#OmanPride: For Marwa, IT is her first passion

More sports Sunday 13/March/2016 22:14 PM
By: Times News Service
#OmanPride: For Marwa, IT is her first passion

Muscat: From designing an educational e-book while still at school, representing Oman at Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, the world’s premier student technology competition organised in St Petersberg, Russia, to opening the Omani chapter of ArabWIC (Arab Women in Computing), 25-year-old Marwa Al Habsi has come a long way.
But for her dreams and aspirations, she still has miles to go.
She was also the first Omani woman, along with her friend and co-worker Asya Al Jabri, to have attended the Grace Hopper Conference in 2013, which is the world’s biggest gathering of women in technology. “The theme was ‘Think big, drive forward’.
At the conference, we got to hear from female leaders in the computing world. It was so inspirational and made me look at the world of technology in a much broader manner, with endless opportunities,” says al Habsi.
Although all of Marwa’s achievements are fruits of her own labour, she says that her family has been the biggest support in everything she has done till now.
“I believe that if your family supports you, there is so much that you can do, and in my case, my family has supported me to the maximum and I am grateful for that,” she adds.
Marwa’s biggest success so far is to have been chosen as the ambassador for ArabWIC in Oman, which eventually made her start the ArabWIC Oman chapter last year. The organisation was originally founded during a conference on women in computing in the Arab world in 2012 in the New York University in Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), where participants unanimously agreed to create an international organisation for Arab women in computing.
“With chapters in 12 Arab countries, the goal of ArabWIC is to support, inspire, retain, encourage collaboration, increase visibility of and help elevate the status of Arab women in computing, and allow them to achieve their career goals. Besides, it also aims to create a linkage with international women-in-Computer Science organizations,” Al Habsi says. >A6
Currently Marwa is balancing between her role in the ArabWIC and a full-time job in IT. She doesn’t let IT go too far from her, even in her free time. “When I am free, I sit with my sisters and we code and read together as well. I want to encourage them, too.”
Lots of passion for IT
Marwa is aware that technology is mostly identified with men. However, she wants to change that. “It is a problem when people connect IT or technology with only men. The fact is that women are also in leading positions in both technical and non-technical sectors, and we are young and have lots of passion for IT. I am sure if women like us are encouraged, it will help more females in Oman to get into the technology sector because at present they are not fully confident about the field.”
Marwa believes that Omani women have immense potential when it comes to the IT sector, but sometimes they just shy away from it. “I started ArabWIC Oman in May last year and till date, we have about 15 members I need more women to join this community and enjoy the privileges it has to offer in terms of mentoring, sharing knowledge and providing a network database.” Women in Oman wishing to join ArabWIC can log into the organisation’s website: arabwic.org