Nisha, Volunteer

“It feels very rewarding being able to inspire the younger generation and give something back to the community. It is also fun answering interesting questions from super curious students, and seeing the faces of young students brighten up when they realise how technology is impacting their day to day lives.”

  • Name: Nisha Notani
  • Job title: Technical Account Manager, UK
  • Organisation: Amazon Web Services (AWS)

What activities have you participated in?

I have participated in a number of sessions in schools across the UK, speaking with students aged 9 to 16. These include sessions on ‘Women in Stem’, ‘Careers Carousel’, ‘STEM Futures Day with Robots’, Introduction to Cloud and Introduction to Artificial intelligence/Machine Learning to name a few.

Why did you decide to take part in these activities?

One of my main aims is to show the younger generation how technology, and cloud computing in particular, are helping citizens, business and societies. Most of them are still unaware of the concept of cloud computing, data centres, machine learning and artificial intelligence, for example, and these sessions provide a great platform to introduce these technologies to the next generation. I also like to take the opportunity to share my career journey with students. I entered the tech industry through a less traditional route and I think it’s important to help people realise that you don’t have to be a coder or a developer to work in tech!

How did you get involved?

I was invited by Inspiring the Future to deliver my first session to a primary school in the UK. I also have my profile listed on ITF’s website which enables schools to contact me directly from the portal. Within AWS, I am also an AWS InCommunities Ambassador in the UK, which means I help raise awareness of ITF programmes internally within my organisation, and encourage more volunteers to participate in these rewarding activities.

How did you prepare?

The key part of my preparation is making sure I can clearly explain what cloud computing is in a simple and engaging way. One of the most effective methods I’ve found is using a video to help bring complex concepts to life. This helps the students grasp the concepts easily as they can visualise how things work behind the scenes.

Take us through the day:

Prior to each session, I work with the teachers and organisers to learn about the cohort so I can deliver content that is tailored to the group.

I begin each session by introducing myself, and then provide a brief overview of my role, what it involves, what my career path has been so far, which soft skills are essential in my current role. I then answer any questions the students might have. For the Introduction to Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning sessions, we also include a short activity (time permitting) which introduces the students to the concept of algorithms.

What has been the best part about the activities for you?

It feels very rewarding being able to inspire the younger generation and give something back to the community. It is also fun answering interesting questions from super curious students, and seeing the faces of young students brighten up when they realise how technology is impacting their day to day lives.

What is the strangest/funniest/best question you have been asked?

In almost every session, at least one student is keen to know my salary 🙂 It surprises me how aware kids are about money from a young age!

What is a key piece of advice you give?

One the main pieces of advice I give is that although money/salary is an important factor, enjoying the job is equally important, if not more so. Another key advice I share from my experience is that it is okay to fail in the beginning because failure is part of learning, and curiosity leads to learning, so always be curious!

What impact do you think you’ve made on the lives of young people you spoke
with?

I hope I have been able to inspire students by sharing the challenges I faced and how I overcame them to get to where I am today. I also hope I have been able to address the myth that coding is essential to get a job in IT; if one is keen to get into technology, there are various roles like hardware engineering, operational support etc, which are also available.

 

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