Microsoft’s #WeSpeakCode campaign aims to empower young people across Asia Pacific to learn coding and realise their potential. We spoke to several individuals who are passionate about coding and involved in encouraging others to discover the fun and excitement of learning to code.
Sonam Singh never lets the lack of resources and educational materials—or her gender—get in the way of pursuing her passion for technology. The former Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) from Nepal latched on to every chance she could get to improve her coding skills and to keep updated on the latest technology developments.
In 2014, Sonam was among the Imagine Cup contestants who took up the challenge of using technology to address the world’s most common social problems. Her team created a Windows Phone app that tracks vehicles in real time and calculates public transportation fares for different routes based on the estimated distance travelled.
Currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering at Himalaya College of Engineering, Sonam wants to continue making her mark as an app developer—and to make the most of opportunities to breathe new life into the world of programming.
What sparked your interest in wanting to learn how to code?
Coding has been my hobby since I was young, and is one of the main reasons why I chose to study computer science over other disciplines. I have always been eager to learn something new, and coding allows me to discover different ways of turning my ideas into reality. I love to code because I love to challenge myself, and I am proud to be doing something that allows me to pursue my dreams.
Can you share with us your own coding experiences, and how you managed to overcome the obstacles you faced as a female coder based in Nepal?
I think it boils down to having the right attitude and enthusiasm to learn—my passion for technology kept me going always, and enabled me to overcome the difficult odds faced by a female coder. To become a successful coder, you need to manage time efficiently, so you can devote more time to exploring new opportunities to learn. The training I received at Microsoft Innovation Centre (MIC) Nepal, for instance, helped me make significant strides in honing my coding skills, as we were often given assignments to develop actual applications after every training session.
What activities have you been involved in to get more young people in Nepal coding?
Being selected to become an MSP not only put my coding capabilities to the test, but it also allowed me to impart my knowledge to other young people. In partnership with MIC Nepal, I have helped organise a number of workshops and training sessions at my university. The sense of teamwork and collaboration shared with my peers definitely enriched the whole process, and I gained the skills and confidence to support others in their coding endeavours. At the recent Hour of Code event, I was involved in training 3,500 high school students. Being able to help so many students get their first taste of coding was one of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences in my life!
Is there any advice you would give to other young women who are interested in learning code?
I would suggest to any young and aspiring female coder: never stop learning, and make the best use of every learning opportunity that you get.