Siti Raihanah Abdani, a biomedical scientist, shares how coding lead her to be a better researcher and improved work-life balance.
When did you first become interested in learning how to code?
It was when I was working as a research assistant for the engineering faculty at the University of Kebangsaan Malaysia. My degree is in biomedical sciences, and I had never been a fan of technology, automation, or computers. However, during my hospital practicals, I saw how technology can really improve the workload of a lab technician. Then, during my final year project, which focused on mobile health screening for the community, I sensed the technology gap among the health practitioners, which led me to become a research assistant at an engineering school and gave me the idea of programming in an engineering field. Even though there are many "automated machines," it can be costly. So, I've furthered my studies after my research assistant contract doing a masters in engineering with a research focus on image processing. This research required me to have the ability to code and really pushed me outside of my comfort zone, and this was my first exposure to coding. After finishing my masters recently, I have become even more interested in coding and am always improving my coding during my free time. Furthermore, I've found that doing this kind of research (that needs coding) has led me to become more flexible in doing what I really love, which is doing research work and balancing my family life.
Where do you currently work?
I am currently a full-time housewife who is still learning coding online and searching for work opportunities.
What advice do you have for moms wanting to break into technology?
Just move on, never look back. Put your family first. Just enjoy it and embrace it.
Any tips for moms on how to find a company that supports working parents?
I have only worked in an academic environment, which can have some supervisors that support studying parents.
What are ways you stay current? Do you have any favorite websites or podcasts?
I listen to biomedical or health technology podcasts to stay up to date with the current research.