Despite family expectations to go into medicine, Georgia State University computer science major and Honors College student Nadiya Noor knew she wanted to be a part of the tech world.
“Eventually I want to bring my knowledge of tech into communities like the one I come from,” said Noor, whose parents came to the U.S. from Somalia and raised her and her sisters in Clarkston, a small town east of Atlanta known for its large community of refugees and other immigrants.
“In the communities that I come from, tech isn’t that big or it’s just starting out. I want to help people like me,” Noor said.
Growing up, she had seen her father work with computer hardware. Now that she has graduated, she will fulfill her dream, becoming a software engineer at Atlanta-based NCR Corp., which makes self-service kiosks, point-of-sale terminals, ATMs and other products for banks, restaurants and retailers.Noor said she hopes to inspire more women to consider careers in tech.
Noor joined Girls++, a student-led organization aimed at women majoring in computer science, during its inaugural year in 2017. The organization provides a place for members to connect with each other and share their experiences as well as introducing them to outside guest speakers and industry experts through workshops.
She has served the organization in various roles, including as president.
“I knew I wanted to be in some type of leadership position, eventually,” Noor said. “I never really noticed there weren’t a lot of girls in my computer science classes until I saw a flier for Girls++ around campus that said ‘Have you ever counted the number of women in your computer science classes?’”
Noor said once she started counting, she realized she was usually one of only four of five women in her classes.
Noor said she wanted to make sure the members of the group felt like they belonged in computer science.
“The women I encountered really built an amazing community. We stuck together,” Noor said. “Sometimes when you don’t see yourself represented in a field, you may be reluctant to go into that career field. Representation is important.”
Noor planned weekly meetings and helped schedule events such as panel discussions, technical workshops and sessions devoted to helping students land interships and jobs.
“We’re able to help them with interviews or we help them better their resumes,” Noor said. “It’s great to see that we’re actually making a difference.”
Noor has also returned to Clarkston High School, where her younger sister is a student, to encourage her and other girls to pursue careers in computer science.
“I wanted to go back and show them that anything is possible,” Noor said. “You don’t have to limit yourself. You can do anything.”
— Story by Horace Holloman. Video by Melanie Fan. Photo by Melanie Fan.