Omani Womens’ Day: Women in IT

t has been a fun journey says Aida Yousuf al Rahbi, Director General of Contracts and Procurement, Ministry of Technology and Communications.

She was passionate about IT field as a child.  Although she wanted to be computer engineer she ended up taking up Information Technology, but she was still being with computers.

“I was not into work which would require me to go out too much so IT was perfect.  I was into programming, business modeling and mathematics.  So my studies encouraged me further to take up the profession.  Once I began to work I got involved with project management and contracts,” said Aida.

What would she like to say to other women who are in the process of building their careers?

“First of all I would say self-awareness.    You must know what you want, know your own goals and objectives whether it is your life or your career.  We must have a clear vision of what you want to do.  Sometimes you might come across experiences that may change your mind later on, something which I have also experienced.  I got into IT and entered computing but then I changed my major to e commerce.  The reason was I wanted to blend business with IT,” explained Aida.

The other aspect she emphasizes is knowing ones capability.  “Work on your gaps and improve them so they become strengths,” she noted.

She began her career in Government Tender Board which gave her work experience in three tracks – project management, IT and contracts and procurement.  She also had the opportunity to work with e tendering project at its initiation stage.  She later joined as IT director in the private sector.

What keeps her motivation high is the habit of reading.  “I love reading and I read practically everything about the IT and about any sector that uses IT.  That has helped me to understand other sectors when it comes to IT projects.

Was it a difficult journey as a woman?

‘I think only at the very early stage of the career because the work environment was different from my education and what I was used to.  My parents were focused on giving me a very good education and they were very open minded.  They allowed me to travel abroad and I got my higher education in Australia.  However I do feel there were some restrictions on women in the beginning.  But the best part is most of the support I received to learn further came from men.  It began with my father, brothers and male colleagues.  Now I like to empower other women,” she said.

She said women need to focus on building a network of supporting each other.  “It does not have to be only women but whoever is out there to support you professionally, mentally or emotionally – keep them as part of your network.  They would be the ones who would be there to support you when you need and encourage you to do what you would not want to do which is for your own good.”

Many women tend to ignore their natural traits says Aida.  “We are multitasking, we need to indulge in time management because we have to look after children, our career, we have to prioritize, risk management as well as finance management.  Some women practice it at home but not at work – they tend to forget but they are built in naturally.  These are our strengths and we need to focus on it.  Employers do not want people without the drive, they want people who have the potential to go that extra mile,” she concluded.