Welcome to our interview series, where we introduce you to developers of all levels from all walks of life. Prepare to be inspired!
Today we meet Aditi Gupta, a wife and mom who’s keeping her love for coding alive, despite not having work permit in the US. She shares with us how she keeps her skills sharp and how she is introducing her kids to coding.
Can you tell us about how you got into code, and why you chose this career path?
I was in my final year of masters in mathematics when my father started looking for life partner for me. At only 22, I was not at all ready for marriage, so I prepared for MCA (Master in Computer Application) entrance exam along with final year exam preparation.
I got through entrance exam and enrolled in one of the best colleges for MCA. When I went to college, my journey with code started. So I chose this career path to avoid marriage and now it has become a big part of my life.
I know that India is still quite traditional. Was your family supportive of your choice to keep working even after you married your husband?
Yes, they were.
What jobs did you have back in India? What was the day-to-day like and what did you learn?
When I finished MCA, I had offers from Oracle and HP. I joined Oracle since its office was in the place where my husband was based out of that time (we were newly married).
I joined Oracle as an associate consultant in July 2010. After few months of training, all the new employees (including me) entered a web development project using ADF. We all travelled for a year.
We were only able to go home after every 3 weeks for 2 days. It was difficult for someone who had just gotten married. And in India, one doesn’t marry only the person, but the whole family – so imagine people asking all the time when this will end! But I enjoyed this project! I learned new things and got to travel 🙂
We finished the project in January 2012 and then I found out that I was pregnant with my first child. I had to quit my job.
After my first child, I joined Oracle again in February 2014. This time I joined a different team as a provisioning manager whose job was to check data migration between servers. Just a month later, I found out I was pregnant again and I was already 5 months along! It was hard asking for maternity leave as a new hire, but I had to. My manager was really understanding (it is hard to find such understanding managers in India) and gave me 3 months of maternity leave.
Life after maternity leave was hard. I had a small baby and a 2 year old, as my husband moved to the US for his MS.
My job was a shift job, so my shift was from 2pm to 10pm. I had to pump milk for my second one in the office and during the night too. Also, I had to get up early in the morning for my first kid to get her ready and make her breakfast and snacks for school.
My parents were with me, but they were not that well at the time. Thankfully, they were still able to help me in by feeding my kids.
So during this whole tenure, I learned life management, and technically I learned ADF (framework for core java) and provisioning of servers data migration.
I love that you are keeping your skills sharp, even if you are not allowed to work in the US. How are you keeping up with your skills and new technologies?
I came to the US in 2015. Since both kids were babies, I did not brush up my skills for 2 years.
During the past 2 years, I have started brushing up my skills by going through a few tutorials. I taught my eldest how to design a game using block programming when she was 5. I have even taken the responsibility of maintaining my kids elementary school’s PTA website to catch up more with my skills.
As far as new technologies go, I completed React’s tutorial on Udemy, and I am also thinking of doing a short course on Data Science.
What side projects have you done? Tell us about them.
One of my project was about adding points between the starting point and the destination. If a person wants to travel from point A to point B, Google Maps shows the route between A and B with a blue line.
If a person wants to mark some places on this route, then they have to click a button stating “add places.” When they click it the map becomes editable. Now the person can click some places on the map can save those places for this route.
For example, say a person wants to go from A to B so he can mark many places like C/D etc in between and save them. The person’s Google account will save the route, so whenever that person opens it, all the marked places would pop up on that route.
For this project I learned Google API and Ruby all by myself with so many free online tutorials. I didn’t complete the project. The saving part of all the marked up places on the route remains to be finished. I was unable to complete it due to joining Oracle and having some other events come up.
You have not been allowed to work since 2015. Have you felt like giving up? How do you stay motivated?
Moving to the US was a mental shock. I stopped going to the office and was taking care of 2 babies and home for the whole day. Also, the culture was totally different. I started yoga and morning walks to catch up with my sanity 🙂
I started thinking whatever happens happens for good all the time. Even when the times were really tough, I just went to the park sat on the bench and talked to myself. I reminded myself of the positive things in my life. I watched so many motivational movies they helped me, too.
How are you teaching your children to code? Any resources you can recommend to other moms?
Code.org and Khan Academy are good for younger kids, like 5-7 year olds. My kids are 5 and 6.5 years old so I encourage them in logical thinking through activities like Duplo or LEGO.
When you get your work authorization in the US, what position would you like to get?
Either as a front-end developer or data scientist (have to discover it yet).
What is your favorite part of coding?
When I have coded all the small part of a big code and then try to get them work together, that is very exciting 😀
What do you think is the biggest challenge for women in code?
The first is not having enough motivation to get into tech field. The second is trying to balance a tech career, kids, home, and family.
What advice would you give to a woman at the beginning of her coding journey?
No matter how hard it seems to learn code in the beginning, don’t give up. Always have a mentor who you can reach out to for help learning. Try to learn coding by making small code by yourself without searching on the Internet first. That helps a lot.
Quick fire round
When I can’t solve a bug, I… just leave it for few hours clear my head and then try again.
Dream company to work for… Google.
If I had unlimited resources, I would develop… an app for farmers in India to connect them with people directly.
In 5 years time, I want to… start my career and take a promotion too 😉
Your favorite quote… Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.