How many years have you been in tech?
Almost 10 years.
Tell me about your background. What were your early years like?
I was born and raised in small town in India. Growing up, I was a very studious student who would complete all the Homework in the School itself and after coming home I would read the next chapters that would be covered in the School for the next day. I spent most of my childhood and teenage life studying almost 12 to 14 Hours a day. I was always a School Topper. I remember in my 7th grade (1997) I was awarded by Government of India a Scholarship for excelling in academics and it was Rs. 500 equivalent to around $10. It was a lot of money for me at that time. My parents were very supportive and cheered me at every step I took. I have two siblings an elder brother who is now Anesthesiologist and a younger sister who is also in IT. I was enrolled in Engineering College in Hyderabad, India. And there were only 10 girls in the Class including me versus 40 boys. I completed my under grad in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and after that I realized I want to be in IT. I got married and no, it was not an arranged marriage :). I met my husband in the college. Having come from very conservative family it was taboo to NOT have an arranged marriage. But, I convinced my mom and dad that this is the best that could happen in my life. And after marriage, my husband who is also in IT came for a project in MasterCard, St. Louis. I completed my Masters in Computer Science from Webster University. I was exposed to Databases, programing and Agile concepts which I felt were very useful. I did my project coding in ASP. Net and C Sharp.
How were you exposed to tech?
I was hired by Monsanto and started building apps in Java. After a year or so,I moved to doing Database Development. I moved on to becoming an application DBA. I remember my first meeting and I was the only girl in the room. Very soon,I figured and even digested that Unconsciously Men can safely ignore women and not even make an eye contact with them in the meetings. It would be very intimidating to go to such meetings. But, I enjoyed my days working in IT, in different facets of development and I became a Database Architect in 4 years. It was stressful in lot of ways but was rewarding too. I worked almost 6 years there and moved to World Wide Technology as a Senior Data warehouse Analyst building Data Marts to help make meaningful decisions for the company. An year after that I moved internally to become MDM Developer.
What is your current role?
I am Senior MDM Developer. I help build Data Quality and Master Data Management solutions.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
This was early Jan of 2015. I joined MDM/DQ team. All of us were new to the team and we would not agree even on a single thing because the unknown was large and not a single person had an understanding of end to end process. And that’s when we embarked on Agile philosophy which says if you are unsure of something do something small and learn from it. We started vertically slicing our unknowns. Took the smallest component which we could put in Production. I learned Grails, AngularJS and RabbitMQ. I developed a sync process from Salesforce to Oracle using the above technologies. This built so much confidence in me.
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted. ” Tell us about a time that this applied to you.
This was in 2014 . I was very happy in where I was with Monsanto. And then I thought of looking for something else and that’s when all my friends told me may be that’s a bad idea because internally growing could benefit me both career wise and monetarily. At that time my son was only 2 years, was still a lot dependent on me and with so much of flexibility at work it almost became scary for me to leave. I felt it was almost 6 years and I had this offer and took almost 4 months to make a decision to leave and join WWT which I feel is the best career move I made. I have been with WWT for 2 years now. This is indeed one of the best places to work for.
What are you learning right now?
Right now I am learning to bring Data Governance in the company and build Master Data Management solution. Learning various Data Domains we have and trying to master them. There are lot of tools outside and we are debating whether to build versus buy. This has been exciting journey so far.
What was the last fear that you faced? How did you feel after you conquered it?
Public Speaking has been a constant fear for me. When I am in front of 100 people, I fumble for words. So last year,I decided to join Toastmasters which happens after work Hours. I asked my husband to pick my son on those days from the School and made it a point to religiously participate in giving speeches. It was an awesome exposure and just last month I made a presentation in front of around 200 IT folks in a big kick off meeting which I thought went pretty well. Of course my stomach was churning all through. Public Speaking is a skill that needs to be constantly honed and is a very important one if you want to grow in career.
What advice do you wish someone had given to you? What advice would you give to others starting out?
I wish someone had told me that confidence can be faked. There were lot of times I felt so diffident about my solutions but then one of my mentors told me that “Go ahead and fake confidence”. Its a tough thing to practice. And eventually the fake confidence becomes real, when you start getting more exposure, start failing fast and learning from the failings.
What are your hobbies?
I am a voracious reader, I love to cook and love to garden. They are very therapeutic to me. And playing with my 5 year old is such a stress buster.
What do you like about St. Louis? The midwest? Why do you live here?
I live in St. Louis because both my husband and I have very good IT jobs. This is the city which gave us opportunities. I like that it is fast but not as fast as East Coast or West Coast. I love the Zoo,Forest Park and Arch here. And I love that the weather is so unpredictable 🙂
Who inspires you?
I have a lot of people who inspire me, starting from my husband who is passionate about his work. I follow Sheryl Sandberg and like all her writings. I get inspired by people who are well read, humble and bring different perspectives to the table.