Women in Tech Thursdays: Talking with Sushree Mohanty about her journey as Software Developer

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Women in Tech Thursdays: Talking with Sushree Mohanty about her journey as Software Developer

Women in Tech Thursdays: Talking with Sushree Mohanty about her journey as a Software Developer

Sushree Mohanty is a Software Development Trainer on our Skills Bootcamps. She is a UI developer with over 2 years of industrial experience and 11 years of coding experience (yes,  she started coding when she was very young). Sushree teaches  C++ and JavaScript. She  holds a Bachelor of  Engineering and Msc in Business. 


Please tell us about your journey. How did you start coding?

I got my first computer when I was 6 years old and I enjoyed playing with it more than playing outside. I used to click around and explore all the software that was available at the time. Whenever someone came home to install a new software (in the age of floppy and CD drives) or fix something in the hardware, I would never leave their side. My first coding experience was working with MS DOS when I was 6.

This is so early! So what exactly motivated you to learn coding? Why did you turn in that direction?

When I started college, I chose IT for elective and that’s when I first learned the C language. Obviously, I was into computers already, but when I learned what a coding language could do I was super interested/excited about being able to write an application which can benefit us in our day to day life in some way.

It seems learning coding was a smooth process to you. Did you have any challenges on the way?

To be honest, I didn’t feel that coding was challenging for me. In fact, I learned about computers by reading the notification text – “Do you want to save before exit? Yes/no/cancel”, so it was natural for me to establish a conversation with the computer. Every time I had an error, I used to read and understand the error and then backtrack from there. I’m of the belief that you can have a friend get mad at you for no reason, but you’ll never have a computer throw errors for no reason, because it doesn’t have any emotion of its own (joke).

And how did you find the job market for software developers? Was it easy for you to find a job?

Well, from a personal experience I’d say being good at something and finding a job are not as related as one may think. We all think that if you earn certain qualifications,  you’ll get this job – however, that’s not true. The job market in software development has never really been that dry. In my personal experience finding a job has more to do with your network, and the resilience and patience you show during job search, etc. I know many friends who are great  at coding but aren’t doing as well career-wise. On the other hand, I also know people who are not necessarily that good at coding and are doing well in the profession.

What do you think might put people off from coding (especially women?)

The misconception that coding is difficult. As a woman, I have never understood why it is said that the ratio of women in the world of coding is low. It’s more about the attitude, irrespective of gender. Being a coder means you decide to keep learning all the time due to the tech updates  and because things move quite fast in the industry. 

In my experience Coding is more about focusing on one task and understanding the entire logical process until you get it done. It is said that this goes well with the way men’s brains are wired; women are known to be better at multitasking. Well, I’d say that willpower plays a role. 

From my personal observations (I might be wrong), I find the gender bias is more in the recruiter’s mind than in the developer’s which seems to be reflected in the industry statistics.

Do you have many friends who code or is it something popular among your friends group?

Among all my friend groups coding is often seen as a difficult task. However, I have a BE in IT and worked as a software developer, so I do tend to  have a lot of coder friends. And if it helps the last question, most of the fantastic coders that I have met are women. However, most of them haven’t progressed in their career as they may have deserved, in contrast to the other genders. 

In my view the reason for this could be late night shifts, relocation, and other working conditions which women sometimes may not find conducive. Therefore to an extent its important for employers to create environments which are conducive to all genders rather than favouring one gender over the other. 

Any advice for females who would like to start coding but don’t know what to do?

Knowing you want to code wouldn’t be enough, you need to find out your “why”. It could be the salary, it could be an inspiration to create something. But those are all external. 

The most important thing in my view is to ask yourself: What your internal motivation is? There’ll be days in your job when you’re sitting with the same error for 3 days straight, no one in your team can figure out why and your manager is losing patience. What do you say to yourself to keep going and continue?

If one figures that out, then everything else is available one Google search away. Developers are kind people, they know the trouble, they love to share. You can find blogs, free tutorials, materials, opensource code and so on. So figure out what you can do with coding, which one of those interests you the most, e.g. what do you want to develop: website, game, software, finance application? Which domain do you have experience in, can you enhance your current  position with a certain language skill etc. Decide on one language and get started. Be patient and resilient.

Good luck!

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