Through her participation in World Learning’s NextGen Coders Network (NGCN), 27-year-old Sujood Nasri Aqraa had the opportunity to pause and reflect on how she could realign her career goals. Though a graduate in computer programming from An-Najah University in the Palestinian Territories, Sujood had shifted her career focus to graphic design and digital marketing after she lost her passion for computer programming. Her participation in NCGN allowed Sujood to combine her years of experience with graphic design and digital marketing, her passion for computer programming, as well as some newly developed interests attained through the program.
In spring 2020, NGCN hosted its second virtual exchange with participants from Iraq, the Palestinian Territories, and the U.S. Sujood was recruited through World Learning’s local partner Partners for Sustainable Development in the West Bank. Alongside her groupmates, Sujood helped create a website prototype that provides tips and guidance for people preparing for interviews as well as freelancing tips. Sujood noticed that despite an increase in college graduates, there was still a high rate of unemployment in her community. She wanted to create a place to “support them by providing tips that [would] guide them on how to find jobs online and how to create accounts on freelance websites and how to deal with [different online] platforms so that they can find the job that suits them.”
She said that each module in the curriculum as well as the natural chemistry with her partners provided a great space for personal and professional growth. Upon completing the exchange, Sujood was inspired to take the next step in her professional career and launched her own digital marketing online agency. She chose design thinking, one of the topics addressed in the program curriculum and one she finds to be critical for a graphic designer, as the main focus of her agency. While Sujood feels she has a long way to go, she is confident in herself to be able to take on new challenges and step out of her comfort zone while continuing to focus on the things that make her happy. Sujood, a now self-proclaimed entrepreneur is grateful for her team members that pushed her and NGCN for reigniting her spark.