08 Sep Women In Technology: How my job in tech is creative and like interior design
This article first appeared on Women’s Agenda on September 8, 2016
Krishna Devarapalli’s job is to bring ideas to life through technology. And she loves it. Technology provides the means for her to get creative in a fluid and agile way, and combine a fulfilling career with a young family and finding time for herself.
Working in a career that’s taken her all over the world, she’s the latest to answer our #womenintech Q&A.
Tell us about the kind of work you do and the career you’re pursuing?
I am software developer working at Australian managed services and digital company Hostworks. My role is to bring ideas to life through technology. My work is quite complex and varied, and while it sounds tech heavy, it’s actually a very creative role that sees me work closely with clients to create new and exciting platforms for them.
More simply, I get under the skin of a brief through requirement gathering and consultation with the client to understand their needs. From here I plan and develop their application and software according to their desires and current market trends / standards.
What qualifications (if any) do you have that support you in this role?
I have a Bachelor Degree in computer science, and further post-university training in stakeholder and business management. My majors were project management and agile software development. On paper, there’s no escaping I’m a techie.
Do you know any coding languages, is this relevant to your career?
Yes, several! I know PHP, MySQl, HTML, and Drupal. I also have experience in working with frameworks.
What’s your proudest achievement so far in terms of your work?
I’ve had a few but my proudest would be when I was thrown in the deep end as a junior developer and managed to complete a big project on my own from start to finish. In this project I learned a lot while on the go, I also kept all the stakeholders happy which was an awesome feeling!
What made me proud is that typically in this type of environment there is a lead that guides the team, however in this instance, as this was a start up brief, all the project requirements and development fell on me. There were many late nights involved and it was a struggle at times, but the end product turned out exactly as I had envisioned. This taught me to trust my intuition and to take on tasks that are daunting with courage. It was a big stepping-stone for me professionally.
How does technology enable you to do what you do?
Outside of work, arts and crafts are a huge passion of mine. Technology gives me the power to express myself and my creative side, in a very fluid, agile and undefined way. I see technology as a fantastic outlet to explore design and implement ideas.
Personally, it enables me to test new concepts and bring to life the ideas I create with my clients. It’s unlike any other medium I’ve worked with as it’s constantly changing and can be constantly changed. It really is a fantastic way to express and challenge yourself at the same time.
What do you want all girls and young women to know about careers in tech?
Two key things:
- They’re not boring!!
- And don’t close your mind off to technology! The opportunities and role variances technology presents are numerous. There are plenty of ways to make it work for you.
Some people think that technology is an industry that focuses purely on numbers and that there isn’t much creativity involved – the reality couldn’t be further from the truth! Recently I was fortunate to enough to work on a music portal for the famous Vanda and Young songwriting competition. As part of this brief, I was talking to musicians and well-known music icons about what they need in an online format to express themselves. To ensure everyone was happy I had to combine multiple visions with practicality, while keeping everything simple and attractive at the same time. Briefs like this make my job full of colour and design, and a little brush with fame is always a bonus!
I like to say that what I do is actually very similar to a career in interior design, but for the devices we use everyday. I need to stay up to date with trends and coordinate where things should go, both from a usability point of view and style perspective.
I thing young women also need to know is that a career in tech doesn’t mean you have to sit behind a computer all day. Through my work with Vanda and Young I’ve come across some fantastic musicians who use technology to mix and create their music. The possibilities really are endless!
What do you personally do to raise your profile and voice as a woman in tech – use social media, speak, network, participate in industry events etc?
I use social media to network with people and I participate in events. I think getting out there and telling your story is really important so that people understand what’s actually involved in software development.
How can we get more women speaking at technology-related events?
By creating more speaking platforms that showcase the many sides of technology. Technology is such a broad and constantly moving subject, but it often gets siloed as something boring. I’d like to see more examples of the incredible things people create with technology, especially women.
What does your ‘daily juggle’ look like?
My day starts bright and early by watching Sunrise at 6.30am – this is my me time and I absolutely love it! Once my family stirs (I have a young, very angelic daughter), I prepare breaky and lunch and pack school bags. I then drop her at school and head into the office.
Most of my time in office I work with clients and conduct project management and the development of campaigns. At the moment I’m also working on a big project that sees me liaise with a number of international parties. After work, I go to gym and then pick my daughter up from school before we head home together. Then it’s family mealtime, studies and bed.
What more would you like to see the tech industry doing to better support women in the field?
It’s simple, but I think women need more insight into the industry to understand how fascinating it can be. More stories from real people, particularly those coming up the ranks. Once the covers are lifted they’ll be surprised at how interesting, different and relatable a technology career can be if they want it to be.