Ebtesam Al Haque , 22

Hacker
Ebtesam Al Haque
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Ebtesam’s entry into the tech world started when she got her first personal computer at the age of seven. With it, she had the opportunity to explore all sorts of career paths and opportunities. Her innate desire to check out every path available left her with the decision that technology was the best way for her to make an impact. With this decision in mind, Ebtesam took to programming as an undergrad.

Needing something productive to do at a time when we were all stuck inside, Ebtesam scrolled through Eventbrite, where she came across HackDSC. Having never attended a hackathon before, she quickly signed up. As the event drew closer, the task of a time-constricted project seemed daunting, but her anxieties were quickly washed away by a welcoming group of other hackers. They all agreed to have fun and just create something without the added pressure of needing the project to be fully functional or even a prize winner. With the stakes set for themselves, Ebtesam and her team were in control of the event, and it turned out better than she imagined. She learned new coding languages, attended workshops, and made friends. The whole thing was a lightbulb moment. She now felt the desire to feel an interest and immediately acted upon it for the sake of learning rather than bookmarking an interesting topic for later.

Her passion for reading whenever she could brought her to new events with a whole new set of skills, which she implemented while building Safe Walk, her favorite project yet. As an attendee of LA Hacks, she implemented that social change that she hoped to bring by building a project with collective safety in mind, by using a SpotCrime API to map out the safest walking routes for anybody in need. Shee loves hackathons like this because of the emphasis on honing both technical and soft skills. Effective presentation, time management, well-scheduled collaboration, all are just as crucial to career development as the actual knowledge of coding languages. It also helps her keep an ear to the ground when it comes to emerging technologies impacting the sector of the world that she cares so much about. These lessons have given her the confidence to start bringing ideas that used to seem unattainable to life.

The question of what Ebtesam wanted to end up doing was growing more and more daunting until hackathons came into her life. The nights of work as a team left her with a clear image of how she wanted to progress. She is now working on her PhD in Computer Sciences at George Mason University. But, the educational conviction that comes with studying under such a prestigious name didn’t begin immediately. As a minority among her peers, with cultural norms that are not conducive for someone like her to immediately thrive, Ebtesam felt the toll. Because of these norms, fellow female hackers were often left with less available resources that would provide valuable opportunities to further their career. At first, she was scared to set big goals for herself based on the collective attitudes of others. This differed from her upbringing, where she was overwhelmingly supported by those around her. Knowing that people like her family members wanted her to succeed more than anything, she didn’t give up, and she found hackathons. With these odds stacked against her, she had even more of a reason to work to jump that gap.

Having moved to Bangladesh to attend one of the best universities in the region, she was very excited to be studying in the country where her parents were originally from. Studying at an international university, she expected to be greeted by a diverse community but was surprised when the reality of being a woman in tech hit her. She was among the first batch of women accepted into the institution which has been an all-boys university up until 2017. This mentality seemed to be that of her male classmates as well, some of whom believed women didn’t belong in tech which was detrimental to her confidence. Additionally, due to cultural norms, she was unable to attend hackathons as women generally didn’t spend nights outside of their homes or walk around after sunset. This made it challenging to spend the traditional 24-36 hours at a hackathon. 

The shift of hackathons from in-person to digital was one that greatly benefited Ebtesam. Now, she was able to hack and have the same experiences as her male counterparts. Without the worry of housing accommodations or safe transportation, she was able to code to her heart's content. Hackathons have truly helped Ebtesam to gain back her confidence, to set big goals for herself, and to make friends with hackers who supported her in the pursuit of a career in tech.

HackDSC was a passion project, a group with the collective expectations to just have fun and learn along the way. Ebtesam has taken this mindset with her to all 109 hackathons that she has attended, and her knowledge has only compounded. Forty hackathon wins in the bag; not much could falter her belief in the idea of friendly, fun competition. Not every event had to be a win because she still left with valuable knowledge and experiences that she won’t forget. Among the forty prizes that she has won at hackathons, she has a wide pool of potential products to build from her projects, which she hopes to accomplish as a postgrad.

