For the last 25 years, Priyanka has committed her professional life to software architecture, analysis and design. Additionally, she is responsible for developing and implementing applications as well as providing support. Currently working in Chief Development Architect position at Intelligent Enterprise & SAP Cross Product Architecture where she's able to utilize her extensive experience in this field.
Especially for the WomenTech Network, Priyanka agreed to give an interview and share her story.
Congratulations on winning the WomenTech Network Community Award and also the Silver Award for our Special Recognition – Women in ICT Award! How did it feel to be recognized for your hard work?
To be very honest, I almost didn’t apply for this award. I captured some of my thoughts, the contemplation that went in before applying for this award as part of this blog : https://blogs.sap.com/2022/12/14/to-apply-or-not-to-apply/
I feel honoured to have won the 🥇” Community Award” and 🥈” Special Recognition – Women in ICT” Women Tech Global Award 2022. It of course feels great to win a global award, there is a definite appreciation and recognition aspect to it. But even more important than that is the influencing aspect for a big Women in Tech community. I am very passionate about “Women in Tech” initiatives. Even if it inspires 1% of the people reached out and women to consider the architect career path, I would consider it already a big win.
Also, please share with us about your background, journey into technology and what inspired you along the way.
I come from a middle-class family in India. In those days, the females usually after 18 were married off. I am talking about close to 3 decades back, things have changed quite a lot now. I was the first female in our family to go for engineering, go to another state, stayed in a hostel, and graduated with 7 gold medals from different institutions. Luckily, I had great support from my parents who always encouraged me to go for my dreams.
Also, the career path which I have chosen, ratio wise there are few women in architecture career path. I am the first female chief architect in SAP Labs India. I was also part of CTO Circle for the previous organization I was part of. I have often been the lone woman in the room or on stage presenting some sessions. In fact, the CTO Circle in many companies is also primarily a men's club but based on my experience once one proves expertise, one’s gender doesn’t matter. There is nothing masculine or feminine about creating a software. In my case, SAP has always supported me, and I have had great managers and peers who always encouraged me to pursue my ambitions. The diversity and inclusion program at SAP is the best with many initiatives like no gender or any other unconscious bias right from hiring, to supporting the employees with various fireside chats, candid career conversations with women leaders as part of Business Women Network, encouraging the early talent to propose innovation ideas and become entrepreneurs and so on. There is very high focus on diversity and inclusion in SAP.
The inclusive culture at my organization and the power of positive thinking has shaped my career. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said - “As you think, so shall you be”
Lastly, do you have any advice for other women in tech who may like to pursue a career in this field that could help them on their own journey?
I would love to share my thoughts here. The first advice which I would like to share with the young women is to think about the career choice you would like to make. If it is not clear as you are beginning your career, try to find internship where you get a chance to experience different career paths. This way one gets to experience the different roles and career paths and can make an informed choice based on personal experience. One's career path is the most important choice one needs to make.
Secondly, be assertive : It is especially relevant for women. It also comes from social conditioning. But it's important to Make yourself heard even if it’s against the popular voice.
Thirdly, stay curious and stay hungry for knowledge. Keep upskilling yourself.
Last but not the least, appreciate yourself: It’s very much relevant for women as we tend to be perfectionist by nature. Our thought process starts with ‘I probably could have done it better’. While there are always areas of improvement. But we need to look back on where we started from, the challenges we have overcome, the achievements despite these challenges and acknowledge these.