As part of our Girls in STEM initiative, we invited Iman Kassim – IT Apprentice working for BMW Group – to give her insight into embarking on a career in STEM.
My name is Iman Kassim, and I have worked in tech for just over 2 years now, as a BSc IT apprentice with BMW Group, however my first insight into programming and technology started in 2014 when I started Computing GCSE. Learning about how computers work, as well as basic Python at the time was very interesting, and from there the seed had been planted for my career in STEM, particularly in Computer Science. Programming to me is just like Minecraft, or Lego – it is the tools you have that, like an artist, you can use to create whatever you like. If the tools you need does not yet exist, that just means you can create it first! Currently, I am an aspiring Data Scientist and currently work in Data Analytics at BMW.
Girls in STEM careers are so important to ensure there is innovation and creativity in all aspects. It is common knowledge that the majority of people working in STEM are male, and that is no surprise to me being one of the only women in my workplace. However, this should not act as a deterrent as girls and women can offer different experiences and insights, which is very useful for the future of STEM. One example I have come across is lack of diversity leading to machine learning models having a bias or preference towards one group – this means that the models are inaccurate for the real world, and can cause harm (such as machine learning models used in banks to calculate credit allowances, would this model be fair for everyone if all the data used was from millionaires only? What effect would that have when the model is deciding what kind of credit allowance to give people who aren’t millionaires?)
Going back to GCSE’s, I always used to think about what I wanted to do when I was older. I had many passions, from music, to science, to tech and more. A career in STEM, especially Data Science has allowed me to work with my passions all at once, and I think this is important for girls to know that STEM careers and degrees aren’t just the stereotype of “boys sitting in front of desks” – it can be working as a chemical engineer to develop new health and beauty products, or working on new designs and technology for aircrafts and space rockets. The sky is the limit when it comes to careers in STEM!
I would say to all girls considering working in STEM that YouTube is an amazing tool to utilise. There are many “a day in the life of” videos where people will post what it’s like to work in a certain career which you can use to find the careers you are interested in, as well as many informative videos on the technicalities of each career. This helped me realise I wanted to become a Data Scientist, and it can also help you to decide what you would like to do when you are older.
I cannot wait to see more of the influx of women in STEM careers continuing through the span of my career, and all the achievements and ideas that can help shape the world in the future.