The scant number of women in new tech, especially in the areas of data science, analytics, and artificial intelligence has been a worrying trend for organisations all over the world. The resultant sexism is increasingly becoming one of the side-effects, making the global protests for gender equality so much more necessary.
In fact, only about 12 to 15 percent of the engineers who are building the internet and its software are women. Therefore only seven percent of partners at top 100 venture capital firms across the world are women. These numbers are even more abysmal for the Indian new tech sector.
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Why is it so? And what can be done to change it?
Analytics India Magazine is featuring women leaders in these sector for all of March celebrating Women’s Day — for the entire month.
Pooja Sharma, Senior Data Analyst at ZAPR Media Labs
What does the career in analytics/data science looks like for a woman?
It is about discovering and communicating meaningful insights or patterns in data available. It is exciting and challenging. We work closely with senior management to interpret data and help them take informed business decisions.
Why did you choose this field as a career option?
I was working as a full stack web developer when analytics as a career seemed interesting to me. You get to think about complex business problems, interpret the data available and be involved in key business decisions. You use the huge unstructured data to tell a story. You get to see how the decisions that you make impacts the organisation. This gives me a high and that’s why I chose to be a part of this.
How is your growth story so far?
I have been working with ZAPR for past two and a half years and it has been one roller coaster journey, starting from scattered data sources with unstructured data to a single stop data platform for all our data extraction requirements. I was working on different tech for extracting, cleaning, manipulating data. I had to learn different things on the go which was the fun. My computer science background helped me a lot to understand and think about data problems more efficiently. Over the period of time, I have tried to automate almost all of the data extraction and cleaning tasks, which helps to have more time and energy to focus more on deriving meaningful insights from the data.
Do you struggle to maintain a work-life balance?
Honestly, initially I was struggling to maintain a work-life balance as I was entirely concentrating on my work. It happens with everybody when they start something new and are totally focused on it. But later I figured it out. Time management is the key. Once you figure out how much time you need to allocate to your work and for yourself then everything works out perfectly.
Your thoughts on incorporating more women in new tech sectors.
We definitely need more women in tech sectors, as it is amazing and inspiring seeing women doing great in technology where female representation has been low since decades. Women make half of the users of the technology and now that our day to day life is so much dependent on technology, we need gender diversity in workplaces to arrive at better solutions.
What are the key changes in education/career choices that could change the current scenario?
I think lack of encouragement, fear of harassment and lack of role models are the key factors for low participation of girls in higher and professional education. If we can provide good role models, a safe environment to work and teach them right professional skills, women tech careers can be changed for better.