4. January 2017–
When Berlin Calls – Shafaq Bashir recently came to Berlin from Islamabad, Pakistan to work as a salesforce developer for the startup Blacklane. Bashir, who one day wants to work in Silicon Valley or become an entrepreneur, shared how she came to be here.
“I feel like it isn’t really important at the moment to do a master’s degree. You need to know what you want to do with your life and do a specialisation in that area. I am a software engineer by profession and I wanted to grasp what I want to be in my field.
I was working at a huge startup before here in Pakistan. The startup was from Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is a huge thing for those in software engineering. Everyone wants to work there, but you can’t just fly there like that.
So I started looking at opportunities close to that – groomed environments that are close to that level and Berlin came up. It is basically the hub in Europe. I did all my research through the internet; all my interviews were on Skype.
Getting me from Pakistan to Berlin was a huge mess. The embassy application had new requirements; everything was brand new. I got hired four months ago, but I got here in November.
When you are at the start of your career you want to do anything you can get your hands on.
In startups you learn a lot. They are developing themselves and you are developing yourself. There are real life problems as it is not a stable company. Anything can go wrong and anything can go right. I wanted that adrenaline rush and I wanted to see how they build up from scratch.
I want to prove that being a girl doesn’t restrict me from what I want to do in my career, and then that being a Pakistani doesn’t restrict me either. I love my country and I am really proud of it.
Maybe that is why I chose Berlin. It is very multinational. Everyone is from a different country and everyone respects that fact.”