STEM Up: Shreya

Hi! My name is Shreya and I’m a full time backend software developer based in San Diego, California. I’m an active member of the Lean In Women In Tech community here and can be found speaking at the occasional tech event as an advocate for minorities in tech. Prior to this, I’ve worked at various corporations around the Silicon Valley in California. I hold a degree in bioinformatics from the University of California San Diego.

1.What is your specific area of STEM?

I work as a software engineer within the tech industry. 

2.What is the best way to enter your field?

One of the great things about software engineering is that there’s never just one way to do things! This includes breaking in. The most traditional option is to get a 4 year undergraduate degree in computer science and apply for software engineering internships along the way, culminating in a full time job as a software developer after college. But this definitely isn’t the only way! There are coding boot camps worth looking in to that teach the skills necessary to become a full-fledged software developer in just a few months. Yet another option is to use an online course platform such as Udemy to self-tech yourself programming and begin freelancing from there! 

3.What are some really cool things that people in your profession work on?

Software engineers work on every application on your phone! They work on your automated kitchen appliances and your home security system. Even when you’re going to get a drink at Starbucks, you’ve used applications spanning thousands of lines of code! From using your Maps app to get to the store to the application the cashier uses to punch in your order, you’re often using software everywhere without even realizing it! 

4.What keeps you going in your profession?

Something that I love at my job is that every day is different. Every day I get to solve a new problem that no-one else has worked on before! The more complex the task, the greater feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. 

5.What are your future career goals?

As an advocate of minorities in tech, my goal within the tech community is to normalize and start discussions about difficult situations within the workplace. I try to empower others by providing potential solutions to these problems and provide a platform for others to build off of each other and connect.

In general I divide my goal focuses by category: career, personal skills, financial, and health. My overarching theme for 2020 has been exploration. I’m trying to delve into new ideas with a more open mind.

My career goals involve broadening my skillset technically as well as non-technically, translating to moving up the engineering ladder. 

6.What is the biggest challenge you face as a woman in stem?

It’s no secret that the odds are stacked up against women in STEM trying to build a successful career. One of the biggest challenges adding on to that is imposter syndrome. The way I define imposter syndrome is when one constantly and repeatedly doubts the legitimacy of their accomplishments and is worried that they don’t deserve to belong or succeed. I face this in waves, usually when in periods of great growth. 

7.What message would you like to give to our young readers?

If I can suggest two virtues to develop, they would be clear communication and persistence — these have changed the game for my career and personal life. Just know that if you set your mind to it, you CAN and WILL succeed.

Thank you for reading our sixth STEM Up interview! To know more about what Shreya is up to, follow her journey on @codewithshreya

Follow us on Instagram for more women in STEM interviews at codejammies

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Until next time!

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