Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi! My name is Shreya and I’m a full time backend software developer based in San Diego, California. I’m an active member of the Lean In Women In Tech community here and can be found speaking at the occasional tech event as an advocate for minorities in tech. Prior to this, I’ve worked at various corporations around the Silicon Valley in California. I hold a degree in bioinformatics from the University of California San Diego.
What are your goals?
As an advocate of minorities in tech, My goal within the tech community is to normalize and start discussions about difficult situations within the workplace. I try to empower others by providing potential solutions to these problems and provide a platform for others to build off of each other and connect.
In general I divide my goal focuses by category: career, personal skills, financial, and health. My overarching theme for 2020 has been exploration. I’m trying to delve into new ideas with a more open mind.
One of my personal goals include learning a new tech stack (ie familiarize myself with and explore a new way of thinking) through practice with full stack development. I strive to extend this thinking at work by regularly volunteering to pick up unfamiliar tasks.
What could the tech industry do better to Foster female talent?
This is a multi part question. In order to truly invest in bringing on additional female talent, there’s three points at which efforts can be made - before hiring, during hiring, and after hiring.
Lack of females in tech takes root in childhood, when boys tend to be given legos and video games while girls tend to be given dolls and makeup. Companies have the power to step in and host outreach events for children (specifically girls) to motivate and inspire them. For example, IBM hosts EXITE camp. This is a program with a mission of introducing young girls (some campuses focusing on bring on minorities or lower income brackets) to technology and engineering. I think companies today could really learn from that initiative in bridging the gap between male and female early interest in tech.
The next point at which efforts can be improved is during the hiring process of candidates. With less females interested in tech than males from an early age, it directly follows that for any given job posting there will be less female applicants for a job than males. However, that doesn’t mean that the females who do apply are any less qualified. Companies need to make an active effort to look out for these applications so they can bring as many females as males into the interview room. This is in their best interest to fill their offices with diverse teams offering a variety of perspectives.
Lastly, companies need to retain female talent to keep their teams diverse. This can be done by creating a sub-community for the women at a particular company. Another important effort we don’t see enough of is to host workshops focusing on how to effectively communicate or succeed at a diverse company. This would encompass topics like avoiding microagressions, how to to be cognizant of offending someone, and dealing with the situation of unintentionally saying something offensive.
By putting time into comprehensive efforts to foster talent from all over the spectrum, companies are able to build teams and communities that are more diverse, but unified. Ultimately this inclusivity helps a company fulfill corporate social responsibility.
What advice can you give people breaking into tech?
Breaking into tech is hard. The mental fortitude required to code for a living is high, and a good software engineer needs to have refined technical skills and soft skills. If I can suggest two virtues to develop, they would be clear communication and persistence — these have changed the game for my career and personal life.
Do you have a mentor or role model?
My two biggest role models for hard work, creativity, and success are my parents. They came to this country in their mid 20’s very little cash, no job security, and an 8 month old infant. Over the years they’ve successfully raised two young adults, made leaps and bounds in their respective careers, and have no plans of stopping anytime soon.
They’ve taught me how to overcome obstacles, to continuously stay evolving, and to make a positive impact in my community.
Who do you follow?
I follow accounts and profiles who leave me feeling energized, inspired, and motivated. For badass women in tech who aren’t afraid to get real on their platforms I like to follow along @codingblonde, @tarascript, and @sundaskhalidd. For my skincare needs my go to is @skincarebyhyram. And for my wellness and fitness needs I head over to @blogilates feed.
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