The Journey of a Young Woman Who Dared to Dream Big

A Story of Fitria Widyani, Bangkit 2023 Batch 2 Distinction Graduate from Informatics Engineering, Universitas Teknologi Bandung

Tech might be perceived as a male-dominated field. However, it doesn’t mean women can’t thrive in this sector; Fitria Widyani (21) believes in this. Despite her gender and underprivileged background, she was determined to pursue his IT dream. To make her dream come true, she juggled full-time work during the day and attended an evening degree program.

Exhausted but had a dream, she searched for a program to focus her skills on Mobile Development (Android). In mid-2023, a seed of hope sprouted. She founded Bangkit, a career readiness program from Google that honed her skills and catalyzed growth. Now, she’s ready for an opportunity to excel in her tech career.

From 27% of women in Bangkit to becoming one of the distinction graduates, this is how Fitri achieved success against all odds!

Selling Fritters or “Gorengan” to Cover Her Expense

Born and raised in Katapang, Kabupaten Bandung, Fitri comes from a humble family. Her parents are both high school graduates, and her mother is the only one who works. Fitri’s father could not return to work since he was laid off as a daily laborer. As the eldest of two, Fitri has a younger brother.

Fitri’s parents may not have expressed their expectations explicitly, but she was well aware of the burden her mother carried. At 40 years old, her mother had to work two shifts in a factory. It was no easy task, so Fitri understood that in a few years, she would have to become the breadwinner for her family.
“Witnessing my mother's struggles, I felt a deep sense of responsibility to contribute to my family’s well-being.”
Her past wasn't easy. Since elementary school, Fitri sold fritters or “gorengan” to cover her expenses and fuel her passion for learning. Despite her challenges, Fitri was still determined to get a higher education. She knew education was the key to a better future for herself and her family. At least she’ll become the first person in her family to attend college.

In 2021, she took a bold step. With a meager monthly salary of Rp500.000 (about $35), she signed up for an evening class at Universitas Teknologi Bandung. While juggling work and studies, Fitri continued to nurture her passion for programming, learning, and honing her skills in her spare time.

How Can a Woman Like Fitri Get Interested in Tech?

Fitri’s journey into technology is a tale of curiosity, determination, and perseverance. Unlike many female peers, she wasn’t initially drawn to tech. However, a burning desire to understand her favorite online games led her down a path of self-discovery and exploration.

Fitri spent hours at the local internet cafe as a young girl. Surrounded by male gamers, she initially felt intimidated. However, her passion for gaming pushed her to overcome her shyness and delve deeper into the digital realm.

Her curiosity didn’t stop at gaming. She wondered how these games were created, what made them tick, and how she could bring her ideas to life. This led her to explore the world of web development, starting with simple landing pages using Notepad++.

Her parents, recognizing her potential, bought her an old computer. It opened up a whole new world of possibilities for Fitri. She began experimenting with different programming languages and design software, driven by an insatiable thirst for knowledge. It became why she took the Rekayasa Perangkat Lunak (RPL) path at SMKN 1 Katapang.

Fitri’s journey took an unexpected turn when she pursued mobile app development. However, she faced a significant challenge. In the middle of the PKL program, her laptop was too outdated to handle the demands of modern development tools. Undeterred, Fitri turned to the world of Linux.
“I spent countless hours researching, experimenting, and troubleshooting, eventually dual-booting my laptop with a Linux so I could handle the workload.”

Juggling Between Work, College, and Bangkit

After graduating from vocational high school, Fitri worked as a UI Designer at Lontarlab, a startup in Bandung that specialized in IT. Daily, she focused on developing a product called Tawaf, a personal assistant app for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims. Besides that, she also does other project-based work.

We already know that Fitri is a woman on a mission, determined to break her family’s poverty cycle. But juggling a full-time job with her studies was taking its toll. Her days were filled with long hours at a demanding job, followed by late nights of studying. She was constantly exhausted, and her grades were starting to suffer.

One day, Fitri stumbled upon an advertisement for Bangkit Academy, a program that offered training in Machine Learning, Mobile Development, and Cloud Computing. She was immediately drawn to the program’s focus on practical skills and its potential to help her land a better job. But at first, she had many doubts.
“I used to ask myself, ’Should I join Bangkit? What about my work? Would I have too many sleepless days?’ I know it’ll be very tiring from the first day.”
Realizing the need for specialization in the ever-evolving tech industry, Fitri firmly joined Bangkit 2023 Batch 253. She saw this as an opportunity to focus on the Mobile Development path and enhance her job prospects.

She knew that participating in Bangkit would require a significant commitment. She would have to quit her job and devote herself to the program full-time. But she was determined to take the risk. She knew that this was her chance to finally achieve her dreams.

The weekly mentoring sessions and Instructor Led-training (ILT) are often held at night, as if the program was tailored to Fitri’s schedule. Even though there are sessions during the day, she manages to find time, even attending ILT and meetings at the office simultaneously.
“Bangkit’s schedule was challenging. I work from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm every day, then go to class from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm and study for Bangkit.”
Studying until 3:00 am to complete submissions, especially for the capstone project, became a source of Fitri’s joy. Sacrificing sleep was a small price for chasing her dream of building a helpful startup. The effort wasn’t in vain. Her capstone team, knowZe, made it to the Top 50 Capstone Project!

“Even in the Darkest Times, There’s Always Light Waiting to Shine Through”

After months of hard work, Fitri graduated from Bangkit with honors. She became one of the Distinction Graduates from Mobile Development. After that, she secure position as Software Engineer in her office. For her, Bangkit isn’t just a career readiness program; it's a spark that ignites continuous learning and positively impacts the world.
“I learned from programming basics to build Android applications with Kotlin. ILT sessions were my favorite. They boosted my confidence to answer instructors' questions, all in English.”
Before, she was always hesitant to speak up. However, after Bangkit, she became more confident in her ability to critique, ask questions, and express her thoughts. Bangkit also offered ILT on branding, which made her realize the importance of showcasing and sharing her skills and talents.

Throughout this journey, Fitri learned that every small step contributes to a significant transformation. She said, “Each obstacle we encounter becomes a lesson that shapes us. And within every challenge lies an opportunity for growth and development.”

To end the interview, she bid farewell to Bangkit. It’s an honor to be part of this transformative program, she said. Bangkit enriched her knowledge and skills and ignited a fire within her to pursue her dreams relentlessly.
“Hopefully, my story will inspire others to take the leap of faith and chase their aspirations, regardless of their obstacles. Remember, even in the darkest times, there’s always light waiting to shine through.”
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