I love coding and debugging. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d say.
When I was a kid, I never sought out to become a developer, but with my Bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering, and a Masters in engineering, specialising in Internet sciences, I guess I chose my own career path without knowing.
I grew up in India and my father was a postman in our village, while my mother was a stay-at-home-mum. I’m the eldest of all my siblings, with a younger brother and two younger sisters, so of course I had to set a precedent for landing a successful career.
From a young age I took an interest in maths and science, and excelled in all my classes at school. The moment I started my degree in computer science, I knew it was something that I was passionate about, and it lit a spark in me to become a developer. Now, 12 years on, I’m still here and still enjoying it.
As a developer, my typical working day is usually a packed day. In the morning I spend time with my son, help him get ready for school, and I usually reach the office by 9.30am. I’ll scan my emails, reply to any that have come in overnight, and then start working on projects I have been planning or participate in some design discussions with my team.
At InMobi I’m part of the Data platform team and work on Hadoop and related activities, mostly open source projects. Currently, I’m working on building Apache Lens, a unified analytics platform for InMobi and other organisations – that’s a really exciting project.
On most days, I leave the office around 6pm, do some cooking in the evening, and help my son with his homework. No two days for me are ever the same, but I enjoy the work that I do on a daily basis, and I couldn’t ask for a better team. They are really supportive, always willing to lend a helping hand, and we all work well together so can count on each other to help with any tricky systems or processes.
One of the main skills required in this sort of role is the ability to build products, by coming up with algorithms that machines can run. It sounds more complicated than it is, but what this means is simple problem solving. You need to have a general knowledge of computer systems, and subjects such as data structures, and operating systems – that’s where my computer science degree comes in. I can use the skills and tools I learnt as a graduate, and implement them into my day-to-day life.
Last week, the Hour of Code took place – a global initiative to encourage people to excel in technology careers, and participate in the Women Who Code program. I was really proud to see InMobi participate in the initiative and we introduced the hashtag, #InMobiWomenWhoCode. Our CEO, Naveen Tewari, also shared with us that 17 per cent of coders at InMobi are women, and he’s on a mission to increase this number to 25 per cent in 2016.
If I had one piece of advice for other female developers – established or aspiring – I’d say “Go for it!”
It really isn’t as daunting a job as many make it out to be. What I love most is that I learn something new everyday, and it really keeps you on your toes. Yesterday I learnt what a logging framework is – basically a computer data logging package for a certain platform – and the day before that I learnt about writing scripts to solve production issues.
Becoming a software engineer has no gender preference. A career in the developer world is mainly to do with brains and nothing physical – which makes it easier for women like me as it doesn’t require physical strength, which can often be a deterrent to some jobs.
Many women across the globe have broken the taboo of technology careers being associated only with men, and made their own, successful, careers in tech. I guess I’m just one of those living that trend.