What motivated you or inspired you to go into your field?
Computer Science was part of my school Curriculum from 3rd grade. From BASIC, LOGO to Computer Hardware, my love for the subject just increased with each passing year. The CPP programming class in high school cemented that interest and since then, there has been no looking back.
What were the first few steps you took to pursue your field in STEM?
A Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Engineering was a natural choice after school given my passion in the field. Apart from coursework, I did projects and online courses on different languages and frameworks. Reading articles and attending seminars/workshops on emerging technologies heightened my interest and curiosity towards Computer Science.
What have been your biggest challenges so far? How do you maintain positivity and motivation despite obstacles or barriers?
At my first corporate job after my Bachelor’s degree, I suffered from low self esteem that I think was partly because of the fear of the unknown. I felt that everyone was getting accustomed to the new skills they were teaching us faster than me. My initial reactions were panic and resistance. After a couple of small tasks, the biggest learning experience came in terms of a major cross location project with a small team but high visibility. It was a fairly new technology and we all put our best efforts to learn and deliver. There was briefly a crisis situation, where the team resources were to be reallocated but my team architect made sure I stayed on the project, since he believed that I was integral to the team. I ended up creating the biggest application with complex integration.
This experience taught me two things- the importance of believing in yourself and the importance of having a mentor - someone who can understand your skills.
Now I approach new tasks with the thrill of learning and not the fear of unknown. The faith that my team architect put in me helped me understand my potential and I look forward to helping others around me the same way.
What motto or core values do you live by?
Hard Work, Patience and Perseverance. Be patient and keep doing what you have to do without worrying about results. Success will follow.
What kind of obstacles are in store for today’s young women? What are some words of advice you believe will help girls today overcome these obstacles?
The very visible gender gap in the industry is something that would concern women entering the STEM field. It can lead to women underestimating themselves and having difficulty expressing their opinions.
Have confidence in your abilities and stand by your opinions. Nothing that can eclipse good work.
What message do you have for girls who aspire to be like you but don't believe that it's possible?
Fortune favors the brave. Hence, get out of your comfort zone. It will be tough, you might question your choices and think about quitting multiple times but when you get through it, it will be a great glorious story that will inspire more women.
So that advanced class you were scared to take, the internship that seems too taxing or that project which looks too complicated - Take it up and Give in your best efforts. Do not be scared to ask for help and find mentors who can guide you. Build a network through each journey whether it be a class, a job or a project.