, Learn from Hajar and start carving your way.
There is still much to do, but together we will manage to reduce the gender gap for a better future. Thanks to female hackers like Hajar, women in STEM careers will gain more and more visibility.