I was born and raised in Shiruru, a small village in the Karnataka state in India that no one has ever heard of.
We were a lower middle-class family, my father was a farmer, and my mother was a housewife – neither of them was well educated. We spoke Kannada, the language of Karnataka I studied in until I reached the 10th grade.
In my family, particularly in my village, women generally didn’t work. But my parents had a vision of educating their children. They treated me equally to my two older brothers, who also wanted me to become educated. It was ingrained in me that I had to graduate and work.
Although my mother wasn’t well educated, she was very ambitious. She would wake me up at 4am to study. While all my cousins would help their mothers with the housework, my parents told me to focus on my studies and never asked me to do any housework.
I always loved science over other subjects like history or languages. So in high school, I studied science. This was a big change because you had to study science in English, and I had only started learning English as a second language after 5th grade. I had no support system with anyone who could explain English to me, and we didn’t have the internet then. So I would keep a diary , write down the words I didn’t understand, and look them up later.
I always wanted to give my parents a better life and fulfill their dream
I had a cousin whose husband was a banker. This profession was very well recognized in our village, so I thought I’d take a job in banking too. I had never come across engineers. When I was in the 8th grade, my one brother did a computer science diploma. I had heard that computer science offered many opportunities. I always wanted to give my parents a better life and fulfill their dream.
After 12th grade, I gained admission to an engineering college outside of my village. I had to live in a hostel, which was a big culture shock because I grew up in a small village. I completed my engineering studies in four years, becoming the first person in my extended family to get a university degree.
My husband encouraged me to keep up to date with the technology
I got married within a year of graduating. My husband worked for Amdocs in Cyprus, and I joined him there in 2001. It was a beautiful country where we had a good life, but it bothered me not to be working. I am very grateful to my husband because he always said my career was important. For the three years, we lived in Cyprus, even though I couldn’t work, he encouraged me to keep up to date with the technology so that when I did have the opportunity to work, I could compete. In 2004, we found out that Amdocs was opening a center in Pune, and we knew I would have multiple opportunities. So we returned to India, and I applied for a job at Amdocs. I was recruited as a tester in January 2005. I have been with Amdocs for over 18 years and have not looked back.
Now my 16-year-old daughter supports me and looks up to me as a role model
My brothers have always supported me – they encouraged me to study and supported me financially when I was studying engineering. When I got married, my husband’s family also gave me much support. Now my 16-year-old daughter supports me and looks up to me as a role model. She is currently deciding whether she wants to study finance or technology.
I have come across challenges that other women face, such as the impression that women are only promoted because they are women
As a woman in the tech world, I haven’t personally faced any challenges. But I run an initiative in my unit in Pune to promote diversity, and at times I have come across challenges that other women face, such as the impression that women are only promoted because they are women.