We interviewed Nithya Vimalanathan, Principal Quality Assurance Consultant at Sogeti UK on her experience and thoughts on women in tech.
My role as a Quality Assurance (QA) Consultant is multi-faceted. On a daily basis, I engage with multiple stakeholders, which involves a palette of skills like leadership, analysis, techno-functional and mentoring.
My day in the life starts with daily stand-up meetings after which I wear my technical hat. I am responsible for the stabilisation of the IT infrastructure environment. I liaise with the key stakeholders to prioritise the requirements for the subsequent code releases. Meanwhile, I switch to my leadership hat to manage my fellow team members, allocating tasks, clarifying information, and helping with blockers.
My core activity involves performing front-end and back-end testing using different technology. Since my project is agile, I am involved from the business requirement gathering phase, collaborating with the Product Owner and developer to deliver a quality feature. I create frameworks for processes that improve the quality of the product. I am the overall gatekeeper to ensure a quality product is delivered.
I was curious about computers right from my childhood as I wondered how computer games, UI and software were designed and how they work behind the scenes. People scared me, telling me that technology is a mere academic subject, and it is not for girls to pursue as a career. I felt I should choose a career based on my interest therefore I can constantly learn and adapt as technology evolves.
I pursued an undergraduate degree in Computer Applications and MBA specialising in Systems and technology. This laid the strong foundation for my career.
During my university days, we need to exhibit our technical skills by developing a mini project about a Student examination system in 2007. I found it was challenging as I needed to refer to multiple books in order to realise my idea into a working project. This was my first exposure to the IT world. After 14 years of working in the industry, technology has evolved a lot. I started my career in testing IBM Mainframe systems but I now work with Cloud-based technology with multiple development languages.
Yes indeed, as I can visibly see the lack of female representation in the IT industry either be it a female leader or technologist. In my opinion, I feel this is due to gender inequality.
Yes, it’s an unconscious bias. Even though the attitude is slowly changing, there is definitely a gender bias. To inspire more women they must be provided with the right mentoring, empowerment, and equal opportunities to prove themselves. This will directly uplift and inspire other women to choose a career in IT.
Technology is the future; As a woman, we shouldn’t restrict ourselves. We shouldn’t be afraid of technology and think it is hard to learn. Technology-related courses have an additional advantage to your primary core skills. Nowadays, there are a lot of free programmes, such as Code Your Future, supported by Capgemini. We should join technology webinars hosted by women groups where you can build networks and by listening to the speeches of inspiring women from different fields, which will invoke interest to study technology-related courses.
Yes, there are barriers. Women are generally stereotyped as being good at desk jobs instead of technology-related jobs. There is a common misconception that you must be technically equipped to be able to work effectively in IT which is not always the case. People feel women can’t multi-task due to family priorities and work-life balance which is also not true, I prove this every day, my role as a consultant is all about multi-tasking.
Confidence comes through knowledge. Hence women must continue their way in tech to learn the evolving technology as much as possible. Being on top of the latest development, will get you noticed and make it easier to advocate yourself. I have come across some amazing people working in tech who have inspired and motivated me.
Women play an integral part in the tech industry. They are good at analysis and multi-tasking. They bring a different perspective and skillset to the team. I believe if you’re a good multi-tasker and have the passion to achieve and aspire, then I would say “You go girl!”