In this exclusive interview, Mandhan shares some of her perspectives as a woman in a male-dominated field.
TechNewsWorld: Describe the course of your career. How did you get interested in software engineering?
Ishita Mandhan: I grew up in a family of doctors, so it was natural to take math and science in high school. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to go into, so I did pre-med and juggled both that and tech.
I interned at a few companies, and I thought, I’m enjoying working in tech so far, and if I don’t like it I can always go the MCAT route. That’s how it all started.
A lot of people feel like you have to have it all sorted early on, but it’s OK to give it time and let yourself figure out what you want to do. I ended up staying in tech, and I get to give back in my role in different nonprofits.
TNW: What do you like about software engineering in particular?
Mandhan: I like problem-solving — taking a use case that’s in the world, breaking it down, and figuring out how to solve it. Going through that process — talking about it, brainstorming, and coming up with a solution — really excites me.
TNW: What challenges have you faced as a woman in technology, and how have you overcome them?
Mandhan: That’s a hard one. I think we’ve all faced our own challenges. It’s not rare to be the only woman in a room full of male engineers. There are moments when you wonder if you’re saying the right thing or if your opinion is valued.
The key is finding the right coworkers — where your opinion is valued, and you’re treated for who you are, not because you’re male or female. You’re a good engineer, and that’s what matters at the end of the day.