Filza Tariq – PreSales Blockchain Consultant at Avanza Innovations

By on , in Asia, Interviews

Pick a technology domain that you are passionate about either it is data science, deep learning, cloud computing, blockchain or Web/Mobile development and be the expert of that domain.

Filza Tariq is currently working as a PreSales Blockchain Consultant at Avanza Innovations. Her expertise includes building solutions harnessing the power of blockchain to transform businesses. She is proficient in the development of blockchain POCs underlying hyperledger fabric and ethereum. In her spare time, Filza serves the tech community through public speaking and blog writing.

In a Nutshell: Tell us a bit about your job and what role technology plays in it?

I am currently working full-time as a PreSales Blockchain Consultant at Avanza Innovations. My expertise revolves around the fourth industrial revolution technologies, with special focus on blockchain. At Avanza, I am involved in Smart City enablement projects with Dubai Government and other sectors including telecom, finance and banking. My work is primarily around analyzing use cases for the pain points that can be addressed through the power of fourth industrial revolution technologies (RPA, Blockchain, IoT, AI). My work at Avanza includes mapping the use case with the right technology, setting the foundation of scalable and cost effective architecture for the development stages, making the design choices around blockchain framework, governance, regulation and deployment architecture.

Where did your professional journey start and how did you get to where you are now?

It all started with one single decision. One single decision to choose blockchain as an elective course during my masters program. During that course, I acquired some hands on expertise in blockchain development through the semester project. After taking the blockchain course I knew that I want to work in this technology considering the immense potential it has. In my second semester, there was an opening for a research assistant position at the blockchain lab in my university. Without a second thought, I applied for that opening and after clearing the subsequent round of interviews, I started my first job as a Research Assistant. Witnessing the lack of awareness around blockchain technology in Pakistan, I started participating in the community activities where I voluntarily deliver technical sessions around blockchain and contribute my knowledge in the community through blog articles. After several months of community work, I got the privilege to serve as the committee member for Pakistan’s government initiative for emerging technologies. Later on, I got the opportunity to work at Avanza which is one of the leading company working in blockchain and other emerging technologies. I believe that if you really want to achieve something in life you should work for it wholeheartedly with focus and devotion and avail the growth opportunities head first which come along your way.

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?

The greatest transformation is the fourth industrial revolution giving birth to technologies like machine learning, self-driving cars, robotics and blockchain. This has revolutionized how systems and businesses work and even changed the dynamics of society. Machine learning and AI have made it possible to process the large amount of data for business insights. Today we have self-driving cars coming into the mainstream which have transformed the transportation industry. Besides that, fourth industrial revolution came with the notion of cryptocurrencies giving rise to digital money concept that is not backed by any physical commodity. Cryptocurrencies inculcate the realization of blockchain use cases in most of the big sectors let alone cryptocurrencies. The transformation with fourth industrial revolution is also incorporating all these emerging technologies for smart living by tackling infrastructure and environmental issues along with the benefits of smart mobility and improved economy. Smart Dubai initiative is one example of such transformation.

When you think about ‘women’ and ‘technology’ what comes to your mind first?

“Needed” is the first word which comes into my mind. With half the population of world as women, there is an immense need for women in the technology paradigm to foster workplace diversity which contributes to bring ideas from different perspectives and mindsets, thus creating technology solutions which caters the diversified population with varying needs.

We always hear there are not enough women working in Tech. What needs to happen to change that, which steps should be done to achieve gender equality in tech?

Firstly, all professions should be viewed independently from the gender bias. We need to stop inculcating the false beliefs that certain genders or personalities can only be good with particular professions. It is generally stigmatized that women aren’t good with technology. So when women grow up hearing this in their high schools and workplaces it impacts their belief over their capabilities. In the worst case, they fit themselves into the boxes of professions that culture has crafted for them. I do not support the idea of giving women a head over men in career opportunities around tech. Because it would not be a justice to the notion of ‘gender equality’. However, a general perspective overturn around women and technology can do a lot for gender equality in workspaces.

How different would our world be if more women worked in STEM?

STEM permeates every part of our life. Science is everywhere around us starting from our own core existence. Technology is growing rapidly and is a normal part of our daily lives. Engineering promotes design thinking and tackle the global and environmental changes while mathematics also comes along in nearly every profession as it fosters problem solving. With that brief definition of STEM, in this era every person belonging to any profession, background or social class is connected with STEM one way or another. Therefore, in my opinion STEM encompasses every gender, culture and socio-economic class. And by diversity in STEM, I do not mean to only include more women in STEM, but every other gender should be encouraged to be a part of that in order to bring assorted perspectives on the table. This diversity is crucial for mental exposure and building ubiquitous technology solutions.

Which was the best decision in your career?

I believe that no decision is entirely good or bad. Every decision has its own positives and negatives.

Before I opted to start my bachelors in computer science I had no experience with computer science prior. I think that was the best decision to go against the odds and choose a different career with my will that enabled me to start my career in technology. I believe that no decision is entirely good or bad. Every decision has its own positives and negatives. You need to choose what aligns most with your priorities and own the choices you make in your career and life.

What advice would you give to women who want a tech career?

If you really want it, go all in it. Don’t hear the voices around telling you what you should do and what not. Take your choices, own it and work for it with all the grit until you haven’t achieved your goal. Moreover, one practical advice that I can give with my experience is about choosing the specific technology which you are passionate about. The term ‘technology’ is very wide and there is a lot which comes under that. And you can opt for a lot of career paths if you know that which path you want to go for. So pick a technology domain that you are passionate about either it is data science, deep learning, cloud computing, blockchain or Web/Mobile development and be the expert of that domain.

Filza Tariq is currently working as a PreSales Blockchain Consultant at Avanza Innovations. Her expertise includes building solutions harnessing the power of blockchain to transform businesses. She is proficient in the development of blockchain POCs underlying hyperledger fabric and ethereum. In her spare time, Filza serves the tech community through public speaking and blog writing.

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