A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduate spends her free time helping underrepresented entrepreneurs as she understands how hard it can be to progress from learning to earning.
Abi Mohamed, 26, was so determined to work in the IT industry that she taught herself coding and took a year out to fund her Information System Management MSc at DMU.
She now shares her entrepreneurial spirit with those who need it the most by spending her evenings and weekends setting up websites for young people.
Abi is passionate about helping to set up new businesses as she knows how hard it is to get ahead for those ‘who don’t have the luxury of money.’
She said: “I spend all my free time helping people with new start-up ideas. I pass on all my IT skills to help them get to where they want to be.
“I assist with anything IT-related and help to create overall plans for their new business IT infrastructure. This includes building websites from scratch and addressing any design or legal issues.
“I feel it’s important to help those who may not have anyone else to turn to as I know it can be a struggle going from learning to earning.”
Since graduating from DMU in 2016, Abi has worked as a Software Engineer for Sparta Global in London, where she develops and tests new technology at various councils and government organisations.
However, she spends the rest of her time – every evening and weekend – sharing her technical expertise through her start-up work at Community Growth Ventures. She is the Technical Director for the business that prides itself on helping founders create sustainable companies.
Abi, who was born in Sweden and raised in Leicester by Somali parents, is particularly passionate about helping those from underrepresented backgrounds.
She said: “With my background, I didn’t always have it easy; life was not always straight forward. I want to help others in similar situations.”
Abi was following her parents’ advice to pursue a political career when she studied International Relations and Economies at Kingston University.
It was only when she worked for a year inbetween her degree and Master’s that she realised what her passion was. She discovered coding, realised that’s what she wanted to do and ‘worked every hour possible in retail’ to save for her university fees.
Abi said: “I had no idea what I wanted to do, just what my parents wanted me to do.
“Then it just hit me what I should be doing, I knew I had to get into the IT industry. I realised IT is my calling and I haven’t looked back.
“I just started to teach myself coding and realised I was able to build basic websites. I just love having that ability to be able to make something from scratch and to be that person who implements something new.”
She added: “I now always tell other young people to challenge convention and just do what they feel is right for themselves. They should follow their own dreams.”
Abi puts a large part of her IT career down to what she learned at DMU – the skills and knowledge she continues to use on a daily basis.
She said: “My time at DMU was fantastic. I learned so much and took away so many valuable skills. I also enjoyed the people I was with; I made so many good friends.”
Abi continues to make a name for herself in the industry as she has recently been featured in a BBC World Service video highlighting women of African heritage who have chosen careers in technology.
She will also be appearing on stage at Wonder Women Tech during London Tech Week in June, where she will talk about getting investment and increasing diversity in the tech industry.
Her future ambition is to open her own teaching academy to share her coding skills and knowledge on a full-time basis.
She said: “I want to dedicate myself to working with entrepreneurs and creating businesses. It is very important for me to continue to help where I can.
“I want to ensure that we live in a global world where everyone is encouraged to progress, whatever their colour, sex or background.
“The IT industry should not just be predominantly white middle-aged men making decisions; there is a new generation of decision-makers out there.”