Humayra Hanif

Senior Software Engineer, insightsoftware

And - Recognised finalist, Computing's Women of IT Excellence Awards for Software Engineer of the Year


Don't be afraid to speak up. This goes for ideas as well as your values.

What do you do?

I work as a software engineer for insightsoftware. In short, I work on the development of software which provides reporting for ERP data. I have worked in many different areas – developing new ways customers can construct reports for their data, optimising the reporting engine, developing user interfaces for how customers can build and view their reports, and working on the infrastructure which takes the “code” on my computer and delivers it into a whole system which is ready for a customer to use to solve their business needs.

Why did you choose this field?

I always enjoyed solving problems with computers. Growing up I was always the one who was called upon when something went wrong on the family computer. Once ICT became a choice at my school, I was one of two girls in a full class. I know I wanted to pursue something to do with problem solving, due to my love of maths – so I originally landed on accounting! As the time came nearer to studying accounting I realised it wasn’t something I was looking forward to. Maybe growing up with three brothers helped me see I wouldn’t be put off being in a field with fewer females! I rejected all the offers to study accounting and took a last-minute decision to switch to computer science – and I’ve never looked back! I don’t think there is any other field I could’ve followed, where I could combine my love for technology and solving problems.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

There have been so many times where I’ve had to pause and think that my younger self would’ve never believed this was possible. The highlight so far must be being selected as a finalist for Computing’s Women of IT Excellence Awards for Software Engineer of the Year. I’ve always thought I’d struggle with shining a light to my achievements, so being nominated by someone was a huge achievement, and receiving wider recognition by being a selected as a finalist was the icing on the cake.

Learning skills, finding opportunities to apply them and making my contribution known are all things which I’ve learnt along the way, which I wish my younger self would’ve known I’d have learnt.

Why do you love working in STEM?

The way people spend time helping and supporting each other is something which makes being part of the community so great. I love knowing I will spend time with an amazing team, working together to solve a problem. The feeling you get when all your efforts pay off and you reach a milestone and can celebrate with your team, is incomparable.

Having amazing managers and mentors who are vested in supporting you and seeing you grow, makes each day wonderful. I also love how the wider community is vested in helping society with events like Facebook x OYW Social impact hack, one million women to tech, and projects to do with humanitarian data (HumData).

Best advice for next generation?

Be brave and believe in yourself. Every attribute which makes you different, can only drive your creativity.

Ask for opportunities. If you don’t someone else will, and it is a shame to lose out based on the fear someone will say “no”. Saying that, don’t take rejection personally. There are many reasons for professional decisions, if one opportunity doesn’t work out, try to bounce back and look to the next one.

Let people know your values and boundaries as it is important you are comfortable in your environment, not only for yourself, but for others too. In STEM, empathy, passion and creativity are important attributes and these aren't gender specific.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

My role model is Dr Sue Black. Hearing about her story, with everything she has been through and everything she has achieved was such an inspiration for me. And she still smashes it with everything she does. She's taught me that every disadvantage I have, is a strength, and that it is never too late to go after your goals. Rather than think about everything I haven't done, it is all about everything I have done and have the potential to achieve. She really is a great woman.

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