In this post I talk to Shruti Thukral. I met Shruti at Cloudfest 2023 because she contacted me in response to my public request for female interview partners.
A woman making her mark in the male-dominated IT industry and advocating for equality – that’s Shruti. She is a remarkable Cloud DevOps Engineer at the ING Bank in the Netherlands.
Originally from India, Shruti started her career in IT about eight years ago and has since gained a wide range of experience. In this interview, she tells us about her daily tasks as a Cloud DevOps Engineer, her journey in the technology industry and her experience as a woman in a male-dominated work environment.
She also shares her insights on the challenges women face in the IT industry and her hopes for the future of gender diversity in the field. Shruti encourages women and girls to develop their skills and pursue their dreams.
Shruti, how would you describe yourself?
I am from India. I am family oriented and love work life balance. I love interacting with people, sharing my experiences and getting to know theirs. I love mountains and thus trekking.
What do you do for a living?
I have been working in the IT industry for about 8 years now and currently I am a Cloud DevOps Engineer at ING Bank, Netherlands.
And what does a typical working day as a Cloud DevOps Engineer look like for you?
I start each day going over my schedule to make sure if I have any meetings or calls and I get any prep work for those done first thing. Then I usually read and answer any outstanding emails.
Then I jump on action items in my list (mostly technical like coding).
In the afternoon, I find I have more social energy so I will network with people around me about work or something else if I am working from the office.
„[…] I am the only woman in the room.“Shruti Thukral
How did you decide to take a job in the tech industry? Was it something you always wanted to do?
After high school, it was clear to me that I wanted to work in the tech industry. But I did my engineering in Electronics and Communications, and I was really into this field. But while doing coding for my digital circuits, I got inclined to coding more than ever. So, I decided to pursue my career in software technology.
What do you like most about your job in the tech industry?
I am always challenged, there is always something new to learn and explore the market.
In addition, „work-life balance“ is not a problem and there are many opportunities to grow.
And what is it like to be a woman in tech for you?
I would say I have been very lucky as I have worked with some amazing people who did not look at me with any kind of gender bias but evaluated me on my intellectual capabilities. But having said that, I feel like we need more women in tech, sometimes I have noticed that I am the only woman in the room.
Meaning, you think the tech industry is dominated by men?
If we look at the data, then we still have more men as compared to women in the IT industry. But in the last 5 years, I have seen an immense growth in women getting interested in tech jobs, specially IT.
Do you nonetheless think that women have the same opportunities in the tech industry as men?
In my experience, women today are definitely starting to get more opportunities, which is a result of a change in mindsets. But in some cases it is not the case. So, I cannot conclude that women have equal opportunities, but we are starting to get there.
Despite everything, do you feel you can be yourself?
Yes, it was actually a mind shift on my side as well. If I have any idea or a suggestion, I feel like I can speak and will be listened to as well.
What are the challenges of being a woman in the tech industry?
One of the biggest stereotypes that some people have is that women in tech are non-competent. When it happens, it hampers employee culture in any organization.
How do you deal with such situations?
The best way is to increase awareness of these stereotypes, start discussions addressing this issue. And most importantly, always focus on your skills and assignments.
Has the tech industry changed for women since you started?
It has changed certainly, there are more women in leadership positions from when I started and definitely there is a mindset change to be more gender diverse.
How can men, and those in privileged positions, become better allies to their marginalized co-workers?
It is very easy, people nowadays communicate well. Give feedbacks, educate and when you see something, just say it. Be more open about giving and receiving ideas.
„[…] there is not a single situation that can stop you.“Shruti Thukral
What do you think is the best thing about being a woman in tech?
To come up with cutting-edge ideas and make an impact. Also, super important part of it is we can support more women who want to make a career in tech.
Where would you like to develop professionally and personally in the near future?
Professionally, I would like to take a leadership role and manage one or more projects, as well as expand my professional network.
I also want to continue working on myself and learn new technical and leadership skills that will help me and other engineers.
Privately, I am working on my emotional intelligence and would like to use my time to travel and read more.
Who or what has inspired you the most?
I have worked with many amazing people who have inspired my in numerous ways. But my mother inspired me the most in life. How she went through hardships and just her analytical and emotional thinking just made a big impact on me.
What advice do you still follow today?
„Don’t make assumptions“ and „Teach your inner critic to be more positive about yourself“.
What message would you like to give to women or girls who are interested in technology?
Work on your skills and get up to date, there is not a single situation that can stop you.
I hope you enjoyed this interview! Do you have any questions or comments? Then feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to your feedback! And if you are also a woman in tech and interested in participating in our interview series, feel free to contact me on LinkedIn for a first preliminary conversation.
Did you like this article? Then I would be happy if you support me by sharing this article. You can learn more about the topic of women in tech in my article „Why is the topic „Women in Tech“ important?„.