Sundos OthmanI’m Sundos Othman, 25 years old, I graduated with a Computer Graphics and Animation degree and developed my own Android virtual reality application for tourism.

I’ve always been passionate about programming but a couple of years ago I shifted my major a bit and began working in the media and communications field at WOLF (The World’s Online Festival) as MENA Media and Communication Manager.

My role includes planning and managing online festivals and engagement events. To mark this year’s IWD I’m currently project managing our first virtual festival dedicated to women in the Middle East, which is so exciting.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No, I didn’t. You need to experience different roles and responsibilities and work out what interests you first. When you get out into the real world your life will take you where it wants to go!

My advice for others would is to always be flexible and explore opportunities that come your way so you begin to know what works best for you.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Being a girl working in the media field, in my society, doesn’t always work out perfectly. You can find yourself in difficult situations in order to document on certain events. In these situations, in the Middle East, people take extra caution because we’re not used to having a girl go somewhere by herself which holds unknown situations. It is expected that a woman would always take a man with her for security. I always had to take a male colleague with me, whether to protect me or to make the client feel more comfortable having a woman there.

Another challenge has been my age! Employers sometimes assume that because I’m in my mid-twenties I don’t have enough experience to manage a whole project. But, I have learned that actions speak louder than words and the best way to prove yourself is to show people what you can do! That instils confidence in your leadership teams. Patience is key!

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Contributing to and transforming WOLF’s transition from being a chat app to an audio entertainment app. As part of my work with WOLF I have also helped project manage the first festival of its kind, dedicated to women in the Middle East. The festival invites big female influencers and celebrities to share their success stories, talents and performances.

During my career I was also part of the planning and preparing of one of the biggest physical graduation ceremonies that was held by Queen Rania Teacher Academy where Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah was the guest of honour. That was amazing!

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

To be given the right opportunities and trust to show my real potentials, regardless of how much experience I have on paper.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

  1. Believe in yourself and impress!
  2. There’s nothing called failure! Rather it’s about collecting some really great learnings and experience to help you with your next success.
  3. Always keep it simple. Whatever idea, product or project you’re working on, simplicity is key.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

Yes, I still think women have to prove themselves, particularly women who have children and other personal responsibilities outside of work. In my opinion these women have to show that their personal lives won’t have any impact on their ability to deliver on a job.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Offer much more flexibility and consider flexible working hours – something the pandemic proved could be done.

There is currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Encourage more young women to consider tech – engage them more effectively at university and higher education and showcase the roles , prospects, salaries available and talk about examples of successful women in the industry. The industry also needs to offer more flexible working opportunities.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

To stay updated with the latest tech news I always look at the Mashable tech news on snapchat and on their own website.

Network because that will force you to develop yourself in your speciality;  it changes rapidly with time. You’ll meet new connections and benefit from their experience.


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