Meet Sofia Huiya, one of the pioneering Indonesian women who code for a living
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Software design over white background, vector illustration / Picture Credit: Shutterstock

Women are underrepresented in Indonesia’s IT departments but there are pioneers. Sofia Huiya used to be a developer at Tiket, Indonesia’s top travel booking startup, and now works at a new and mysterious startup

Tech in Asia

Nabilah Alsagoff, COO of the Indonesian payment gateway company Doku, recently told The Jakarta Post this story:

I have told my head of IT to hire more women, but the problem is, no one is applying. We held an internship program and out of the five interns, only one was female. I think young females perceive coding as boring, behind-the-desk work.

Women are underrepresented in Indonesia’s IT departments for various reasons, but there are pioneers. In this series, I talk to young women who have decided to make coding their career.

Sofia Huiya, developer at a startup in stealth-mode

Sofia Huiya used to be a developer at Tiket, Indonesia’s top travel booking startup. Now she works at a new startup – but she can’t tell me what it is yet.

Originally from Tanjung Pinang on the island of Riau, Huiya decided to study computer science. Her older sister’s friend recommended it. Huiya had always been good at math. Working in IT would be suitable for her, the friend said, because she would have to use logic and numbers.

Huiya moved to Jakarta and studied at Binus University. She graduated in 2012. Her success inspired her little sister to follow in her footsteps. She’s now studying computer science at Binus as well.

TIA: What was your first experience writing code?

Huiya: I began to learn coding during my first year at Binus. Before that I had no idea at all. It was amazing for me – you type on your keyboard and something will work according to your commands. You can create a calculator, games, or a website. It is amazing.

How did your career path lead up to you joining Tiket.com?

I was asked to join Tiket by a former co-worker who worked there, and I wanted to learn from the CTO Natali Ardianto. He is a very passionate and smart person.

What was your work like at Tiket.com?

I helped develop and maintain the website. I did monitoring and solved customer issues. I learned to look at problems in a different way. In coding, even a tiny mistake can lead to a fatal problem. It is very challenging.

Do you ever feel lonely as a female developer? Is being a “minority” at the job ever an issue, and how do you deal with it?

No, I don’t feel lonely. Even if I am a minority as a female programmer, there are other [women], like analysts, in operations, business people, finance department – there are many women.

What do you do these days? Are you still with Tiket.com?

I am currently developing something in a startup that hasn’t gone public yet. Not even beta. I am learning to build a thing from scratch. I think we will see results in a few months – hopefully!

How would you introduce more young women to coding and IT jobs? What’s the best approach in your opinion?

I think women are suited to programming. I once told my friends this about coding: in order to make something you need to complete step 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. But if one step is wrong, the result can be fatal. Programmers need to be very careful. And I think women are more careful.

This post was originally published on Tech in Asia.

Featured Image Credit: Software design over white background, vector illustration / Shutterstock.

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