Posted by Manoranjan Padhy - Developer Relations Lead, India
Six years ago, Aditi Soni was new to computers and programming when she learned about Google Developer Groups (GDG) and Women Techmakers (WTM) from a senior at her university, the Shri Vaishnav Institute of Technology and Science, Indore. Then, everything changed when she joined a Google Developer Group in Indore, the largest city in Central India, which began as a 16th century trading hub.
“Initially, it was extremely overwhelming for me to be in that space, where so many accomplished professionals were present,” Aditi says of her first experiences attending GDG Indore. “I was very hesitant to go and have a conversation with them.”
But Aditi felt determined. Her friend Aditya Sharma taught her C and C++, and she practiced her programming skills on her smartphone, using tools like the C4droid Android app, because she didn’t have a laptop. By the time she got a laptop, she was off and running. Aditi began teaching herself Android development and landed an internship after her second year of college.
“I consider myself as an opportunity grabber,” Aditi writes in a post on her Medium blog. “ I never miss a single chance to become a better version of myself. I used to attend all community meetups and did not miss a single one.”
All her hard work paid off. In 2017, she became a Women Techmakers lead in Indore and took her first flight on an airplane to the WTM Leads Summit in Bangalore. The same year, she became a Microsoft Student Partner and attended Google Developer Days India. In 2018, Aditi earned the Google India Udacity Android Developers Nanodegree Scholarship, as one of the top 150 students from India, and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Engineering degree in computer science. In 2019, Women Techmakers awarded Aditi a travel grant to Madrid, Spain to attend the Firebase Summit.
Using the experience of being a woman in tech to encourage others to pursue STEM careers
Now, Aditi is a full-time software developer at Consultadd Incorporation, India, and a Women Techmakers Ambassador, and a GDG organizer for her local chapter in Pune. She contributes to the community as an organizer, speaker, and mentor.
“We organize monthly technical meetups to empower women and provide them with a platform to achieve their goals,” Aditi explains. “Being able to help others feels like I am giving it back to the community.”
Aditi says GDG and WTM have helped her develop technical skills and have also positively impacted her personal life.
“I had significant life experiences because of the Google Developer Group and Women Techmakers communities, including my first flight, my first hands-on experience with Google's trending technologies, and one-on-one interaction with Googlers and many great personalities while attending global summits,” she says. “All these things have helped me to be a person who can guide and help others and share my knowledge and experiences with hundreds of professionals today.”
Aditi describes herself as a community enthusiast, using her platform to encourage other women and students to pursue careers in technology, even if they’re brand-new to the field. She also enjoys mentoring new programmers.
“I am passionate about making an impact on others’ lives by sharing my journey and experiences and helping people face hurdles like mine with courage and confidence,” she says. “I enjoy helping people who are struggling to learn to code or who want to switch their careers to tech.”
Supporting budding developers
Aditi acknowledges the adage, “Change is not easy,’’ especially when preparing for a career in technology.
“You may try very hard, give up so many times, and go through all that frustration, but remember not to quit,” she advises. “The moment you feel like quitting is the moment you need to keep pushing and get your reward.”
She has specific suggestions for making it easier to build new tech skills, too.
“Before learning a specific technology, understand yourself,” she suggests. “What works for you? What's your learning process? Then look for the appropriate resources. It can be a simple one-page tutorial or a full-fledged course. Everything is easy when the basics are clear and the foundation is strong.”
Aditi plans to continue contributing to the tech community in India and around the world, by sharing her insight, connecting with new people, and developing new technical skills. She recently welcomed a new member into her family–a baby girl–and she is growing her own regional tech community and providing so much to others in her area and the STEM field.