#YouthvsCOVID: Tech is the future — and I want to be a part of it

by Mutsa-Pearl D, 15

My name is Mutsa-Pearl and I took part in the #YouthVsCovid online hackathon with TeensinAI. This was truly an incredible experience, which not only taught me tech/coding skills but the skills that I am sure will be vital in my future. I encourage everyone to take part in at least one hackathon because I have truly gained so much from participating in them. I am immensely grateful I was able to take part and thank the creators, especially Elena Sinel for organising this incredible event.

Our team chose to tackle the problem of Domestic Abuse, we were inspired by the talks from Mandy Sanghera and Ganesh. The problem of domestic abuse is a current, serious and growing problem which we knew we could help tackle — this is where Hopeful Home grew. Hopeful Home is an app we made to help victims of domestic abuse.

The highlight of the hackathon for me was watching my peers grow (who had never worked with AI) and see them (and myself!) fall in love with AI. Our challenges were more technical, but we were supported by our incredible mentors.

My Story

My journey with Technology and AI began as a subject I did not like and had no interest in. This stemmed from my experiences in school which, personally, limited my creativity and did not show me how AI and technology could be so incredible. I knew the basics of HTML and Python but I did not enjoy them. However, this all changed in 2019, when I joined a coding community called Young Coders Meetup (YCM). Without this community, I would not have found this passion. Through the meetups I was shown that the limits are endless and I could be as creative as I wanted to be. From there, my passion grew and still continues to. As my passion grew, my knowledge grew and my drive grew. Through mainly hackathons, YCM sessions and home-learning I began my journey learning Python, HTML, Swift and Javascript. AI always seemed like a scary topic to me, however, now I find it funny that I thought that. I started my path with AI in 2020 and I have gained so much knowledge already! My peers at school also shared the same initial views as me on tech and computer science which is why I invited 3 of them to the YouthVsCovid19 online hackathon, to help them question whether their perceptions on the subject were skewed. I can happily say that they thoroughly enjoyed the hackathon and have learnt so much and they have officially entered the world of tech! And I was greatly shocked at how brilliant they were!

I would love to continue showing many girls that tech is an amazing place to be.

My vision for the future of Tech and AI

Everything around us incorporates technology and will continue to do so. People are therefore going to have to create that technology and I know I can be that person. However, this doesn’t make me feel entirely content. Today, we see products, which are flawed because they were not created by a diverse team. I rarely ever hear any young girls say they would want to grow up in AI or even tech when they are older.

My vision is that the future of tech is diverse: flourishing with a range of different races, genders, religions and furthermore.

I also hope even more Hackathons like the ones I have attended, are taken to countries where young people do not have the same opportunities I have had. This is one of my life goals — bring opportunities to those who are less privileged than I am. Tech is the future and not only do I want to be a part of it but I want to encourage others to explore it alongside me. I aim for a career in Fintech as I love both finance and tech, the fintech industry has a gender diversity problem and women only represent 29% of the staff in the sector so I hope as I continue my journey, I can get as many girls to discover the amazing world of AI and Tech.

Powering the Next Generation of Thought Leaders, Innovators and Technologists in #AI @teensinai #TeensInAI #GirlsinAI #MCStartup2016 Founder @elenasinel