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Hajara Saleeth

Hajara Saleeth
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Hajara is a former Program Officer at SLASSCOM (Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies) and an MBA candidate of Staffordshire University - UK. She holds a BA (Hons) in Business Administration (First Class) from Staffordshire University - UK and currently pursuing studies on CIMA Strategic Level. Hajara is dreaming of a Sri Lanka with IT/BPM industry as the number one industry and she can be followed on Twitter via @hajara_. Views are personal.

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- Interview with J. F. Fazna: An Award Winner of Ideamart – Digit Awards 2013

Digit IT Magazine partnered with Dialog Ideamart to recognize the best performing mobile application developers cum entrepreneurs on Ideamart and the award ceremony was held on 12th October at Dialog Future World Auditorium. There was one particular app developer who was able to stun the gathering, when she was awarded for the most number of application submissions. She has developed 16 applications on Ideamart within a limited time period and today; we are interviewing Jifry Fathima Fasna to explore her story behind the success.

Q:  Hello Fazna! Congratulations on your award at Ideamart – Digit Awards 2013. Tell us about yourself.

A: I’m from the east part of the island. My hometown is Oddamavadi, which is in Batticaloa. I started my school life at BT/BCC/FathimaBalika M.V. and did my A/L at BT/BCC/Oddamavadi Central College.  Currently I’m doing my second year of the degree in Computer Engineering at University of Peradeniya. About my family, my father is an electronic technician and my mother is a homemaker. I have three sisters and a brother.

Q: Give us a brief introduction to your presence on IdeaMart?

A: I got to know about Ideamart from a friend before Ideamart team came to our university and did a session on Ideamart and how it works. Then, I decided to do apps on that platform and started the work. Now, there are 16 active applications on Ideamart developed by me. Some of them are service type and others are contact type.Under service type, there are few subscriber-based apps such as Girl Facts(Ultimate facts about girls), Health Tips, Sports Quotes (famous quotation for sport people by famous sport persons) and etc.

In contact based applications, there are several apps. Some of them are: Biorhythm, Sleep Calculator, Donate Blood, Know Your Blood Group, Future Job, EB Calculator. Biorhythm and Future Job use user’s birthday to produce the results while the other apps have their own specific inputs.

Users can find the full details of the apps on allapps.lk, or in our FB page https://www.facebook.com/toroidz

Q: 16 Applications! That’s amazing effort! What motivated you to develop applications for IdeaMart?

A: I just love programming. When I get an idea to do an app, I just do it. At the time I heard about diGIT-Ideamart competition, I had already finished 16 apps. So, I applied for them all. Yes, there is a motivation for me. My colleague Fawzan was already doing these kinds of work and he has won some awards in a recently held award ceremony and it impressed me a lot. So, I decided to follow his way and do some apps.

Q. How do you reach out to your target market? What are the marketing channels you use?

A: I initially target the people at my university. I prepared some posters and put them in every faculty’s student notice boards. Other than that, I have a plan to put some advertisement on newspapers and magazine also.Currently, I’m creating a Facebook page for all of my apps to reach the people since it is the mostly used media by everyone today.

Q. What are the challenges you face being a developer?

A: Challenges?? Hmm.. I don’t think being a developer is a challenge. May be it is because I love to be a developer. But, my family members worry about me, specially my parents because, I start everyday with a coffee in front of my laptop and end the day with the dinner in front of my laptop. So, they feel that I should move somewhere else and do some other works also.

Q: Do you have any role models? Who inspire you?

A: Yeah, as I already mentioned my colleague Fawzan is my inspiration for being a developer. He is doing lots of work on web development and application development. He was the one who showed me the way to do some creative work. I started my work as a content creator on his websites, Tip4theday.com and ezmodem.com and now reached this level. I’m really thankful to him for what I’m now.

Q: Where do you see yourself in another 10 years time? Tell us about your future plans.

A: I like to see my self as a successful software engineer in the future. I’m not sure whether I’m going to be a freelancer or work under a specific company. Whatever I do, I like to do my best.I think being a freelancing software engineer would be sound nice ;) . So, I can do my favorite work independently without any pressure. Other than the job, I want to do some more creative work in the field of application development and web development.

Q: We do not see many female developers/entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka. What is your message to potential female developers/entrepreneurs?

