Software developer Farheen Ahmed is on the forefront of ensuring the Belt’s future is bright.
By helping enhance the railroad’s technology, she’s helping to usher in an era of greater efficiency and a superior employee experience.
After completing her master’s degree in computer science from Northeastern Illinois University in December, Ahmed is on the right track to achieve goals. The degree took 2.5 years to complete.
“It feels really good to be done,” she said.
Balancing work and school was a challenge, and Ahmed thanks Chief Information Officer Nick Chodorow and Software Development Manager Nik Bronder for supporting her as she navigated it.
Earning the degree helped her develop project management skills and took her through the life cycle of the software development process.
“It was a good experience, and I hope I can use the knowledge I gained to benefit the railroad,” she said.
Ahmed is helping to build the user-friendly system that will replace AS400. She is the only software developer on a staff fluent in the programming language known as Java.
“I love coding,” she said. “There’s not many women in the profession, and I enjoy representing females in the industry.”
She credits her father, Dawood Ghori, and mother, Niloufer, with supporting her and helping her achieve goals.
“My dad is super proud,” she said. “I am what I am because of him.”
Her sisters have professional careers, including a doctor, a pharmacist and a fellow software engineer. Ahmed’s husband, Irshad, is also a software engineer. They met and married while completing bachelor’s degrees in computer science in Hyderabad, India, where Ahmed was raised. The couple then studied for their master’s degrees together and again took the same classes.
“That was really nice,” she said. “I had a study buddy. He could explain things to me when I didn’t understand, and I could do the same for him.”
Ahmed has no intention of concluding her academic career; after a break, she hopes to earn an MBA.
“You can never be done studying,” Ahmed said. “There’s always something to learn.”