Ada Lovelace Day is celebrated on the second Tuesday of October every year, honoring the achievements of women in STEM. In memory of Ada Lovelace, we sat down with some of the women at Progress to talk about their inspirations and accomplishments.
At Progress, we like to celebrate all of our employees, but in honor of Ada Lovelace Day (October 8) we wanted to put the spotlight on some of the brilliant women who help build the products we are known for.
To that end, we sat down with some of the women at Progress to learn what led them to a career in technology, what career accomplishments they are most proud of, what inspires them and more.
Progress: Thank you all for taking the time to speak with us today.
Let's start with each of you sharing what led you to a career in technology/computer science?
Elena: I graduated from the High School of Mathematics “Dr Petar Beron” – Varna and really enjoyed solving math problems and participating in national competitions. My next logical step was to apply and graduate in Computer Science at Sofia University, where my passion for problem solving evolved with more challenging and interesting tasks.
Progress: Very interesting. It’s no secret that problem solving, math and critical thinking are all incredibly valuable skills to have as a developer. Sounds like you landed right where you were meant to be. Anika Srviastava, what about you? How did you get your start in technology?
Anika: In February 2003, as Space Shuttle Columbia crashed, I told my parents I wanted to become an astronaut—they were shocked since we were watching the live news of the tragedy. My parents realized my passion and helped me pursue my dreams. During my school days, I was fascinated by computers and developed an interest in computing and programming. Later, I completed my bachelor’s in Computer Science and Engineering.
Progress: Wow—I can only imagine what your parents must have been thinking as you told them. Clearly a moment in your lives none of you will forget. Priyanka, what about you?
Priyanka: A keen interest in technology is really what drove me to the career I have today.
Progress: It is so important to be passionate about what you do. It certainly improves your quality of life and work. Prasanna—will you share your story?
Prasanna: When I was in high school, I was passionate about both Law and Technology. I then decided on becoming an Engineer with the goal of starting a new business in manufacturing with my brother, who was also looking at a career in technology. By the time I applied for undergraduate studies, I ended up majoring in Computer Science, which lead me to a career in IT.
Progress: It’s really so interesting the paths we find ourselves on. I know we are certainly happy you chose a career in IT. Ankita, how about you?
Ankita: I have a passion for solving problems through technology and a desire to find the smart solutions. It is really cool to see both the small and big things that come of the code we write every day.
Progress: Without a doubt. It never gets old, seeing what we can create with technology. Last but certainly not least, Swathi! Tell us a little about how you got into technology.
Swathi: I had a special interest in Math and Science as a kid and that made my father select engineering as my career stream. While in college, I thoroughly enjoyed learning everything about computer science and still today love the way my career has shaped up due to choosing computer science.
Progress: That’s incredible! While all of you had different moments in time that made you select the path that brought you here, it is clear that every one of you is passionate about technology, which shows in your work on a regular basis.
Switching gears just slightly, let’s talk about who has inspired you most in your career.
Anika: My mother has always been my inspiration. She got married at a young age after graduation. At that time, infrastructure was limited and career opportunities for women were rare, but she never gave up on her dreams. She took care of me and my two sisters while at the same time completing her master’s and doctorate. She then went on to became a professor. She is a role model for me, serving as a constant reminder that giving up is not a choice and to always work hard and live your dreams.
Progress: She sounds amazing. An inspiration to many, I am sure. Ankita, what about you?
Ankita: It cannot be a single person in my case. I have learned so many things and been motivated by different people including my parents, my husband, my friends, my managers and my colleagues; they all keep me going.
Progress: That makes so much sense. In addition to inspiration, who has been your best source of support?
Swathi: My family has been my greatest support and has always encouraged me to fly high and fulfill all my dreams. Additionally, my manager Srinivas Kantipudi has been a constant source of inspiration and encouragement. The Progress culture and my team have been very supportive through my career—it’s been a great 13-year journey with Progress.
Elena: All of my managers have had a great impact on who I am today. I am very grateful for their support and encouragement and hope that I follow in their example.
Prasanna: Yes, I have been very lucky to have extremely supportive managers throughout my career as well. Plus, the support I have from my family has definitely helped me continue my career.
Anika: My father has supported me since childhood as I pursued my dreams and always filled me with positive thoughts, like nothing is impossible. After marriage, my husband became my support system—he always makes sure that I continuously excel in my career by taking equal responsibility in my personal life and encouraging me every day to become better. I share the joys and challenges of my career with him and he celebrates my every small achievement.
Priyanka: My family has been my best support through ups and downs. I try to support other women by understanding their needs and providing guidance on how to shape their career.
Ankita: My teammates have always been there to help me see a problem with a wider perspective and to foresee a problem during the design phase, which really helps down the line.
As a member of the Inclusion and Diversity initiative at Progress, I have worked toward bringing forth the opinions and suggestions of women employees into the discussions. Women employees make up about 50% of my team and I have taken special care to ensure that the women in my team get all the support they need to bounce back and always work with the same vigor.
Progress: Amazing. All of this is so wonderful. So many common threads, whether through managers or family. And so many ways that you support other women in our industry.
One last question. Do any of you care to share the career accomplishment that makes you the most proud?
Prasanna: I started my career at a startup and my contributions toward the creation of a new product have given me immense satisfaction in my role. In my management roles, being able to lead teams that work on a diverse set of Progress products has been a very enriching experience. I’m currently leading the DataDirect Engineering team to build a stronger business, and it is definitely the most challenging role in my career thus far—I would like to reflect back in the future and feel proud of the results we were able to achieve.
Ankita: Currently, I am working on the architecture redesign for the core product. I have done multiple POC’s for the same. In the end, we were able to create a much easier and faster development environment, faster build and deployment processes and ultimately a lightweight product with better user experience, and I am proud of this accomplishment.
Priyanka: I am proud to be able to inspire other women to join studies/careers in STEM fields.
Progress: All of you women have so much to be proud of. You are an inspiration to so many. Thank you for your work, your dedication and your passion.
Sara Faatz is a senior manager on the Telerik and Kendo UI developer relations team at Progress. She has spent the majority of her career in the developer space building community, producing events, creating marketing programs and more. When she's not working, she likes diving with sharks, running and watching hockey.
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