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What It's Like For A Millennial Woman In Tech

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Engineer Rasika Subramanian says the key to success for women in tech is to be fearless.


Tell us a bit about what you do and what a typical day looks like.
One of my favorite parts of being a key contributor to a pathfinding team is there is no ‘typical’ day. Generally, on a day with no major meetings or presentations, I catch up with all my readings and emails and attend the team sync meetings. This helps me align myself with the current project goals and tasks. I try to work on my most challenging and innovative projects and POCs (proof of concepts) in the middle of the day since I am most alert then. From 2 pm onwards, I like to sync up with my colleagues and address all the collaborative tasks. The most fun, however, is all the brainstorming sessions I have with my teammates while developing a new product.

Did you always know you wanted to work in technology? How did you decide to go into engineering?
I remember first being intrigued with technology at the age of 9. I would watch reruns of a cartoon show called ‘The Jetsons’ after getting back from school. This futuristic cartoon had flying cars and smart tech that would perform complex tasks with the push of a button. I wanted to be part of the effort to make regular things smarter, faster, and better. This led me to pursue engineering and working with innovative, cutting-edge technology.

Many women in the tech industry feel that their gender has affected the way they are perceived or treated. Have you also felt this, and how did you handle it?
Being a millennial, I feel the tech industry has come a long way in normalizing gender. Though the perception of women engineers has been negatively impacted in the past, I don’t see that as the case today, whether it be leaders in the tech industry or engineers like me working on the next fascinating invention.

What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?
Over the years as an engineer, I’ve always felt a strong camaraderie towards other women in technology. I believe we have strong support from one another and a very encouraging environment for budding technologists and engineers. I have actively participated in programs such as Women at Intel, Society of Women Engineers, and Women in Tech to connect with other engineers from different fields and companies and create a more inclusive environment for innovation.

Do you notice a lack of women in technology? If so, why do you think that’s the case?
Unfortunately, the tech industry’s women-to-men ratio is skewed. One reason for that could be the fact that not many girls are exposed to the wonders of technology at a young age. Wanting to tackle this at the root level, I joined an NGO called Girls Inc. Their goal is to encourage girls to be strong, smart, and bold and enable them to participate in their field of interest, including STEM.

Many women in the tech industry consider themselves introverts. Are you an introvert, and if so, what is the most difficult thing about being an introvert in the tech industry? How did you overcome it?
No, I am not an introvert.

Is there a female technologist you admire who has influenced your career journey and choices?
I have admired astronaut Kalpana Chawla from a young age. She was the first woman of Indian origin to go to space. She began her career at NASA in the research team and went on to be part of world-renowned projects and space missions. Her vision and career encouraged me to join the world of technology and be a core part of the pathfinding team.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry? What do you wish you had known?
Be fearless—every challenge that comes your way can be tackled with inner strength. Taking calculated risks is an important way to grow and as my mentor would say, always be kind, helpful, and encouraging.

Tell us about your recent patent and the impact your patent may have.
My patent ‘Multi-criteria power management scheme for pooled accelerator architectures’ enables accelerators to manage power in a faster, more efficient, and smart way. This invention can reduce the total cost of ownership for data centers, and save power consumption, thereby providing power load-balancing opportunities.


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