A: Nowadays, women achievers are in every field. Women can achieve a good place as developers/entrepreneurs, because we are more creative and innovative. These two qualities help us to shine as a developer/entrepreneur.My opinion is being an entrepreneur is a very good profession for women. Not this one, for any profession, if they love the profession they can do it well.

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Sri Lanka is realizing its potential in the IT, BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) and KPO (Knowledge Services Outsourcing) industry where many international awards/rankings are being presented to the country in recognition of the growth. Marking another milestone in the progression of the offshoring industry, National Association for Outsourcing (NOA) has shortlisted Sri Lanka for the award of Offshoring Destination of the Year. This award is to be delivered during its prestigious award ceremony – NOA Awards – 2013.

The NOA operates as a not-for-profit trade association and aims to promote best practices in outsourcing, lobbying government and regulators, and provide research and information to companies and managers using outsourcing. Now in its tenth year, and firmly established as the awards all outsourcers want to win, the NOA Awards recognises the success of an organisation’s outsourcing projects and contracts. Anybody that is somebody in our industry competes to be crowned champion.  For more information, please visit: http://www.noa.co.uk/noa-awards/

IT/BPO/KPO industry in Sri Lanka has been recognized for its potential by many other international organizations. A.T. Kearney Global Services Location Index has ranked Sri Lanka as one of the top 25 offshoring destination while identifying it to be a ‘hidden gem’ with a great potential in the niche segment; Financial Accounting outsourcing.  IT/BPO/KPO industry of Sri Lanka currently produces USD 600 million exports revenue while employing 60,000 employees across verticals. Among the positive sentiments, IT/BPO/KPO industry of Sri Lanka aims to achieve USD 1 billion export revenue and generate 80,000 jobs by 2016.

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Sri Lankan Twitter community is known to be organizing unique events setting it apart from other social networks that are popular in the country. Among such unique events, networking events have been highly attended by the tweeps who express themselves with 140 characters on regular basis.

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Adding a new flavor to such events in the Twitter community, #TweepsIftar was held on 30th July at the Sasakawa Memorial Hall –Colombo 03 with the participation of 70+ tweeps. This was an initiative started in the Ramazan season last year with few tweeps attending the event. The event this year kicked off as a result of a casual conversation between Muhammad Nasir (@MoAwesomeSauce) and Akram Mutaliph (@Akram_Z) regarding meeting up for an Iftar as a reunion. Tweeps Iftar 2013 took the practice to a whole different level where an open invitation was sent out to all the tweeps in the Sri Lankan Twitter community. The most outstanding feature of the Tweeps Ifthar 2013 was that it was not limited to Muslim tweeps where non-Muslims were also welcome to join the event.

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The event gave a great opportunity for Non-Muslim tweeps to get exposed to the rituals of Muslims during the Ramazan season. Iftar arrangements were made with delicious buffet from Arabian Knights who are known for authentic Arabic Food in town. Arabic food such as Shawarmas, Falafel, Humus Dip and Laban (yogurt drink) added the real flavor of an Iftar to the event. Upon completing Iftar with delicious food, Maghrib Jamath prayers (group prayers) were conducted and it was led by @MoAwesomeSauce. Prayers were followed by a speech by @MoAwesomSauce who enlightened the non-Muslim community about aims, obligations, rituals and practices of Ramazan which was of high value to the society in terms of creating awareness during a time of misconceptions.

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Similar to other Twitter events, the Tweeps Iftar was also followed by a networking session for participants where they had the opportunity mingle with fellow tweeps. As per the main organizer of the event; @MoAwesomeSauce the aims of this event were of two folds namely; to provide Muslim tweeps to have reunion for an Ifthar and to promote communal harmony through allowing Non-Muslims to experience rituals/practices of the religion and these two aims were achieved to a great extent.

The event was able to gather a massive momentum and positive comments from the participants as well as people who were not able to join the event. Many highlighted the contribution made to create the inter-religious understanding, networking as well as fellowship among tweeps who interact with each other online on a regular basis. Due to the positive impact, this event is expected to continue as an annual event at larger scale in coming years.

Pictures from the event are on the facebook page here

Click here for tweets from the tweeps about #TweepsIftar.