We interviewed Arundhati Bhattacharya, QA Manager at Pole Star Space Applications Ltd on her experience and thoughts on women in tech.
I work as a QA Manager for Pole Star Space Applications Ltd.
My job involves managing a team of individuals, highly skilled in software quality assurance and testing. Together we set up QA processes and standards, ensure software developed meets quality standards, manage customer and internal expectations and help with risk analysis, mitigation and management.
It was the most obvious career choice after a degree in Computer Science. My foray into the world of Computers (IT) happened after I failed miserably in pursuing my childhood dream of becoming a brain surgeon. I was a student of Science and IT was a branch! Technology / IT was and still is booming in India, this seemed a lucrative option in terms of career development. I was fortunate to have been guided by some great managers. I’ve always been very analytical and my job gives me immense opportunity to put such skills into practice on a daily basis.
Yes, I pursued full time graduation course in Computer Science from Pune University, India.
I’ve been in IT ever since I started working, about 16 years now.
I would have liked to say ‘No’. Coming from a country that specialises in IT services, I have seen more women than men in some of the teams I have been fortunate to work in. But reality based on what I have read, heard is otherwise. The overall number of women versus men in IT industry is far from being close to each other in numbers. Women are still subject to discrimination when it comes to equal opportunities at workplace.
I believe there is! I genuinely root for gender equality and merit-based hiring. Women’s fitness for tech jobs have been long questioned. There is often a lack of complete trust in a woman’s skill sets and abilities when it comes to hiring, I have experienced interviews probing whether a woman was pregnant or had plans to bear children or get married within a certain duration if they were to be offered the role in question! These are straightaway off-putting because it tells me that the organisation will never place its trust on my core skills. It is as if a woman’s personal decisions seem to take over the utmost important question of whether she fits the role being offered. Inclusion and not isolation is key!
Organise tech related projects, interactive workshops and seminars and let not just men but the techy women lead by example. Presentations, talks, women achievers are all a fabulous example of how women are technology-fit. Reward women the same as a man would be rewarded.
As said previously, yes there are unfortunately! It will need a massive shift in our mind-set. Women are very capable of applying 100% of their skills and strengths despite all other personal distractions. This is an education every tech person should imbibe and inculcate.
Start early – schools and colleges must proactively teach children about the powers and prowess of technology. Let children, irrespective of girls or boys decide whether they are inclined towards technology, give them projects to work on, guide them towards technology and encourage where signs of interest are observed.
Let the commercial value of technology not be the only driving force but let the younger generation truly see value in lending their creative, innovative and intellectual side to technology.
For women that are already pursuing a career in technology, I do hope organisations realise the potential and value of inclusion of women and ensure this is also shared on a platform with other employees, other organisations!
Add another goal to your list of organisational/technology/department goals – genuinely strive to have 50% women in your technology teams! Let women lead seminars/workshops/projects and programmes. Create an environment of transparency where women can feedback and discuss their issues or concerns. I believe that the ways of working have changed incredibly in the last two decades, organisations must be able to find out what is the most productive work environment for every employee and endeavour to facilitate what can be offered (irrespective of men and women). Create conducive environments where women feel they are valued, the organisation and its people are sensitive and there is less rigidity when it comes to compensating for being distracted with children, family etc. Trust is key – trust and value your women employees and they will outperform your expectations!!