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‘Indian professionals prefer work-life balance over a fat pay cheque’

Simran Kaur, an alumna of Apeejay Kharghar and Software Developer at Dell Technologies, says teachers and parents must promote a growth mindset that empowers girls to embrace challenges



As a Software Developer, Simran performs coding, testing and troubleshooting throughout the application development process. Based in Ottawa, Canada, she is currently working on developing software to help operators to successfully deliver 5G network services. Simran completed her BTech in Information Technology from SRM University before pursuing Master’s in Computer Science from the University of Ottawa, Canada. In an interview, she explains the increasing influence of women in the STEMM field, the importance of work-life balance, the future of IT, and more. Edited excerpts:

A 2020 global software developer survey demonstrated that female software developers are greatly underrepresented, accounting for just 8 per cent of positions in this field. Your views.

I agree that there’s a gender gap in the tech industry, but things are changing for the better. The number of women employed in the IT industry in India has seen a rapid increase over the years. There’s a growing realisation among women that no dream is too big and no challenge is too great. Even parents nowadays support and invest in girls’ education with full might. For instance, my mother is a homemaker, but she was extremely particular about my studies and gave me all possible support to chase my dreams. Talking about my workplace, 25 out of 40 members in my team are females. I have four female school friends and all of them are Computer Engineers and are doing great in their lives. As I said, there are still many challenges women face that can make it intimidating when forging a career in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine). I think we need teachers and parents to promote a growth mindset that empowers girls to embrace challenges. Giving adequate freedom to girls is also critical. Girls still have to take permission for everything.

What are the key takeaways from your school life?

Apeejay School, Kharghar played a crucial role in equipping me with essential life skills that helped me face the real world. The teachers are excellent and support you in every endeavour. The best thing about Apeejay is that it protects the innocence of children, which it’s not easy when you have so many distractions around you. I would like to specifically thank Bina Shukla Ma’am, who was our class teacher. She mentored us at every step. I am still in touch with her and other teachers. When I turned 23, I cut my Birthday cake along with my friends in front of Apeejay (laughs). The school means so much to us.  I would also like to add that my younger sister, Harshveen Kaur, completed her schooling from Apeejay in 2018 and my brother, Jaskaran Singh, is in class 9 of Apeejay.

Is there any difference in work culture between India and abroad? 

I have worked both in India and abroad and I can state that working abroad offers a better work-life balance to expats. Unlike in India, you have to work a fixed number of hours and working beyond clocking hours is not appreciated. A healthy work-life balance allows you to socialise, relax, increase productivity and most importantly, upskill yourself. In the IT field new technologies are emerging every day, so if I am working round the clock how will I get the time to upskill and learn new things? Young professionals are not running abroad to chase  fat pay cheques. Recent researches have pointed out that work-life balance trumps attractive salary and benefits, as the most important driver for the Indian job seekers while choosing an employer.

How do you see the future of IT?  

The world is completely dependent on technology right now and the pandemic has only accelerated the ongoing trend towards digitalisation. IT will further accelerate the adoption of new technologies such as Metaverse (a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection). According to reports, India can create USD 1 trillion of economic value using digital technology by 2025.  Even the government is giving special emphasis to this sector. Digitalisation has been one of the most important trends in India over the past few years. For instance, ‘Digital India’ programme aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. A lot of work is done on the ground to build digital infrastructure. 

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]