UAE: Why this Emirati woman left a job in oil to become a coder

Though her family was surprised by her career shift, they provided unwavering support


Ashwani Kumar

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Published: Thu 14 Mar 2024, 3:55 PM

Hamda Al Wahedi, a graduate in environmental geosciences, who landed a job as a petrophysicist in the oil and gas industry, has made a career switch to become a coder.

After an immersive course at 42 Abu Dhabi – a one-of-its-kind innovative and disruptive coding school in the Capital – the 29-year-old Emirati now works as a data analyst.

Since its launch in 2020, 42 Abu Dhabi has drawn students like Hamda from diverse backgrounds including architects, engineers, pharmacists, designers, trainers, and more.

So, what made Hamda switch her career?

“A few years back, with a bachelor’s in environmental geosciences and experience as a petrophysicist, I recognised the growing importance of digital skills. Driven by this realisation and a passion for lifelong learning, I shifted gears and joined 42 Abu Dhabi to learn coding, the ‘language of the future’,” Hamda told Khaleej Times.

Though a complete novice at coding, her love for gaming and full support from her inspiring father – a computer engineer, helped Hamda walk the baby steps into her coding course at 42 Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, she also pursued a master’s degree in data analytics from another institute.

Tuition-free coding school

42 Abu Dhabi is a tuition-free coding school that provides a unique peer-to-peer, gamified learning methodology. Selection of students is done through an intense coding boot camp that tests an individual’s computer programming skills, drive, perseverance, and devotion towards it.

“I stumbled upon 42 Abu Dhabi while researching coding boot camps during the Covid-19 pandemic. At the time, I was deeply immersed in learning Python and coding, seeking opportunities to further develop my skills in a structured and supportive environment.”

Hamda was drawn to 42 Abu Dhabi by its project-based learning model that emphasised collaboration and the practical application of coding skills.

“I entered with no coding experience, but their immersive curriculum equipped me with foundational skills like web development, algorithms, and problem-solving. The challenging projects pushed me beyond my comfort zone, fostering resilience and adaptability.”

Interest in gaming helped

Hamda pointed out that her interest in gaming sparked her coding journey, and her background in geoscience equipped her with a keen eye for detail and analytical thinking – perfect for dissecting complex coding problems and handling data with precision.

“Imagine being a kid in 1994, surrounded by the latest tech trends. Gaming was a colossal world I couldn't escape, and it fuelled an endless fascination with how these games worked. Witnessing the magic behind pixels and controllers sparked my curiosity, leading me to tinker, explore, and eventually delve into the language that powered it all: coding. From deciphering in-game secrets to imagining my own digital worlds, gaming laid the foundation for my passion for coding and shaped my desire to become a creator, not just a player.”

Excited to inspire others

Though her family was surprised by her career shift, they provided unwavering support.

“They championed my decision, celebrating milestones and offering encouragement during late nights. My father went above and beyond, creating a special workspace fully equipped with the latest laptops and office essentials, greasing up the wheels for my journey to excel. Some of my friends, though not directly in the tech field, cheered me on and offered freelancing opportunities and provided moral support during challenging times.”

Hamda has found a job a data analyst, and is looking forward to a bright career.

“Today, I’m a proud coder, excited to inspire others, especially women, to embark on similar journeys. This experience taught me that anyone can code with dedication and passion, regardless of background.”


More news from UAE