SJW CIS Student Claims Major Prize @ GITEX 2017

3 years

Fatima Ahmed Rashed Mohammed Alshaali took another big step on the coding ladder to fame when she was awarded 3rd prize in the GITEX Student Lab competition, held as part of the 37th GITEX 2017 Technology Week.

Fatima, a Computer Information Science student from the HCT-Sharjah Women’s campus (SJW), is an avid programmer who is rapidly creating a name for herself among local App developers with her creative and entertaining App called “Silent Fairy”.

When asked what made her want to develop an App she answered: “It all started for me with a mobile programming course taught by Mr. Ali Farhat. In this course I learned to code in X-code and Swift and this got me interested. I then took some courses online using the Udemy platform and it all moved on from there. I like a challenge and wanted to push myself to do something new.”

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Fatima explained how she had started by looking at ‘the market’ and studied popular games wondering what made people want to play them. She had come to realize that many games are relatively simple yet addictive and that this had put her on a quest to create her own.

“Some people think IT is ‘dry’ but game development really allows you to be creative and it gives you a chance to play around with new things. For example, I created the soundtrack for the App using ‘Garage Band’. I don’t know much about music but it was a lot of fun playing around with the App. In the end, I used 21 different instruments for my game soundtrack. It was really time consuming and gave me an appreciation for how much effort goes into composing just a short tune,” she said.

Fatima explained that she had wanted to create all the assets for her game by herself “to get a better understanding of all the elements that go into app design”. She regards the late Steve Jobs as a real visionary and role model because “he could see things that others could not see”; even adopting his famous quote “Design is how it works” as her own motto.

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Working by herself, Fatima faced the challenge of not having anyone to share ideas with. She explained that she had to change the game several times because she played it so often that it became too easy for her whilst beginners found it way too challenging.

“This is not a college project, so work never ends,” she grumbled a little. “But I have learned a lot about all the different aspects of game development by doing this project and it was all worth it when Apple accepted my App in their store within 24 hours of submission. This was a real thrill … I couldn’t believe it!”

When asked if she had any advice for students who wanted to follow in her footsteps Fatima answered: “Start small; if others can make it, you can make it! Don’t give up, there comes a time when you want to stop; push yourself and be positive!”

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Fatima is already talking about exploring augmented reality in her next project and we wish her all the best in her coding endeavors.  Her App is available on the Apple app store at the following address. Check it out at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/silent-fairy/id1271075547?mt=8