Female Computer Science Student – Rehema Batumike Docile

In a field historically dominated by men, Docile is making waves and breaking barriers as a standout Computer Science student. Her journey is one of passion, perseverance, and profound achievement, inspiring many young women to pursue their dreams in STEM;

Hi, Docile! Thank you for volunteering to share your STEM journey with the world through us. And, thanks to Providence Baraka for nominating you
Thank you, Words That Count, and Providence, for the kind recommendation. I am honored to be considered for a feature in Words That Count and am delighted to participate.

Please introduce yourself to our audience
My name is Rehema Batumike Docile, and I am from the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am currently a student at the Higher Institute of Computer Science and Management (ISIG/Goma), in the Faculty of Computer Science (Networks and Telecommunications). I also serve as the Gender and Digital Inclusion lab’s officer at Bingwa Civic Tech Lab.

Walk us through your journey into Computer Science. Has this always been your passion since childhood?
My journey in tech began in 2019 with a spark ignited by the “Women at the Heart of Technology” theme at the Techcamp Girl program hosted by the French Institute of Goma. After getting selected for this inspiring workshop, I found myself surrounded by motivated ladies. Together, we embarked on digital projects, and as part of the Techcamp, I came up with the idea of a mobile app – a hair salon management system with a built-in POS system.

The excitement soon collided with self-doubt, and believing that boys were better suited for tech work held me back. I didn’t realize that girls, as well, could conquer coding and other tech-related fields to bring digital solutions to life. My participation in the second and third cohorts of the Techcamp helped me refine the project, but the fear of entrusting it to someone who wouldn’t grasp my vision persisted.

Joining the University became my turning point and choosing Computer Science was a bold step to overcome my fear and empower myself. The challenges were real, but so were the triumphs. Courses and projects fueled my confidence, equipping me with the coding skills I craved. The spark ignited at the Techcamp has now become a fire, and I am ready to illuminate the path for other young girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Beyond the technical skills, I am envisioning to achieve gender equality in the tech ecosystem by empowering more young girls who can craft solutions addressing community challenges.

You have mentioned some of the obstacles you have faced in this male-dominated field, but, what are those you can throw more light on?
Every time, I noticed that many girls in my community wanted to start businesses, but not in the digital sector. They all think it’s not easy, not simple, and not suitable for girls. So, I wanted to try, make a difference, learn, and then share my knowledge with other girls. I realized that few people trust in their abilities, and many struggle to accept learning and taking action. We believe we lack skills, preventing us from progressing in the digital field. So, I took this as an opportunity to learn and make a positive social impact, develop rewarding technical skills, and potentially inspire other young girls.

Tell us about some of the rewarding moments you have had on this Computer Science journey
So far, I have not received any remarkable awards, but I am working tirelessly to be recognized as a champion of gender inclusion in the tech ecosystem in my country, DR Congo.

Who are you outside of work?
Outside of work, I study and work on a project for a 3D printing shop in Goma (DRC). I participate in ICT-related workshops organized in my city about the evolution of digital technology beyond the African continent. I also enjoy meeting girls who are passionate about tech and those who are already in the field.

What is your favorite quote?
“The best way to predict the future is to create it” ~ Peter Drucker.

I appreciate this quote because it perfectly reflects my deep conviction as a girl passionate about emerging technology and the evolution of women in the digital field. For me, this quote encapsulates the idea that we are not simply spectators of the future, but rather active and influential creators of it. As women in the digital field, we have the power and responsibility to shape the future of technology and innovation. This quote inspires me to take initiative and be proactive! It makes me work with determination to create a future where women have a central place in the development and use of emerging technologies.

What is your word of encouragement for a young girl who is interested in pursuing Computer Science?
For the girl child passionate about STEM, this message is a reminder to keep persevering in STEM studies! Each challenge ahead brings you closer to goals, and it just takes passion, curiosity, and a “never giving up mindset” to achieve milestones. Believe in yourself and remain passionate about what you do. The journey in STEM holds great opportunities to shape a brilliant future for the community.

Remember that you have the power to create your own future. Every line of code you write, every concept you understand, brings you closer to your dreams. Don’t be afraid of challenges, since true strength is discovered through difficult moments and uncertainty. Go for it, seize the moment, and inspire the world through your accomplishments!

Thank you very much, Docile, for sharing your journey with us. Not many of us knew where we wanted to be during our first degrees. Thank you for not giving up on yourself and for encouraging other girls to pursue Computer Science

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