Sayari Ghosh

Software Design Engineer in Test III, Concur
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"If someone tells you "engineering is not for girls", tell them that the first person to write a program was a woman."

INTERVIEW DATE November 9, 2016
HER JOB Software Design Engineer in Test, Concur Tech
Engineering Careers
Software |
If someone tells you "engineering is not for girls", tell them that the first person to write a program was a woman.
Sayari Ghosh, Concur

ADDEDWednesday, November 9, 2016

  • Q
    Describe what you do in your current work situation?
    A
    As a Software Design Engineer in Test (SDET), my first task is to make sure that the software works as expected. But doing this manually is a big hassle, so I write automation that can test the working software and find bugs. I also need to make sure that our system works fine under load, that is it can handle a lot of user requests and stays stable under stress.
  • Q
    Why did you choose engineering?
    A
    When I was around five years old, I mended my mom's broken clothespin and my dad suggested that I would be a good engineer. I think that stuck with me. I also enjoyed playing with mechano (like Lego, but for making mechanical devices like cranes and pulleys) and electric mechano (similar, but we could make electrical circuits with it). My dad used to encourage me a lot to play with these things. Growing up in India, I was a pretty good student, I chose science subjects in high school. After graduation, I had three options - medical school, physics or engineering. As I already had 3 generations of engineers in my family, and my sister being an architect, I very naturally went towards engineering.
  • Q
    Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
    A
    I have a Masters in Computer and Information Sciences from The University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA and prior to that, a Bachelors in Technology in Computer Science and Engineering from West Bengal University of Technology, India.
  • Q
    What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
    A
    1. Writing programs - for testing, fixing bugs 2. Configuring jobs to run on servers 3. Monitoring our service, finding issues like response time getting higher, database problems and reporting/fixing them. 4. Attending meetings with my team and manager 5. Attending fun events like Hackathons - where we code something from scratch and make a running software. 6. Just plain having fun, cracking jokes, eating a lot!
  • Q
    What do you like best about being an engineer?
    A
    That I get to create running software (that works on command) out of nowhere!
  • Q
    Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
    A
    Last year, I worked on creating performance tests for my project from scratch. There was not a single line of code written for that before I started and I was initially a little intimidated. But with encouragement from my team, I started to work on it and now it is a reliable service we depend on to verify how our feature is doing.
  • Q
    What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
    A
    My engineering background was not very strong as I struggled with programming language courses. In India, we relied more on old school theoretical classes more than practical hands-on coding. So my base was very shaky. However, I worked on programming really hard after coming to US and slowly got better. Now, I have a lot of confidence in programming and when faced with a new challenge at work, I tell myself that there was a time when I didn't know programming, now I know. In the same way I will be able to tackle this new challenge.
  • Q
    Please tell us a little about your family.
    A
    I grew up in a very close-knit family back in India. I am the fourth generation engineer in my family. My great-grandfather, grandfather, 3 uncles, 1 aunt and my sister are all engineers of different fields (civil, mechanical, metallurgical and architecture). My dad is a business degree holder and my mom has a PhD in International Relations and has been a University Professor all her life. My husband is also a software engineer. In my family, studies are given the utmost importance and we have always been told to study hard and work hard. Both my sister and I have been encouraged to find stable jobs and stay in those jobs. We are encouraged to be independent women who can stand up for their own.
  • Q
    What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
    A
    Short term goals - 1. Learn better coding by working closely with my senior team mates. 2. Focus on learning new technologies, new programming languages. 3. Understand the feature I am working on thoroughly, end to end. 4. Get promoted to the next level at work. Long term goals - 1. Become a technical lead who has in-depth knowledge about software development. 2. Have 2 kids and manage home and work in the best way possible. 3. Become a mentor for younger women.
  • Q
    What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
    A
    My dad. From the time I can remember, he has drilled in my mind these few things - 1. I am good at studies and my career should be in something academic or technical. 2. I have a lot of potential and I need to grow to my full potential. 3. Go abroad for higher studies. Higher studies wasn't just an option for either my sister, or me. It was just a natural part of life. 4. Learn to be independent and NEVER EVER think of being financially dependent on a husband.
  • Q
    What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
    A
    If you really have a passion for engineering, you'd be successful in your career no matter what. If someone tells you "engineering is not for girls", tell them that the first person to write a program was a woman. (Ada Byron, who was the daughter of the famous English poet Lord Byron.)
  • Q
    Any other stories or comments you would like to share with EngineerGirl visitors?
    A
    If someone tells you "engineering is not for girls", tell them that the first person to write a program was a woman.
  • Q
    Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
    A
    I really love reading literature, both in English and in my own language, Bengali. My all time favorite books are The Hound of the Baskervilles (a Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) and Rebecca (by Daphne du Maurier). Other than that, I love writing in my blog, cooking (recently started cooking French food following Julia Child's recipes), painting, swimming, gardening and hiking. We have 2 fat orange cats and a dog at home as well and I love to play with them.