“The exhilaration of solving a programming challenge mathematically is what keeps me coming back for more,” says Simran Dokania, a coder.
She is presently studying information technology at the International Institute of Information Technology in Bengaluru.
Why coding, I ask and this is what she says –
“I was in my third semester when Vivek Yadav, my senior, introduced our batch to competitive programming. The beauty of mathematics has always fascinated me and it has always been my favourite subject since childhood. And competitive programming is very closely related to mathematics in terms of the problem-solving process. The exhilaration of solving a programming challenge mathematically attracts me to it.”
She is thankful to Vivek because of whom she discovered her passion for competitive programming. Simran started coding in September 2014, and says that it was not so rigorous. It was only during this summer holidays that she got into the grove and became very serious about it.
Her first competition was Morgan Stanley Codeathon, which took place in December 2014. “I was really nervous since I had not practiced enough at that time. Apart from a surge of anxiety, it was an enthralling experience. I secured a position in the top 50,” she shares with a smile.
She was born and brought up in Mumbai. It is her home and she loves the city. “I have spent most of my life there and the lessons I learnt as a child in the heart of the most bustling metropolis of India have made me what I am,” says Simran.
Presently in Bengaluru, she tells us that her batch has only one class in which the ratio of girls to boys is 22:35. According to her, the stereotypical notion that computer science is only for men hinders women from taking up the subject.
Most women working in technology sector stop working after their pregnancy. On the subject of women choosing family over career and her own personal choice, Simran says, “I believe that it is their personal
choice. If they want to traditionally bring up their children, they could give up their careers else they could continue working. Sometimes women quit their jobs because the companies do not provide flexible working hours. I personally feel that companies should be considerate towards women-turned-mothers because they have to look after their family as well as their professional work.”Simran recently secured third rank at the HackerRank Women’s cup. She had teamed up with a friend to participate. Sharing her experience she says, “We were not expecting this at all. Our original goal was to secure a rank in the top 100 that would guarantee us one of those hoodies. We were surprised by our own performance as well!”
She plans to do an MBA. As regards technology, she wants to gain expertise in the field of machine learning. “The endless possibilities and the mind-blowing things that people are doing with the help of this tool is what fascinates me to explore more in this realm.”
Simran looks up to two women – Sheryl Sandberg and Anita Borg. Both of them, according to her, have contributed towards elevating the condition of women by encouraging them to lean in to positions of leaderships. “They believe that women could impact and benefit from technology. According to them, having more female voice in positions of power will create more equitable positions for everyone.”
Simran’s commitment towards her passion is commendable. While still in college she is a meticulous worker. “I have always been motivated by the desire to meet a deadline. I enjoy creating an organised schedule for completing a task and achieving my deadlines. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and it’s something that I can look back on and say ‘I achieved that’. It also ensures that the task progress smoothly towards completion. Also, the scope for improvement and the desire to be the best motivates me a lot.”
If more girls like Simran are making to the tech work force and continue to work in the sector, then the next decade could be a great one as regards the number of women in technology.