Q: Sana tell us about yourself. Let the people know who you are.
A: Well I was born in Kharian. My dad was an Army Officer, so I was raised in multiple cities. I completed my primary and intermediate education from Army Public School and then graduated in Information Technology from University of Agriculture, Peshawar in 2015. I believe in the power of change and I want to learn as much as I can. Right now I am looking forward to enhance my knowledge as I’ve opted for Masters in the field of Project Management. In my opinion, Computer Science with Project Management is the best duo in tech. Being a creative person, I stepped into the designing world in my early childhood and took a great deal of interest in both arts and crafts and fashion designing. During my college days, I further explored my capabilities in fashion designing, creating a lot of hype in my circle.
Q: What compelled you to choose CS as a major contrary to Engineering and Medical pursued as notable professions in the region?
A: I agree but at the same time I think that this mindset needs to be changed. Things are changing and so are people. I never knew I would end up in CS, it really just happened. Besides having a creative mind, I was greatly inspired by my dad, because of his profession as an Army Officer. I grew up dreaming that one day I will suit up just like my dad, wearing a flag on my chest, standing side by side with him. So, I had decided that after completing my higher studies, I would join the Pakistan Air Force as a GD Pilot. I wanted to be a free bird flying high, touching the sky. I took various tests, but it didn’t work out for me. I was quite heartbroken for a while. However, I didn’t give up and decided to prepare for other fields and ended up joining the world of technology.
Q: Did you have Graphic Design as a career choice in your mind for a while or did it occur suddenly?
A: When we talk about women, the first thing that comes to mind is how well she has designed her attire. I believe that every girl has a designing mindset and it all depends on how well she can express it. If we talk about paintings, people express their thoughts through abstract art, surrealism, and photorealism. As I mentioned earlier, I took a great deal of interest in designing from my early childhood which led to my interest in graphic designing. In short, I opted for Graphic Designing due to a strong affiliation towards designing itself. When you opt for something passionately, you always put all your energy into it and you never cease to mesmerize others.
Q: How was your experience as an Trainee at DoIT? How much part did it play in making you more passionate towards Graphic Designing?
A: It was a good experience working as a trainee with the Directorate of IT. Their work strategy was to give introductory training about the latest tools, and then allowing trainees to complete a project according to his/her skills. My task there was to design layouts of multiple Android Applications.
Q: Currently you are working as Fellow under the KP Civic Innovation Fellowship Program. What was the motivation to join this Program and how has the journey been so far?
A: I strongly believe in civic innovation as it has revolutionized the way we solve problems. Civic innovation is an idea that challenges and improves the existing processes and systems. The KP Civic Innovation Fellowship Program, gives an opportunity to innovators to develop technology-based solutions for civic problems. Here, I am working as a User Interface/User Experience Designer with the KP Traffic Police team. In my opinion, teamwork is the backbone of bringing a product to life. The success of a product depends upon the performance of the entire team.
Q: How do you tackle troublesome situations and how much support do you get from the Fellows and mentors around?
A: Life becomes easy when you have a jar of Nutella in front of you. Similarly, your work becomes interesting when you have cooperative and dedicated mentors and colleagues. One has to put his/her entire effort and energy into meeting the level of expectation of a client and obviously you cannot expect the perfect result in a single go, because a project has to go through a lot of processes to achieve the desired results. Constructive criticism from peers and mentors actually polished my skills and allowed me to harness my talent. In order to meet the deadlines, we worked under pressure, sometimes we even had to start from scratch again, in those tight situations my colleagues and mentors always supported me which boosted my motivation to bring out the best results.
Q: How do you think the Fellowship program will shape your future? Has there been any particular learning which you would like to share with us?
A: Being a part of this Fellowship Program is about learning something new. If we talk about morals, ethics, social interaction, professional skills and most importantly how to deal with the government, the Fellowship Program brings all this learning together under one roof. Various sessions on technical learning have been conducted but alongside the technical aspect, they also emphasize on personality development. They help us learn how to tackle a problem without panicking and enable us to challenge and enhance our existing viewpoints. The program helps us to think about situations through different angles and teaches us how to overcome criticism through constructive feedback. Even Fellows are quite open while sharing their experiences, which has helped others in solving their issues.
Q: How do you make the best of your free time?
A: I think there is always a child inside you, no matter how old you become. And you always bring out that child in front of people whom you are comfortable with. Being a social person, I hang out with my old friends. Besides that, in my free time I indulge myself in experimenting with different projects; be it fashion designing, baking (which are mostly disasters in the beginning) or watching movies of unfamiliar genres.
Q: Who do you personally consider an inspiration and why?
A: My father. He has always been an inspiration for me. Fathers are always heroes for their children, especially when it comes to daughters. I admire him for his gentle nature and for the profession he is in. I can say he is perfect in every way. He always wanted me to be a good human being and I will quote his words here, “I don’t want you to be a doctor, engineer, an officer but rather a good human. A good human can help society in the shape of a doctor, engineer and an officer”. He always taught me the importance of learning, hard work and giving back to the people and community.
Q:If Sana Firdous had not been a Graphic Designer, what would she be doing right now?
A: Well that’s quite a tough question. It’s hard to say because there was so much I wanted to do. I always believed in pushing my limits to reach new heights. If I had not been a Graphic Designer, I would now either be an astronaut, a professional chef, a sportswomen or an artist or who knows what.
Q: You were quite a good sportswoman during school & college days. Which particular sport/s did you participate in? And how do you think sports influenced your life?
A: Well, yes I had been into sports for quite a long time. I participated in different sports events held within our institute. I was quite good at playing basketball, baseball, football, volleyball, badminton and running marathons. I believe that physical exercise is good for the mind, body and spirit. Furthermore, sports are good for learning accountability, dedication and leadership. Sports give you an opportunity to surround yourself with competitive people. If you can achieve something in sports, then you know you can achieve any other goal you set. It is a very rewarding and exciting process.
Q: Any message you’d like to give to the aspiring designers.
A: Strive for two things in design: simplicity and clarity. Designing is never easy. It’s only through the mistakes you make that you can actually grow. You have to get bad in order to be good.