Breaking boundaries: Tara’s journey in a male-dominated tech sector
min video //
min read //
December 5, 2023
Around the world, women still struggle with unequal opportunities, underrepresentation, and exclusion. In tech, a predominantly male-dominated sector, the situation is even more dire.
According to the World Bank, women account for less than a third of the world’s workforce in tech-related fields. Iraq is no exception here, characterized by minimal representation in tech as well as an exceptionally low female labor participation rate of 10.6% – one of the lowest in the world.
To Tara, however, gender was never a setback in her entrepreneurial journey. “I cannot deny the stereotypical prejudice against women in tech in Kurdistan and everywhere for that matter. I know women are viewed as anomalies in tech or as if they don’t belong there. I acknowledge all of the above, but I also know that this doesn’t define me,” she states.
Born and raised in Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdistan region of Iraq (KRI), Tara Mohammed has been passionate about technology from a young age. “I’ve always been a curious person with a lot of energy, ambition, and dreams. I wanted to do something meaningful with my life. In my teens, I became fascinated with tech, the industry of the future where possibilities seemed endless. So, of course, I decided to go for it!”
Over the years, Tara’s insatiable curiosity led her to dissect gadgets, tinker with code, and unravel the mysteries of the digital world that unfolded before her. Little did she know that this childhood fascination would blossom into a passion, propelling her to a meaningful journey and a successful career.
Today, she is a tenacious and visionary tech entrepreneur challenging traditional expectations and making a significant impact in a historically male-dominated industry.
In 2019, Tara started her own business: Black Ace company for information technology services and consulting in Kurdistan. As the Founder and Managing Director, she leads a dynamic team delivering bespoke solutions to individuals and organizations across the region, where they provide software development, licensing, information security, cloud services, and IT consulting and support. The company is also partnered with AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft, and Huawei Cloud.
“My vision was to make a difference in the market by providing cutting-edge IT services with high international grade standards and quality. I didn’t just want to compete on a local or national scale. I strived for bigger things. I’ve always had big dreams and big expectations of myself, which is also reflected in the quality of work my team and I deliver to our clients.”
To stay on top of her game, Tara is committed to learning and education. She acquired a Diploma in Computer Science from the Computer Institute in Sulaymaniyah and a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from the American University of Iraq – Sulaymaniyah, with a minor in Business Administration and a specialization in UI/UX design. However, what truly sets her apart is her unwavering dedication to life-long learning.
“It’s not easy to compete in an industry that’s continuously evolving, where you have to keep up with the latest technology. It gets very challenging, but it’s the passion and determination that keeps me going.”
Tara is also an avid reader, and prior to starting her own business, she studied for 10 years and worked for 6 years, acquiring experience in different technical and development roles in the IT industry. But beyond her technical knowledge and experience, her success also stems from her passion, resilience, inner strength, and unwavering work ethic.
“I love what I do, and my love for the field keeps me going. I’m also a visionary and a woman of action. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it. I’m resilient, consistent, and determined. I don’t see failure or giving up as a choice, and I don’t try to meet anyone’s expectations except mine, which are – believe me – high enough!”
The tech industry, both globally and locally, is notorious for disparities between men and women. However, Tara refuses to be defined by these obstacles. “I’m not a female entrepreneur or a woman in tech; I’m an entrepreneur in tech who also happens to be a woman,” she asserts.
“I don’t think like a woman or a man when I work. I think like a professional with a vision. In fact, I think being a woman uniquely positioned me to differentiate myself through my work. I believe diversity in tech, and therefore in perspectives and approaches, is crucial for innovation. For me, being a woman in the tech industry has allowed me to bring a fresh and distinctive outlook to the table. My focus remains on delivering excellence, and I see my gender not as a limitation but as an asset that adds depth and richness to this dynamic field.”
So, rather than dwelling on the challenges, Tara chooses to invest that energy into herself and her work. “I like the idea of being so good they can’t ignore you. Only then, being a woman or a man won’t matter because the focus is on what you do and what you bring to the table.”
Like Tara, women in tech in Kurdistan, Iraq and all over the world are breaking barriers and leaving their mark in a male-dominated industry. But the sector is still in need of more women in tech! Whether you are someone with a passion for or a background in tech, our message to you is to believe in yourself and let your journey be a testament to your unwavering spirit and boundless potential. You’re not just entering a field; you’re transforming the future of the sector and the future of young Iraqi and Kurdish women following your footsteps for generations to come.
As for Tara, her message to you is to “not get discouraged by other people telling you what you can or cannot do, and instead channel that energy into driving your ambition and purpose forward. If you think this field is for you, go for it, and prove it for yourself – not for anyone else. Believe in yourself, pursue your passion, and let your achievements speak louder than any label ever could.”