I've been fascinated by computers and how they work from a very early age. I wanted to know how and why they work. I remember searching for it on my father's laptop when I was in 6th grade. A bunch of random stuff came up, including a PDF with a ton of complicated stuff. I didn't understand any of it then, but that's when I decided to dig deeper and find out someday. My first tryst with computers was in the form of algorithms in 8th grade. I just fell in love with how logical it was. I found myself hooked on it super quickly. From there, I went on to take CS as my elective in 9th grade where we were taught Java. The first program I ever wrote, a "Hello World" obviously -- when it worked after a bunch of silly syntax errors, my joy knew no bounds. I still remember the feeling very distinctly and till date, it is one of my most cherished memories.
This is a tough one. I overcome something almost every other day. Mainly it's anxiety, panic, fear, something along those lines. In the past few months, I overcame my fear of reading research papers. Despite having a CS degree, I always thought it was not for me since I don't have a research background (not sure what that means exactly). I dove right into reading them because I wanted to learn more about distributed systems. Not only that, I also started publishing summaries to help make it more approachable for other people looking to start.
- I really enjoy drawing doodles to illustrate technical concepts better. I'm looking forward to doing more of that this year too.
- As mentioned before, I also publish summaries of research papers every now and then.
Apart from this, I did a couple of great things last year:
- Travelled to three countries for conferences through scholarships
- Did two internships, one with Mozilla & Outreachy
- Gave my first conference talk - Open Web, Open Source, Open Communities
- Started a new job at Microsoft!
One thing I’d like to tell everyone out there, something I strongly believe in — don’t conform. No matter what happens, do your own thing. If it goes right, the benefits are yours to reap. If it goes wrong, you’re to be blamed and you can’t pin it on anyone else. Don’t listen to what the society has to say about how women should & shouldn’t behave. It’s your life, live it ONLY on YOUR own terms, not someone else’s. Don’t try to fit into a someone else’s description of you & your life. If your career & financial independence is of utmost importance to you, give it everything you got & don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it just because you’re a woman.
Every time I feel discouraged by a sexist comment someone randomly tries to pass as a "joke" or someone tries to discourage me because of my gender, I just think of the reason I got into tech and why I am here -- the idea of building things that can be useful to people with just words, i.e., lines of code is utterly exciting to me. I want to help simplify the lives of folks around me through code. I want to be a badass software engineer and I'm not ready to back down anytime soon.