I started in technology while doing my first project, says Uma Iyer, Consultant and CIO Advisory Services at Cerebrum Digital

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I started in technology while doing my first project, says Uma Iyer, Consultant and CIO Advisory Services at Cerebrum Digital
I started in technology while doing my first project, says Uma Iyer, Consultant and CIO Advisory Services at Cerebrum Digital

The build-up of women in technology is directly proportional to the number of women entering the portals of an engineering college or following technical courses

This is an exclusive interview conducted by Santosh Vaswani, Content Writer & Editor at CIO News with Uma Iyer, Consultant and CIO Advisory Services at Cerebrum Digital on her journey as a woman in the technology industry

When asked her to share a little bit about what she does and what a typical day for her is like, Uma Iyer, Consultant and CIO Advisory Services at Cerebrum Digital, in an exclusive interview with CIO News, said, a typical day in the new post-COVID world is to wake up in the morning and go through my emails, review my calendar for scheduled meetings. Look for urgent messages on WhatsApp.

When asked if she always knew that working in technology was what she wanted to do, she said, I started in technology while doing my first project in my first semester at Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune. My summer project was with ICIM in marketing. And my campus placement, back in 1984 was with PSI Data Systems, which was “a start-up in the IT industry“. At that time, “the IT Industry was a sunrise industry”. There were no women in Marketing.

Speaking about situations where her gender has affected the way she was perceived or treated, and how she handled the situation, she said, when I started in the IT industry, there was only one other woman in IT Sales and Marketing, Lillette Saldanah from ICIM.

To be viewed seriously by customers, one had to walk the extra mile and learn all about the technologies and products that we sell. I particularly remember meetings in the Industry forums when one was a bit conscious of being the only woman.

The important thing was to earn respect from the industry. This had to therefore be done by “going the extra mile” to improve my understanding of customer domain and technology relevance.

Expressing her views on the best part of being a woman in the technology industry, she said, this is a knowledge industry and hence is gender-neutral, as long as one can bring in the requisite talent and technical know-how. Additionally, work-from-home has been a norm in the tech industry for the last 20 years at least. This allowed many young women to manage work and home and pursue their careers with ease. The industry has been highly welcoming to women.

When asked if she has noticed a lack of women in technology and if so, why does she think that’s the case, she said, the build-up of women in technology is directly proportional to the number of women entering the portals of an engineering college or following technical courses. I am glad to say, the number has risen greatly over the years. However, the number of women in senior executive positions remains a small number. This could be because leadership roles in technology firms mean a sacrifice in the ‘work-life balance.

When asked about her advice to women considering a career in the technology industry and what she wishes she had known, she said, “Acquire the technical skills. Keep abreast of new technology, attend webinars and always sharpen your skills. Network with colleagues and also women need to step up and ask for roles”.

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