Fardokht Sadat was born in Iran and discovered her passion for knowledge and exploration at a young age. After completing high school, she moved to Austria to embark on a journey of higher education and personal growth. She obtained an honored bachelor's degree in Bioinformatics from Johannes Kepler University. Currently, Fardokht is enrolled in a master's program in Data Science at Vienna University of Technology. Alongside her studies, she works as a full-time software engineer at Platomics, a position she has held since December 2020. Previously, Fardokht served as a Bioinformatician at the Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre ASCR, contributing her expertise for a period of two years. Outside of her academic and professional commitments, Fardokht finds solace in practicing Yoga and immersing herself in audiobooks. With a passion for personal growth and a firm grounding in bioinformatics, Fardokht continues to excel in her pursuit of knowledge and application in the field of data science. We appreciate Fardokht for providing us with her valuable insights and her perspective on gender equality and growth opportunities. Let's dive into the latest interview of our Women In Tech series:
Hi Fardokht, great to have you. What sparked your interest in software engineering?
Growing up, I excelled in all subjects, and with both of my parents working in healthcare, I naturally assumed I would follow in their footsteps. However, when the time came to choose a major in my final year of high school, I found myself struggling. As a rebellious act against my parents' wishes for me to pursue a career in medicine, I made the decision to study architecture. Initially, I was enthusiastic about this major, but after a year of studying, I realized that it wasn't the right fit for me. I became even more uncertain about my future career path, constantly questioning what I truly wanted to do.
Reflecting on my high school years, I discovered that biology and programming were the subjects that brought me the most joy and excitement. During that time, I had learned C++ and found great pleasure in writing code. This led me to explore majors that combined biology and programming, and that's when I discovered bioinformatics. It is truly amazing to witness how software engineering can be applied in the fields of biology and genetics to create software that benefits patients.
Do you think it’s necessary to build (or be in) a community of women in tech these times? How has community engagement contributed to your success?
In the field of software engineering, there is a noticeable lack of gender diversity, with men comprising the majority of the workforce. This gender disparity can lead to the neglect of women's specific needs. Due to physiological differences, women may encounter unique challenges in the workplace. Personally, I have faced difficulties with painful menstrual cycles while at work, which has prompted me to ponder how other women cope with this issue. Establishing a supportive community for women in the tech industry can play a vital role in recognizing and addressing such challenges. By nurturing a sense of belonging and empathy, women in the field can come together to exchange their experiences and devise customized solutions. This type of support network holds immense potential in fostering a more inclusive and accommodating work environment for women in the tech industry.
Do you have a mentor, or who is your role model in the world of software engineering?
I have been fortunate to have senior colleagues at my workplace serve as my mentors. Working alongside these skilled and experienced developers has been invaluable for both my personal and professional growth. Collaborating with individuals who possess a wealth of knowledge and expertise has enabled me to develop the essential skill of critical thinking. This skill has empowered me to analyze complex problems, assess potential solutions, and make well-informed decisions with confidence. I am truly grateful for the guidance and support that my senior colleagues have provided me, and I am committed to continually learning from their experiences and insights as I advance in my career.
Is there a bias towards women in tech and how can we fix this? Are there any difficulties that you have faced on your way in tech?
Personally, I have not encountered biased behavior at my previous and current workplaces thus far. Both organizations have been dedicated to fostering a fair environment where employees are evaluated based on their skills and knowledge. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that others may have had different experiences, as biased behavior at work can be subtle and challenging to identify. Therefore, it is imperative for companies to consistently educate their employees on recognizing and addressing biases.
What advice would you give to women who would like to start a career in tech?
This advice is for anyone, regardless of gender, who is interested in pursuing a degree or career in tech. Acquiring new skills, such as programming languages or technologies, can frequently seem daunting. However, my suggestion is to remain calm and persistent. Eventually, there will come a moment when something clicks in your mind, and everything will fall into place.
Thank you for your time and for taking part in our little interview series, Fardokht!