This is Husniye, 30 years old, lives with her husband in Luzern and has been an intern for computer science at IBM since last summer. Her internship will end in a few months. After that, Husniye is hoping to continue with a part time job at IBM while finishing her MA in computer science at university.
What sounds like a straightforward career has been a road of many twists and obstacles. This has to do with the fact that Husniye – like 80% of all Powercoders participants – came to Switzerland as a refugee. This automatically comes with a side effect: she must work double hard and stay double strong to get back on her feet.
When you talk to Husniye you will realize soon that she doesn’t like to talk about the difficult aspects of her disrupted life. But she is very willing to talk to you about how to overcome challenges, and about all the things she is grateful for.
“Two years is a long time.”
Born in the South of Turkey and raised in Istanbul, she studied electronic engineering, got married after her graduation and had a job as a government officer. The circumstances in Turkey unfortunately forced her and her husband to leave their home country in 2019. Their route led them to Greece and from there on to Switzerland. Husniye and her husband have now been in Switzerland for 2 years. “2 years is a long time. Long enough to learn anything”, she says.
Once in Switzerland she got in touch with a Turkish community of IT professionals in Switzerland called hicoders. They offer IT courses to contribute to equal opportunities in the job search – especially for people with refugee experience. She took some Web Development courses there. At her university in Turkey, she had already worked in the field of robotic electronic engineering, so computer science was not new to her. Hicoders recommended her to apply for Powercoders. When she applied, she was accepted at once as one of the 19 participants in April 2021. In her application she wrote: “I think my greatest strength is that I can make and implement decisions quickly and work under a lot of stress. I can think analytically and critically.”
A career at IBM
On the Career Day, which happens in the middle of the bootcamp at Powercoders, she got introduced to many companies – one of them was IBM, Husniye’s favorite choice. She got a job interview with them and convinced them. They offered her a 12-month internship. She started as an intern at IBM in July 2021.
What she likes most about her work: “People at IBM are very helpful, when I have any questions or problems, I can always ask. I am so happy; they are always open to teach me something. I have learned lots of technologies. I feel very very lucky”. And what is challenging? Speaking German. She wants to improve, but she feels her progress is slow, because she is not very outgoing. It worries her that it could make other people impatient.
Learning by Teaching
Mondays and Wednesdays she works from home, Thursdays and Tuesdays she goes to the office and in the evenings to a German course. On Fridays, IBM offers workshops on IBM technologies at the Fachhochschule Luzern. Sometimes Husniye and her colleagues get to assist or teach. They are a team of 4 people, presenting exercises, helping the students. Husniye finds it challenging to speak in front of other people. “I get very nervous and red, my voice breaks down, but my colleagues encourage me, and I am slowly getting used to it.” Experience has shown that she learns best by teaching.
The internship will come to an end in June this year. After that, Husniye hopes to continue at IBM, with a part time job and finishing her university degree MA.
Working in a team in Switzerland is different
For some of the projects at IBM, Husniye meets up with her team once a week. “Working in a team in Switzerland is very different from working in a team in Turkey. Here you can choose your tasks, and everybody can share their ideas. It is still strange for me, but I prefer this system a lot.”
The key to success
Husniye always gets up early, gets to work at the same time and always has a notebook with her, in which she writes down everything. She always follows the rules she set for herself. Every Sunday she writes down the plan for the next week. Later she highlights with yellow, if she did things in time, and orange if it was delayed. She is stubborn with it: “Hard work and discipline is very important to me. I think it is a key to success”.
Code, Hike, Ski
In her free time Husniye volunteers at hicoders as a mentor. It allows her to support others and learn from them at the same time. In a way she can give something back (or forward) of what she once received. On the weekends she and her husband love to go hiking. She loves nature. “Switzerland is a great place for me in that sense”. Next winter she wants to learn how to ski.
We are quite sure she will succeed in whatever she sets her mind towards.