Pallavi Kanchana Vinay Gopal
„Don’t ever sit in your comfort zone and lock yourself away from challenges because you think you are not good enough. Instead, in every phase of life, try, fail and learn. Then automatically one point you will learn and succeed. And, most importantly, repeat the cycle again and again.“
Education/career: Bachelor of Technology – Computer Science Engineering
How did you get into the IT industry?
What was your first encounter with IT? When, how and why did you catch fire then?
I loved databases, the way how data instead of papers can be stored in the computer. That influenced me towards IT. I learnt to code but never understood at the beginning the magic it does. Once I learnt it, I never was able to stop it. Basically, coding is just a way you communicate with the system to perform some actions for you. So, you give some proper statements as input and you get a wonderful result out. How to automate this whole sequences and provide it as a System to End User is like a magical black box process that motivated me to enter this field.
How old were you at that time?
I was 18 years old.
How old were you when it became serious and you had to decide on an apprenticeship or a field of study, respectively?
At age 17 I chose to become a computer science engineer.
What alternative professions or fields of study were you also interested in at the time?
I had three options, Medical Science, Computer Science, or Aeronautical Engineering. Medical Science and Aeronautical Engineering were ruled out due to financial insufficient assistance, my grades were also more in favour of choosing Computer Science.
What information did you have at that time about education and the opportunities afterwards?
I was told that Medicine would be most suitable for women, consistent and stable. but I chose Computer Science (IT) because work opportunities were immense. And it is still the case. Also my nature of solving problems and creating solutions, integrating well fit to this field.
What spoke against it from your point of view at the time?
I hated programming languages at the beginning and I thought I will try for two years, understand the gaps, and learn. I only liked databases, but not the programming languages. I pushed myself out from my comfort zone and wanted to change my point of view, and after many tries I did succeed.
Who, which people, which circumstances spoke against a career in IT for you at that time?
When I was young none spoke against it, but once I was married and became pregnant, people directly started to recommend me to quit IT work and look for some part-time work, maybe close to the school or Migros, where I can earn money and spend time with my family, which I thought is funny. At the end of the day I responded them. Why should I have to choose between being a mother and an IT career ? Being a mother is my identity and the IT career is my passion which I love to do and not tired of doing. So nothing can stop me.
What was ultimately decisive for your decision to go into IT?
Of course the hype and demand in the market and success stories which I read in international newspapers.
Who, which persons, supported you at that time?
My parents before marriage and my husband after marriage. I am lucky because after becoming mother there were some moments where I became weak and was about to quit my passion (IT work). But my husband stood behind me and motivated me to not give up my passion. Parents also reminded me about the dreams I had and always stood behind me by reminding me to live with my passion. Thanks God for giving me such a lovely partner and parents who always supported my ambitious nature. Also my in-laws (who are also my second parents) never stood against to my will or dreams or goals. In fact, they always supported me to achieve more.
What was your path after your apprenticeship or studies?
What were your first steps after graduation?
I went right into a job, otherwise you can’t apply what you have learnt. You can do a world tour anytime, full life is there for that, but unless you apply what you have learnt, it would not be useful.
Where were you in your career five years after the end of your training/studies?
• Private situation
Did you have
a) The same salary as your male colleagues?
I can loudly say NO.
b) The same career opportunities? If no, why not?
Career opportunities yes, I chose the right people who value my work. If I don’t see it, I never hesitated to change.
Looking back, how do you assess the decision for IT?
Which of your expectations were met?
The work-life balance was met. I have an IT career as Solution Architect.
What do you enjoy most about your current professional situation?
Every day is learning, it is a never ending journey.
Which of your expectations were not met?
Salary and position were not met, which right now for me is not a big problem, but I am working on it.
Would you make the same decision again?
What do you regret or criticise?
How had your career been different if you were a man?
No matter whether you are a man or a woman, until you learn to love challenges you would never enjoy it.
What would you do differently, and how exactly, if you could?
I would keep the salary range transparent in the company, telling all fellows, no matter male or female, from this age to this experience you will get this much salary and this particular position.
If you had a magic wand, what would you wish for?
I would wish to erase “comfort zone” or “only do what makes you happy” from people’s minds because if you keep on doing what makes you happy, when will you learn new challenges?
What advice would you give to your daughter?
What advice would you give to your 15-year-old daughter if she would like to go into IT?
Just go for it. It won’t be easy, but just like you learnt cycling or dancing or any other sports, you might have pains and troubles but keep a vision and focus to achieve it. Forget the pains or troubles because they will come and go, but learning and achievements stay forever.
What is important to you in life from a professional point of view?
Life needs motivation. Motivation comes from vision and ownership to achieve this vision.
What would a young woman retiring in 2061 have to consider when shaping her career?
Learn what is new in the market and don’t see the depth of difficulty, instead see what shape and colour it’s brings to your life and go for it.