Quick Facts

Pronouns: She/Her/hers
Hometown: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
School: Islamic University of Technology
Graduation Date: 2021
First Hackathon: HackDSC 2020
Favorite Coding Language: Python
Can't Live Without: Google and YouTube
Ebtesam's favorite hack, SafeWalk

Ebtesam Al Haque , 22

Hacker
Ebtesam Al Haque
Share this profile

Ebtesam’s entry into the tech world started when she got her first personal computer at the age of seven. With it, she had the opportunity to explore all sorts of career paths and opportunities. Her innate desire to check out every path available left her with the decision that technology was the best way for her to make an impact. With this decision in mind, Ebtesam took to programming as an undergrad.

Needing something productive to do at a time when we were all stuck inside, Ebtesam scrolled through Eventbrite, where she came across HackDSC. Having never attended a hackathon before, she quickly signed up. As the event drew closer, the task of a time-constricted project seemed daunting, but her anxieties were quickly washed away by a welcoming group of other hackers. They all agreed to have fun and just create something without the added pressure of needing the project to be fully functional or even a prize winner. With the stakes set for themselves, Ebtesam and her team were in control of the event, and it turned out better than she imagined. She learned new coding languages, attended workshops, and made friends. The whole thing was a lightbulb moment. She now felt the desire to feel an interest and immediately acted upon it for the sake of learning rather than bookmarking an interesting topic for later.

Her passion for reading whenever she could brought her to new events with a whole new set of skills, which she implemented while building Safe Walk, her favorite project yet. As an attendee of LA Hacks, she implemented that social change that she hoped to bring by building a project with collective safety in mind, by using a SpotCrime API to map out the safest walking routes for anybody in need. Shee loves hackathons like this because of the emphasis on honing both technical and soft skills. Effective presentation, time management, well-scheduled collaboration, all are just as crucial to career development as the actual knowledge of coding languages. It also helps her keep an ear to the ground when it comes to emerging technologies impacting the sector of the world that she cares so much about. These lessons have given her the confidence to start bringing ideas that used to seem unattainable to life.

The question of what Ebtesam wanted to end up doing was growing more and more daunting until hackathons came into her life. The nights of work as a team left her with a clear image of how she wanted to progress. She is now working on her PhD in Computer Sciences at George Mason University. But, the educational conviction that comes with studying under such a prestigious name didn’t begin immediately. As a minority among her peers, with cultural norms that are not conducive for someone like her to immediately thrive, Ebtesam felt the toll. Because of these norms, fellow female hackers were often left with less available resources that would provide valuable opportunities to further their career. At first, she was scared to set big goals for herself based on the collective attitudes of others. This differed from her upbringing, where she was overwhelmingly supported by those around her. Knowing that people like her family members wanted her to succeed more than anything, she didn’t give up, and she found hackathons. With these odds stacked against her, she had even more of a reason to work to jump that gap.

Having moved to Bangladesh to attend one of the best universities in the region, she was very excited to be studying in the country where her parents were originally from. Studying at an international university, she expected to be greeted by a diverse community but was surprised when the reality of being a woman in tech hit her. She was among the first batch of women accepted into the institution which has been an all-boys university up until 2017. This mentality seemed to be that of her male classmates as well, some of whom believed women didn’t belong in tech which was detrimental to her confidence. Additionally, due to cultural norms, she was unable to attend hackathons as women generally didn’t spend nights outside of their homes or walk around after sunset. This made it challenging to spend the traditional 24-36 hours at a hackathon. 

The shift of hackathons from in-person to digital was one that greatly benefited Ebtesam. Now, she was able to hack and have the same experiences as her male counterparts. Without the worry of housing accommodations or safe transportation, she was able to code to her heart's content. Hackathons have truly helped Ebtesam to gain back her confidence, to set big goals for herself, and to make friends with hackers who supported her in the pursuit of a career in tech.

HackDSC was a passion project, a group with the collective expectations to just have fun and learn along the way. Ebtesam has taken this mindset with her to all 109 hackathons that she has attended, and her knowledge has only compounded. Forty hackathon wins in the bag; not much could falter her belief in the idea of friendly, fun competition. Not every event had to be a win because she still left with valuable knowledge and experiences that she won’t forget. Among the forty prizes that she has won at hackathons, she has a wide pool of potential products to build from her projects, which she hopes to accomplish as a postgrad.

Quick Facts

Pronouns: She/Her/hers
Hometown: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
School: Islamic University of Technology
Graduation Date: 2021
First Hackathon: HackDSC 2020
Favorite Coding Language: Python
Can't Live Without: Google and YouTube
Share this profile
Ebtesam's favorite hack, SafeWalk

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