Continuing from International Women’s day in March, we would love to continue to share stories of women in tech, in the hope that it will inspire young women thinking of starting out, or women who are trying to find their way against the odds.
In this blog, we highlight Navina’s experience in the tech community, now working at Agido as an engineer, while at the same time completing her masters inDigital transformation. She speaks about what made her want to join tech, her first role, her career highlights and what women can do to get started.
What made you want to be involved in the tech community?
My mother encouraged me to study engineering. Before I began to do my Engineering, all of my family were from science backgrounds like doctors, agriculturists, pharmacists and so on. I was the first in my family to do engineering and initially did my Bachelor’s in Computer science engineering. IT was an upcoming area in India at the time and many wanted to jump on the bandwagon. So for me, it was a mix of my mother’s influence and peer pressure that got me to get into IT.
What was your first role within a tech company?
My first tech company was ControlNet which is now known as Persistent Systems in India. I was a tester for projects that had to do with building network testing and network planning software. I started as an individual tester and then became a test team lead in Persistent.
Any particular highlights of your career?
My career highlight is in successfully making the switch from testing to development. For years I was in testing and thought I would never be able to do development and just went with the flow. But I always felt that I wanted to get into development but did not have the courage to change the course. It was also simply not possible to make the change because the new jobs are based on previous experience. So then one day I just decided to come to Germany to study again. I came to Germany to do my Master’s in Digital transformation and during my studies began looking for student programming jobs. Then I found a job in Agido and am getting plenty of programming experience from the job.
Any challenges experienced as a woman?
My old managers used to have spontaneous meetings over smoking breaks now and then and bond with their peers and my male teammates over these breaks. A lot was discussed during these breaks and the female counterparts couldn't just fit in because Smoking in India is a guy's thing and barely anyone sees a woman smoke there. If a woman smokes she is considered immoral and so on. Anyways, the govt. of India banned smoking in public places so these days everyone mostly gathers around the free coffee area at work and chats there and the women colleagues join in. So I guess this problem got resolved by itself when the system changed.
Is there anything a woman can do to get started, such as courses, conferences to attend etc?
There are cheap Udemy courses wherein for some of the courses, the tutors not only provide the videos for the course but also actively help the students. I would suggest going through the reviews of the online courses in Udemy and choosing the course that you think will best coach in the area you are looking for. There is also a good online community on StackOverflow website that has a good knowledge base of questions and answers which is helpful.
What can be done to raise awareness and encourage women to work in Tech?
I think this has to begin from the grassroots levels. The families can encourage their daughters to get into engineering. The schools can also encourage the girl students by having some programming courses and small technical projects in their curriculum. This may encourage the girls to be aware of the opportunities in the technical field or discover new interests.
Best piece of advice?
If you want to do something just do it. Don’t wait or give up. You may fail a few times but eventually, a door will open.
We’d like to thank Navina very much for her contribution to this blog. We hope that her story will inspire many women in tech, or women thinking of joining the tech industry. The advice she shared from her experience regarding what women can do to get started or to even encourage women in tech is very insightful - ranging from doing courses, to grassroot levels.
At UMATR, we encourage diversity in the workplace, and work with tech companies that share the same values as us. We’re happy to say that we’ve placed several female software engineers across many companies, and we continue to do so.
Are you a female engineer looking for a new Scala role, or a tech company looking for talent? Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and work with us today. At UMATR, as tech recruiters, we are committed to helping you find your dream role, or finding your ideal talent Because You Matter.