Women in the technology industry is constantly increasing, says Rajita Bhatnagar

Women in the technology industry is constantly increasing, says Rajita Bhatnagar
Women in the technology industry is constantly increasing, says Rajita Bhatnagar

If you have a fascination with technology, go and explore more, says Rajita Bhatnagar.

This is an exclusive interview conducted by Santosh Vaswani, Editor at CIO News with Rajita Bhatnagar, Delivery Head: HSBC Technology India COO IT, about her “Journey as a Women in the Technology Industry.” She has previously worked with firms including Amazon, Microsoft, JPMC, Citigroup, and Oracle.

Can you share a little bit about what it is that you do and what a typical day for you is like?

I would define myself as a simpleton. An average mortal who can easily blend with the crowd and often wouldn’t stand out. I play many roles: a working professional, a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, and a colleague—so all this describes me. However, I do not allocate the same amount of time to each of these roles. Each role highlights a unique aspect of my personality, and honestly, I am still discovering myself as I grow. My typical day would usually be a mix of ‘must do’ and ‘good to do’, without overwhelming myself or my relationships. People who know me say that I am straightforward to the core. I do what I preach. I enjoy creative freedom. I believe if one is able-bodied, then be on your own two feet; try attaining financial, emotional, and mental independence early in life. Earn enough to stay by yourself with minimal dependence. While you can look at peers around you, always listen to your core calling because you cannot ignore it. My days start and end with one purpose: to be able to make a positive impact on the lives of people around me. Keep getting better at getting better!

Did you always know that working in technology was what you wanted to do? 

My career evolved in the late 1990s, around the phase of the technology boom. From the time when MS Windows was launched to the time now when most are using cloud-based solutions, technology is no longer an isolated sector. Yes, I was deeply interested in the genesis of technology and how it has changed our ways of working. Indeed, I always wanted to be associated with the technology domain. It is so deeply intriguing.

Have you ever been in a situation when gender has affected the way you have been perceived or treated in the technology industry? How did you handle the situation?

Like most professionals, I handled work challenges by putting in extra effort at work, thereby standing out better collectively than as a solo hero. While we know that workspace is competitive, I have often seen that teams come together more to solve complex problems. I do not remember getting bothered by gender-specific biases. However, we as women can do a lot better by elevating more of us at work. We can clearly do a lot better.

What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?

The industry is open to everybody—whoever can learn, sustain, and advance. I do have a slight scientific temperament and often ask lots of ‘why’s’; hence, the tech industry seems logical and fact-based, quite straight to understand. As a woman, I too am a citizen of this ever-evolving space and love seeing so many practical use cases around us.

Do you notice a lack of women in technology? If so, why do you think that’s the case?

Well, to be honest, the number of women in the technology industry is constantly growing year on year. We now witness almost 40–45% of women coming out of technology institutes. This is also due to the fact that this generation of women has already witnessed their moms stepping out for study and work. It is just getting easier for them to explore. However, during the prior decade, I distinctly remember lesser-known female engineers and technologists. Whereas women were higher in count in the areas of human resources, operations, training, learning, and logistics. Also, I think ‘in general’—there were fewer women professionals in the early decades than now. Hence, the numbers for tech domains were appearing skewed.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry? What do you wish you had known before starting your career in the technology industry?

Every individual eventually lands at the spot where they are at their best. If you have a fascination with technology, I would say to go and explore more. In my time, technology colleges were far and few; there were limited choices and resources. However, when I started learning computers, it was a new topic for my parents. Hence, how would they be able to support me when knowledge about it was generally limited? So, you see, children are usually going to some tried-and-tested professions where most parents can guide them. Now this is changing too—children are open to newer opportunities. Multiple avenues for career mentoring and shaping have evolved.

On awareness, I was aware of the career decisions I took, so I have no regrets at the back.

My two cents would be to be fearless and go for it. First, equip yourself by gaining knowledge. There’s no substitute for knowing your content well. Technology is an evolving domain, so being eager and curious to learn is the ongoing mantra. Be kind to yourself, listen to yourself, and make mindful decisions.

Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinions expressed are of Rajita Bhatnagar and not a representation of any of the companies she has worked with.

Also readThe Road Ahead: Predictions for the Future Evolution of Artificial Intelligence

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CIO News, a proprietary of Mercadeo, produces award-winning content and resources for IT leaders across any industry through print articles and recorded video interviews on topics in the technology sector such as Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Cloud, Robotics, Cyber-security, Data, Analytics, SOC, SASE, among other technology topics.