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June 17, 2020 - 5 minutes

From Nepal to Software Engineer with Ironhack Barcelona

The following article is the testimonial story of Neha Khachhibhoya, a Nepali woman who came all the way from Nepal to study a Web Developement Bootcamp at Ironhack Barcelona. Continue reading to learn more about her story:

Ironhack - Changing The Future of Tech Education




My Love for Technology

From the moment I realized that math was the language universe used to reveal itself, I knew I wanted to be a physicist. Physics had an elegant and enigmatic way of answering the questions I had as a child, but due to the lack of infrastructure and opportunities for scientists in Nepal, I was considering studying abroad. But my decision was presented by a stack of reasons why I shouldn't. So I did what any right-minded math enthusiast would do: join engineering. After getting into engineering school, it slowly transitioned into the love of technology. 

The boundless possibilities of technology mixed with the delights of making things that people would find helpful make technology an irresistible career path. The creative aspect of building things of your own design and putting your effort into is really rewarding; when you run your program and it actually begins to work as you had imagined, it's an incredibly gratifying experience in and of itself. Even with these perks, the question still remains, "Why do women who are in the STEM field still hesitate to take technology as their career path?" In my last two years of high school (grades 11 and 12), our class had more than 50% of the girls who wanted a career in the STEM field, but only 10% of the girls chose engineering as their career path.

Women in Tech

The gender gap in technology is not only the problem faced by a specific country but it is a global issue. The main reason could be because there are not many role models to look up to for women. After all, women who are successful in the tech space are the ones who inspire other women to join. In my engineering class, we were 9 women out of 48 students which is progress considering the school's previous history, but there is still a huge gender gap. Therefore, I am fortunate enough to pursue my career in the field of technology where being a woman was not much of a hindrance.

There is still an even greater problem that prevails in Nepal - illiteracy. While the city is engulfed with modernization, there are still parts of Nepal that do not have proper access to education. In rural parts of Nepal, the potential of many children is untouched because they have no means to gain knowledge. Knowledge is the stepping stone that opens a plethora of possibilities and knowing those children will never be able to know their potential is heart-breaking. 

I had just finished my Bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering and "The Algorithm is Female" was the perfect place for me to implement my technical skills. So I entered "The Algorithm is Female" hackathon focusing on the situation of education in Nepal because the motive of the hackathon revolved around solving the major problems that Nepal is facing. Throughout the hackathon, I got to meet the most amazing women who shared the same interests and had amazing technical knowledge. 

Through the hackathon, I got to be a part of Ironhack's Web Development Bootcamp. So it began, 9 weeks of intensive learning. It was one of the best experiences of my life. The first thing that struck me about Ironhack was the diversity: people from all over the place gathered in Barcelona. I got to meet all these amazing people belonging to different backgrounds careerwise and got to hear their bold stories about why they wanted to start their career in the tech world.

There were times when the course felt a bit overwhelming, but the support of the amazing teacher and the TAs who worked extra hours was always there to guide us through. I cannot emphasize enough how much I appreciate their patience. The main highlight of the Bootcamp has to be the final project that we get to do where we have to implement everything we had learned throughout the Bootcamp. I decided to build a project where people can easily apply for the Spanish visa online, also helping connect with people in Spain before their visit. I decided to address this problem which I had personally faced while applying for Spanish visa and I also wanted to connect with Nepalese who were already living in Spain.

As a developer, you want to build a product that gets used by thousands of people helping them to achieve their goals. Hence, I aspire to become a developer at a company where they respect diversity and are working towards solving a complex technical challenge. As for my academic goals, as a machine learning enthusiast, I want to pursue a career in data science and machine learning to hone my technical skills. My personal goal would be to contribute to the educational sector in Nepal because as the city areas are developing, there are rural parts of Nepal where not a lot of children have access to education. 

I am so grateful that Ironhack and Hemper brought the initiative which helped me to experience this Bootcamp and was generous enough to provide me with the full scholarship and covering all other expenses. Also, thanks to Code Rush who made the hackathon possible in Nepal. I cannot express my gratitude enough to Spotahome who kindly sponsored my accommodation in Barcelona even in this time of crisis. Lastly, I appreciate all the other companies and individuals who have helped me experience Spain. I am eternally thankful to all.

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