How AI and Tech Skills Are Opening New Career Paths for Women in Southeast Asia – A Microsoft Perspective

NewsHow AI and Tech Skills Are Opening New Career Paths for Women...

In Southeast Asia, a region ripe with opportunities yet challenged by various barriers, women are increasingly turning to technology and AI to carve out new career paths and redefine possibilities. From Thailand to Malaysia, stories of resilience and innovation highlight how digital skills can open doors to significant professional advancements. Jidapa Nitiwirakun from Thailand, despite her physical limitations due to muscular dystrophy, has thrived at Toyota Tsusho’s Thai headquarters, leveraging tools like Power BI to make impactful contributions. Meanwhile, in Malaysia, Assoc Prof. Dr. Hasyiya Karimah Adli has utilized her background in solar energy to transform educational approaches at University Malaya Kelantan, inspiring a new generation of data scientists. Together, these stories underscore the transformative power of digital education and the pivotal role of inclusivity in the tech industry.

Jidapa Nitiwirakun, 21, Thailand

Jidapa Nitiwirakun, a 21-year-old from Thailand, has overcome the challenges of living with muscular dystrophy to secure a job at Toyota Tsusho’s Thai headquarters. Diagnosed with the condition at a young age, she has continued to lose muscle strength each year but has not let that stop her from pursuing her dreams.

Jidapa, Image source: Microsoft Blog

Living independently in Pattaya, Thailand, Nitiwirakun works remotely from her home in the human resources department of Toyota Tsusho, which is the trading arm of the Japanese automotive giant. Despite her physical limitations, she has excelled in her role and is currently working on a project to track the company’s carbon footprint using Power BI and handling graphic design for internal communications.

Nitiwirakun’s journey began at the Pattaya Redemptorist Technological College for People with Disabilities, where she participated in Microsoft’s Skills for Jobs program. This program taught her basic digital skills for business, such as coding, PowerPoint, and AI. During her time at Microsoft Thailand as an intern, she gained valuable experience training employees and clients to use Power BI, which boosted her confidence and prepared her for her current role.

Her use of AI tools, such as Dall-E from OpenAI, has helped her save time and improve efficiency at work. She leverages these tools to assist with formulas for analytics on Power BI and to summarize information when searching the web. Additionally, she continues to volunteer at her old college, using her mechanized wheelchair to travel back and forth from her apartment to provide support to others.

Despite the challenges she faces, Nitiwirakun remains dedicated to her family, providing financial support to her father, mother, grandmother, and brother. She takes pride in her ability to contribute to her family’s well-being and is grateful for the opportunities that have allowed her to achieve success in her career.

The story of Jidapa Nitiwirakun serves as an inspiration to many, showcasing the power of determination and resilience in overcoming obstacles. Her journey highlights the importance of inclusivity and accessibility in the workplace, as well as the impact of programs like Skills for Jobs in empowering individuals with disabilities to pursue their career goals.

Assoc Prof. Dr. Hasyiya Karimah Adli, 37, Malaysia

Assoc Prof. Dr. Hasyiya Karimah Adli, a 37-year-old from Malaysia, has made significant strides in leveraging the country’s abundant sunlight through technology. Originally an academic specializing in solar energy, Hasyiya realized the untapped potential of Malaysia’s solar resources. Motivated to bridge this gap, she pivoted towards computing and joined Microsoft’s Code; Without Barriers initiative in 2021, aiming to close the gender gap in cloud, AI, and digital technology.

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Dr. Hasyiya – Image source- Microsoft blog

Today, Hasyiya is the founding dean of the Faculty of Data Science and Computing at University Malaya Kelantan, located in a rural state in northeastern peninsular Malaysia. She leads the program, which is soaring in demand: the first cohort of seven data scientists is set to graduate in March 2025, and the most recent intake saw 2,000 applicants vying for just 90 places. Her curriculum, based on Microsoft’s, attracts students from diverse fields. Business students learn data analytics for future startups, while aspiring vets and farmers explore how sensor data and AI can enhance their practices.

As one of the few female technology deans in Malaysia, Hasyiya is a prominent advocate for inclusivity in tech. She frequently encourages young women, emphasizing that a passion for technology can transcend traditional backgrounds. “I keep telling them I also am not from IT,” she states, “If they have passion, there is no need to doubt themselves.”


The stories of Jidapa Nitiwirakun and Assoc Prof. Dr. Hasyiya Karimah Adli are profoundly inspiring and illuminate the remarkable resilience and determination inherent in the human spirit. Jidapa’s unwavering dedication to her career and family, despite her physical challenges, exemplifies the profound impact of perseverance and adaptability. Similarly, Dr. Hasyiya’s innovative approach to education and her advocacy for gender inclusivity in technology demonstrate the transformative power of embracing diversity. These narratives not only celebrate individual achievements but also highlight the critical importance of creating accessible and inclusive environments that empower everyone to realize their potential. Together, they showcase the incredible possibilities that emerge when we support and uplift each other in our diverse capacities.

Neil S
Neil S
Neil is a highly qualified Technical Writer with an M.Sc(IT) degree and an impressive range of IT and Support certifications including MCSE, CCNA, ACA(Adobe Certified Associates), and PG Dip (IT). With over 10 years of hands-on experience as an IT support engineer across Windows, Mac, iOS, and Linux Server platforms, Neil possesses the expertise to create comprehensive and user-friendly documentation that simplifies complex technical concepts for a wide audience.
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