Photo: Asem Mukeeva / UNDP Kyrgyzstan

In honor of the International Girls’ Day in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), we celebrate Kyrgyz women who work and study in this area. In this article we introduce you to Kamila Bakytbekova.

Kamila is a 22-year-old university student in Bishkek and studying Organization Management. In her free time, she also studies front-end development at the Codify IT academy.

“I have trained at the Bishkek Choreographic School and I performed at the Kyrgyz Opera and Ballet Theater. I also studied at the PF Shubin Music School, played the piano and violin. I have always been very active in various fields of activity at once. Since childhood, I was never afraid of try anything.”

At 19, she went to work in Dubai as a Guest Manager of a hotel. After two years of work, Kamila decided to return home to Kyrgyzstan and began searching for opportunities of further development and came across an article about the professions of the future. Intrigued, she began reading about the field of IT - what it is, what areas exist, how much IT specialists are in demand around the world -  and then she understood that IT is exactly what she wants to do in the near future. Her parents were supportive of Kamila and even recommended programming courses she could go to. 

Photo: private archive

“After I made this decision, I freed up time for training and devoted myself to mastering a new skill. At first it was difficult as new topics seemed unattainable and I had to constantly practice, solve problems, and do homework.” -  says Kamila.

“If you miss just one lesson, it was already hard to catch up. Therefore, I tried to keep up and practice additionally. I remember even while working, I would be doing my homework and reviewing video lessons."

Kamila's diligence payed off and four months later, Kamila and her classmates began working on the Kyrgyz startup GiftMe, aimed at solving the problem of unconscious consumption.  This project solves the problem of unconscious consumption. The idea of the startup is that users can indicate a list of desired gifts in their profile, and their loved ones can look at it to gift what the person really needs.

“It took several days to study the project and figure out how to develop it. I really liked the main concept of the project because even though the idea is simple it is so necessary! I love this project, also because it is a great opportunity for me to practice what I have learned. We have been working on this program for three months already and I think we will be finished by the end of the month.”

Having only started her studies in September 2020, Kamila is already advanced:

 “We started our training with a simple website layout - creating the simplest HTML structures, creating styles and adding colors using CSS. You have to be a bit of a designer here. Well, then it became more complex - the JavaScript programming language and the React library. Of course, I am still at the very beginning of my journey, but my knowledge already allows me to fully work on projects. I still learn on the go and that's okay. You have to get used to the fact that all programmers and developers never stop learning, even after achieiving great results. "

 “I like that now there are more and more girls in IT. Nevertheless, many girls cannot decide to take up this profession, even if they dream of a career as a programmer. I want to advise them not to give up. Now there are a many opportunities to learn and develop without a big budget and the main thing is that if you know what you want to achieve, there will definitely be a way. It is also important to understand that you are doing this for yourself, and not for some kind of public approval. Because if you depend on the opinions of others and constantly chase praise, you may not hear yourself and your true desires. "

On April 22, 2021, the UNDP offices in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, together with the STEM4ALL initiative and the UNDP Regional Office for Europe and the CIS, are holding an online event for the International Day of Girls in Information and Communication Technologies.

In honor of this event, we invite you to participate in an online discussion about women's leadership and career development in the ICT field.

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