Ekta is a Software Development Engineer 2 at Blinkit. She works on the experience that a customer entails after checkout. This week we talked to her about her journey as a woman in technology.
My name is Ekta Garg. I come from a small town in North Rajasthan, where we have a highly enriched culture but not many opportunities career-wise. From the very start, I knew that in order to fulfill my dreams, I would have to get out of here. My parents have been very supportive from the start. After matriculation, I moved to Kota for JEE prep. Although I didn’t clear JEE, I learned a lot about what it means to be independent.
My college, IGDTUW, an all-female college, played a key role in my life. The core motive of the university is to empower the women of our country and foster industry-relevant research and innovation.
I didn’t know much about gender biases in STEM but experienced them after joining the tech industry and gradually learned how to grow and overcome limitations. I worked for early age startups in the beginning and handled entire projects independently. About two years ago, I joined Blinkit (formerly Grofers). I was very excited and a bit nervous at first, given its scale and being a customer myself.
This journey for me has been most interesting and has been a roller coaster ride with a steep learning curve and a culture that is very welcoming and encourages individuals at each step.
Talk about your team, role, and responsibilities.
I am a part of the Post Checkout Experience team, where my work usually revolves around solving problems to reduce customer anxiety and complaints with the help of technology.
My team ensures that the customers are heard, happy, and receive the best customer experience possible — with every click, every interaction. The responsibility of creating a great customer experience starts with a customer-first mindset. Every feature we build, we make sure it is something that is putting customers’ needs first.
I have been fortunate to have amazing managers, mentors, and peers along the way who have influenced me in terms of their thought processes and tech skills.
Share your journey as a Woman in Tech.
As soon as I completed high school, I wanted to be in the field of technology. I knew that I was the kind of person who couldn’t do the same thing repeatedly. I wanted to be in a profession where things are fun, exciting, where there is always something new to explore.
Initially, my journey was a bit uncomfortable; I faced rejections during placements but eventually got an internship off-campus. Then, I started participating in hackathons and meetups. Once I became confident in my abilities while knowing what I had to bring to the table, things became very exciting.
I love what I do, especially when I see how something I created or how the information I provided makes a large or small impact. That’s the most rewarding part.
Most important learnings from this journey.
- Get the fundamentals right, and build a strong foundation.
- Take ownership and feedback.
- Don’t be afraid; make mistakes and learn from them.
- Become a life-long learner.
Things that helped you grow in tech
- Take notes, ask and debug: These three things can really improve the quality of work you do. Make it a habit, and this one habit will give you greater results in the future.
- Be vocal about your ideas and opinions: How you express your views directly reflects how people experience who you are and what you represent as a team member or individual. Also, your voice must be balanced and objective.
- Take regular feedback, try to know yourself better: Ask for regular feedback if you don’t get it. People working with you know you, and they can definitely help you do better work. Take constructive feedback and keep track of what needs to be improved.
- Work on challenging tasks: Get out of your comfort zone. If I work on similar things for a very long time, I get bored because there is nothing new to learn, my brain is not really doing anything, and I am not really growing. And sometimes, you are not given challenging work, but you have to ask for it. You have to show enthusiasm to do greater things.
- Stay Updated: It is impossible to stay updated with everything happening in tech because it is vast. But keep reading and experimenting with the technologies, topics that interest you.
Constraints as a women engineer.
Yes, there are constraints and that’s why we are always asked about them. But over time, I learned how to overcome these constraints. I’ll list a few which I faced early in my career:
Undermining work capability
In my first company, there was a time when I was the only female engineer on the team, and there was a project which we needed to complete within the deadline. Though I was fully capable of finishing it within the deadline, I was the only one questioned, “Would you be able to complete it in due time as for this you will have to stay late and work late hours?”. I did deliver the project on time. But why was there doubt?
Early in my career, I’ve noticed a couple of times where solutions offered by me would be ignored while the same solution proposed by male colleagues would be considered. Calling it out and having a conversation about it helped the person rectify their preconceived notions and be more mindful.
Like these, there have been several minor instances where I had to prove myself or I had to speak up for myself due to biases.
Don’t ever let constraints pull you down, just believe in yourself and keep working on your aspirations.
A bit on your inspiration/role models.
There are a lot of people who inspired me, including my mother and father. I have gotten inspiration and advice from different people in different phases of my life. I was inspired by leaders who really encouraged me and gave me a sense that I could tackle anything. I know it sounds like a cliché, but I credit my father for convincing me that I could do anything I wanted to. He wasn’t the only one who had that kind of confidence in me, but he was the first person who really helped me see the possibilities.
The Center point of my life has always been learning how to ‘be you.’ You need to invest your energy to discover who you are and then act on that to become your best self.
A book/movie that inspired you the most.
“I’ve found that there is always some beauty left — in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can all help you.”
Anne Frank, victim of the Holocaust
The Diary of a young girl: Anne Frank was the first book I read in 8th grade. I read it multiple times, and I was truly inspired by it. It’s about a Jewish Teenager during World War II. She wrote about the struggle for food, daily tensions, and the terror of being found. She was sent to concentration camps where she eventually died, but the diary survived. I feel very inspired by her strength in such hardships during her time in hiding.
I think my favorite part was when she had hopes and dreams. The time when she saw sunlight after so many days. She found hope in every single thing, even the horrible things that Nazis did, she saw the good in everything. Anne’s wish is fulfilled as she wanted to live — she lives on through her writing.
One message to all women in tech.
Believe in yourself and just go for it.
The Tech industry is hot and risk-friendly and offers an excellent career for smart women who like a challenge and lots of opportunities, so it’s better to take the chance or take the lead.
You should never be afraid and never think that the guys are better than you.
Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by a room full of men. You are also capable of the same and more. Get out of your comfort zone and really put yourself there, because it’s an industry that really responds to that. When you take risks and just go for it, you tend to be rewarded and see things happen.
If you are curious and want to do your life’s best work, we’re hiring!
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