Tuesday, December 2, 2014

AFNOG Chix UNIX training for Women in East Africa

I am Livia Muhimbise, one of the participants for the AFNOG CHIX training in Uganda from 10th to 14th November, 2014. The training was majorly on UNIX Systems Administration; installation and management, Basics on Networking and IP Version 4 and 6, APACHE, VCN installations, DNS  among many other topics.

A work colleague sent me an email with the call for applicants to take part in the training. I was intrigued because it was training for women in Technology. I applied shortly after I got the email and a few weeks later, I got an admission. However, after failing to get the finances, I informed the organisers who sent my admission letter.  I prayed about it and my prayer was definitely answered when on 7th November, 2014, I got an email that I was offered sponsorship by ThoughtWorks to attend the training.

I am a telecommunications engineer by profession working with Orange Uganda as a Quality and Performance Engineer (4G/LTE and Core networks), a role that has exposed me to mainly the radio access side of networks. With no skills in UNIX systems, I was totally green about how they operate and this training definitely opened my mind to understanding them and I have developed an interest for more IT related work, that I previously deliberately avoided out of fear that it was so difficult.

The training was well conducted and the different topics we looked at were very eye opening and deeply engaging for all of us, more so the IT related ones where I had no prior experience. The trainers were very helpful and ensured we all understood which gave me some confidence not to give up when I felt It was too much for me. The networking track was also enjoyable since I had some knowledge on it, however it also showed me that there is so much for me to learn.  Learning and working with so many other ladies in a male dominated field was definitely very good.

Prior to the training, I was constantly thinking I made a mistake studying Telecommunications Engineering. I felt stuck and constantly wished I had chosen another field. I was deeply encouraged to stay on course in engineering and am determined to improve my skills and network with others. Listening to the encouraging words of the speakers at the dinner greatly encouraged me to stay the course and not to switch careers, a thought I contemplated a lot in the recent past. I am confident that with hard work coupled with the right attitude, I can excel in this field and encourage other young girls to pursue Engineering. UNIX and LINUX are no longer a scary phenomenon.  Infact am now looking for opportunities to train and improve my skill in these systems. This training has changed my attitude and given me energy to pursue my career.

I want to take this opportunity to thank AFNOG CHIX for starting these trainings for women in engineering. A big thank you to THOUGHTWORKS for the sponsorship. Thank you to all the trainers and organisers from AFCHIX Uganda. I look forward to AFNOG 2015 in Tunisia, and am happy to be part of the AFNOG network.