Aditi Saxena, Sr. software engineer at Lifesight participated in our women in tech discussion where she shared her insights on what it takes for a woman to make it in the tech industry.
Here's what she had to say:
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
My name is Aditi Saxena and I am originally from Dehradun, India. I am very passionate about backend development and have a total of 7+ years of experience working in the software industry. Before joining Lifesight, I worked in Goldman Sachs and Oracle. I like to own complex architectural design decisions, development strategies, facilitate key technology decisions and guide the team. I have always aspired to work in distributed, big data, and cloud-based scalable systems.
In my free time, I like listening to music, playing badminton, and spending quality time with my family and friends. In the future, I would like to contribute more to the software community as a whole.
What's it like working in the tech space?
I feel privileged working in a highly competitive software industry. Every day brings new challenges and opportunities. I like stepping up, taking action, and demonstrating accountability for the challenges faced. In the software industry, whatever you can dream of, you can achieve it. So the sky's the limit.
What are the challenges faced by women in the tech industry?
With men comprising a higher percentage than women in the tech space, it can be difficult for a woman trying to compete.
Some of the major challenges I faced and I'm sure other women too have faced are- balancing personal and professional life, skill Building and keeping up with industry trends, confidence and visibility, hectic and unprecedented work schedule, limited guidance on the career path.
What can the industry do to encourage more women to pursue a career in tech?
I think some of the effective strategies which can be implemented to attract more women to join the tech industry can be - Spark the interest from an early age, tell them stories of successful female role models, encourage women to apply, allow flexible working hours, training, mentorship, and female networks.
What are the most important skills to learn when starting a career in tech?
Pick one coding language of your choice and start building expertise. Once you gain confidence then you can move to learn something new. Problem-solving and debugging are the most important skills you should look for initially. Don't get distracted by too many buzzwords in the market.
How can women drive excellence in product development?
The ways women can drive excellence in product development is by keeping these key areas in mind - Good communication with stakeholders, continuous feedback, high-quality coding, collaboration with peers developers, be process-oriented and create documentation wherever possible.
What kind of progress do you see within the tech industry in terms of equal opportunities for women and men?
I see a significant progress made in recent years towards gender equality. Companies are putting more and more conscious effort to reduce gender pay gaps and increase diversity. There are so many options open to you these days when you go into a tech career. So, new-age women should leverage these opportunities as much as possible.
What made you pursue a career in technology?
I had done my bachelor's in electronics engineering. After I got placed as a developer in a software firm. After working there for some time, I realized the fact that in software engineering you can see the immediate result of what you're doing and how it impacts people's life. This motivated me to dive deep into it and eventually I ended up liking the tech career path.
What does your team at Lifesight do and what type of skills are involved?
My team handles the backend development and adding new features to the application. It involves coding in the JAVA language, creating new REST APIs and managing the availability and scalability of the system. We also create data pipelines that crunch terabytes of data and derive meaningful insights out of it.
What has been your favorite project or accomplishment at Lifesight?
I have worked on multiple projects in Lifesight. My best accomplishment so far has been in implementing the Customer Intelligence Platform. This enabled customers in unifying the diverse datasets, performing data enrichment and providing various insights to them. We achieved this by building an identity graph on top of a nosql database which stitches identities of billions of consumers globally. This was one of the most challenging problems that I ever faced in my career due to the scale of the data in terabytes.
What advice would you give a woman who is entering a product or engineering role?
Make learning part of your commitment to yourself and keep looking for new ways to grow.
Technology is a fast-paced career. Not only will you find the domain changing quickly, but career growth also demands being proficient in your technical role. My final advice would be to find the right mentor and a role model to keep you motivated and ignited in your career journey.