(Photo by Rana Fayez)
It’s no secret there is a shortage of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries.
It’s why Delaware has aimed to sign up 2000 STEM mentors for women and girls by 2019, it’s why Mogulette held a networking event at Delaware Technology Park over the summer and it’s why Girl Develop It held a panel to support women transitioning into tech.
But that’s not what the women of this panel discussed on Tuesday during Delaware Innovation Week 2016’s dev talks: software developers Bhavana Hindupur, Jocelyn Harper and Shilpa Jindal discussed the evolution of their careers, side projects, what they learned and what they wish they known earlier on in their careers. Oh, and of course, the issue of being a woman in the tech industry came up, but it did not dominate the conversation.
The perspective was focused on (and at the same time, limited to) the financial industry as Hindupur and Harper hailed from JPMorgan Chase and Jindal was representing Capital One.
All panelists mentioned the need to keep learning.
“With programming, you have to have the constant need to learn and keep up with all the different technologies and languages. So I’m teaching myself Python and branching out,” said Harper.
They seemed to all have side projects too.
But side projects can be time-consuming. That’s when the questions about work/life balance started popping up and Hindupur was quick to describe it as a way of life.
“Don’t think you’re gonna go into the office 9-to-5, then forget about it. … Even when I go home I spend a lot of time programming,” she said.
Jindal agreed. “It is fun, you feel like you’re creating magic. … I can make my life so much simpler with code.”
Harper saw it as a part of her identity. “Code is pretty much a part of my life,” she said. “It’s not so much a separate part of my life.”
But most important of all, they said, this energy needs to have direction.
“You have to know where you’re going, you can’t be complacent. In big corporations, you have to know what you’re doing for your career very early on. … If you feel you’re stagnant, it’s on you to do something about it,” said Harper.
To truly propel your career forward, you must take action. “If you’re in your comfort zone, get out of it,” said Jindal.
Hindupur gave one last reminder to set yourself apart from others in the industry: always check the integrity of your product. ”
Most of the programmers will cut corners and not test their code. Please test your code before you write your code,” she said.