Interview: The most challenging and the best part of being a woman in the tech industry with Anju Kapoor
Written by : Anju Kapoor
Team Spotlight & Power Hour Special Episode for International Woman’s Day 2022 features Anju Kapoor, our Engineering Senior Manager, who discusses her journey and how she start her career in a technology company.
Hear from her on what is coming next for WadzPay, and hear her opinion about blockchain-based payment platforms and the adoption from female engineer perspective
Head to our Youtube Channel to listen to her insights.
- What made you decide to pursue a career as an engineer?
My cousin, specifically her confidence after completing a Diploma course in Computers. She inspired me to go for Computer Engineering.
2. Please share your typical day as an engineer in a technology company.
My day starts at 9am sharp when I catch up with my correspondence. After that, I check the progress of the team and assign tasks accordingly. This is followed by a Leadership meeting where I discuss the challenges faced by the team and brainstorm alongside guidance from SDC head, Mr. Venkata. The day then proceeds from one meeting to another. By 6, sometimes before, we finish for the day.
3. Do you feel that women have the same opportunities as men in the world?
No. They do not, and they never have. Good opportunities only come to Women when there are no men available to take the task. That is unfortunately how our world seems to operate.
I have faced many issues since starting my career in 1996, firstly, it was always a struggle to land a job. The industry worldwide prefers to hire a male, as it is deemed the male is the one who carries the family. They forget that women, especially if you are single, need to learn to take care of elderly parents. It is not just men with these responsibilities.
4. Do you feel this has changed throughout your career?
I am still waiting for it to happen. Although it is getting better, there is still an enormous scope for improvement, especially in computers. In my department right now, there are three females, but we are avidly looking for more.
5. What advice would you give to women who would like to start a career in tech?
Be dedicated to your work, be fair to your teammates, and do not be afraid to take on this male-dominated world in your stride.
- What is the most challenging part of your role? And what is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?
The most challenging aspect would be the foreseeable lack of IT resources. Currently, they are becoming scarce as industries worldwide have accelerated their efforts to grab IT skilled professionals. To succeed, it is vital to be faster than competitors in building and strengthening inimitable human resources within a record time. WadzPay has achieved this.
2. What value do you bring to WadzPay? And what is your department’s objective?
I bring to WadzPay extensive experience that spans over 23-years within the IT industry. Additionally, I bring my specialization in Software Engineering, which I acquired both academically and through experience which is unique. Furthermore, I was not only part of software enhancement for clients including British Airways in 1998, but also for the very first E-Commerce Applications created for Japanese Housewives in the same year. On top of that, I have worked for the Government of India for 10 and a half years as a Software Development Subject-Matter-Expert, where I have aided the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Director General of Civil Aviation, Department of Industrial Policy, and Promotions and the Ministry of Electronics and Telcommunications. I have been heavily involved in the hiring process, maintaining guidance and training people all over India, in fact, I have lead teams of more than 200 people.
With WadzPay, our target is to provide a complete ecosystem for mobile applications as well as merchant applications. We are currently working towards revamping workspaces on the website.
3. What are your thoughts about motherhood, female engineers and breaking the bias?
I believe it is a privilege, however, this form of privilege was not for me. I started breaking the bias early in my life when I decided not to take the traditional path of marriage or embark on a religious journey. I built my own path instead; I kept enhancing my education and continued working around the world.
I passed many milestones on my path, I completed my computer engineering, I kept my educational qualification on hand, and when I got the urge to do it, I went to do my MSN in software engineering accredited by the University of Michigan. In addition to this, I did a strategic management course from Kolkata (Calcutta), and I continue to enhance my art skills alongside industry trends.
Females are born managers. Females handle multiple tasks in the household, they handle people of all ages, from kids to parents, seniors, everyone. Being a manager comes automatically to a woman, however, the rest of the world do not seem to understand it yet, and whoever does understand it, they are the ones utilizing a females skill set, and achieving the benefits.
Challenges I faced where I took responsibility, include my parents’ health. I was there with my mother during my sabbatical and took care of her whilst she struggled with cancer. She recently passed on 28th of January, and after seeing how I was taking care of every aspect of my parents’ lives without being married, it shows how unmarried females are no longer taboo in India. Now everybody has accepted me as I am and are there to support me. Now I do not see those challenges, instead, I see appreciation about my decision.
People will come to me and tell me that I made a good decision, and I tell them that it is not a decision I would recommend. Instead, it should be your own decision. Whether you want to proceed in life married, unmarried, with kids, without kids, that choice belongs to you and all paths have their benefits. Nobody should inspire a decision; it should come solely from your heart.
4. What is your opinion about blockchain-based payment platforms and the adoption from female engineer perspective?
Personally, it reminds me of a Party Line, a piece of technology which was available during the earlier evolution of the telephone industry, and allowed all parties involved to share the same information.
To break it down, back in the day, there used to be a form of ‘call’ — this was known as a Party Line. Everybody who was on that line was able to answer the phone when it rang (similar to a modern group call in these days) and share and discuss information. Similarly, blockchain-technology works the same way. When a transaction takes place, it is recorded by everyone. Everybody is on the same page with no discrepancies and no fraud scenarios, this is due to the fact it is completely traceable back to the source, and is append-only, meaning information cannot be altered.
Adoption wise, I found that most females are a bit skeptical and take longer than males to adapt. However, females from younger generations, seem to easily adapt to latest technologies and extremely flexible.
It took quite some time to adjust to mutual funds and the investment market, yet I see that other young females who have only three to four years of working experience, have started their investment strategies earlier than I did. For me, it was traditional saving, but now I have evolved and am doubling everywhere.
5. How can we help gender disparity and break the image that this is a male domination industry in the tech industry?
For similar educational background and experience, men and women should be provided identical designations and salary packages worldwide. There should not be any difference between them.
Both females and males require some sort of special privileges, and this should not be treated in a discriminatory manner. For example, a woman with a newborn baby will need maternity leave, she should not lose the opportunity to receive a higher designation than a man with an identical skill set, based on the fact she birthed a child and will need time off. For a man, he should also have parental leave following the birth of his child. The workplace should be fair and flexible on both sides.
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WadzPay is an interoperable blockchain-based payments ecosystem. The company was founded in 2018 in Singapore and currently operates in South East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
WadzPay saw the potential for CBDC and Digital Assets to lead the next revolution in the payments industry: enabling faster payments, improvements in security, and cost-efficiency with optionality.
WadzPay is working with large international payment companies, banks, and global companies to enable digital asset-based transaction processing and settlement.