Mark Zuckerberg once said that coding is the closest thing to a super power today. If you think about it, it really is! With the Internet and computer technology, humans are doing the unthinkable today like talking to people who live millions of miles away from us, watching street views of far away cities without leaving the comfort of your couch and interacting with a virtual reality - all possible, because of coding and computer technology.
When you meet someone who wields the power of creating such amazing things the last thing you expect from them is humility. However, that's what we got from Divya Anand, who's a software engineer at Akamai. We caught up with her on what it takes to be a woman in tech, and we got some key insights into her life as a computer engineer and her humble personality.
"Women can be fiercely logical"
Divya is not your stereotypical girl. She says, "Everybody considers women to be emotional beings. But I discovered a fiercely logical part of me that loved solving puzzles and it turned out that I was good at it. That’s when i decided coding was definitely for me."
Her love for solving puzzles is equal to her love for coding. She says, "It (coding) gives me the same adrenaline rush that I get when I crack a tough puzzle. Isn’t it gratifying when something works the way you expect it to?"
However, she isn't easily satisfied. When asked what her greatest achievement as a programmer is to date, she said, " Yet to come I guess".
"When you love what you do, you'll figure out a way"
For those who struggle to find the balance between their professional and personal lives, Divya is a new working mother. And she is balancing both aspects of life well. She also believes that her example is a statement that the IT industry is warming up to women. She says, "I think the gender gap in software industry is improving. Women are getting smarter in managing their professional and personal lives and men are slowly becoming more empathetic. My journey has been more or less smooth sailing so far especially given the fact that I have just joined work after my maternity break! If you love what you do, I guess you’ll figure out ways to work it out."
She credits her family for supporting her a lot. She says, "I am blessed to have a supportive family but the journey is not without hiccups. The key is to focus on the bigger picture and adapt to changes. However there is no denying that its a hard balance to hit. I personally take things ‘one day at a time’."
While she doesn't take a stand on the reason behind less number of women in the IT industry, she credits some of it to a lack of motivation on the women's part.
"Can’t say. The dynamics are very different from people to culture to places.", she said.
"If you're having fun, keep at it."
When we asked Divya what she see's herself doing in the next 10 years, she simply said, "More coding!", which wasn't very surprising, given her one-day-at-a-time attitude.
Her advice for budding women programmers is simple (applicable to men as well). She says, "If you are having fun, continue at it. Hang on long enough and things are bound to get better. Meanwhile just relax and don’t be too hard on yourself."