Men still dominate technical industries in Germany. More than 80 percent of employees in IT and energy are male. The proportion of young women opting for relevant courses of study and pursuing a career as an engineer or developer remains low. Nevertheless, there is a clear trend: the energy industry is becoming more female and also younger. In this interview, software developer Swathi Gangadhar talks about her personal enthusiasm for programming and the exciting day-to-day work at NOVUM.
Swathi, you are the first female software developer on our team. But does the topic of gender make itself felt at all for you?
Hardly at all, in fact. To this I must say that in modern India it is completely normal for young women to become developers or engineers. The engineering degree in particular is associated with a great deal of prestige there.
Parents want their children – whether girls or boys – to follow such a path, simply because it means perspective. Mothers and fathers, but also society as a whole, have a lot of influence on personal career choices in India.
At NOVUM, I get just as much respect and creative freedom as everyone else. The only thing I miss a bit are the meetings with colleagues after work. We are only a few women and all unfortunately very involved.
How did you end up becoming a software developer?
I already had the opportunity to gain first experiences with programming languages during my school days. By the way, in my home state of Karnataka in India alone, there are over 200 universities where you can earn an IT degree. The subject simply fascinated me. In addition, after completing my bachelor’s degree at Visvesvaraya Technological University, I was able to start my professional life directly at NOVUM and did not need a master’s degree or other additional qualifications.
What do you like most about your job?
The best part of my job is working with my personal mentor and NOVUM Co-Founder Jens Haupt. Jens gives me a lot of freedom to try things out and also allows me to make mistakes and learn from them.
I also love the atmosphere in the team. When I started, everyone switched directly from German to English. We help each other and cook together more often instead of just going out to eat.
In terms of content, I find it exciting that so much is happening in our industry. You have to develop yourself permanently. I see this as a positive challenge.
What would you like to achieve professionally in the future?
I would like to carry out projects independently. I can also well imagine managing my own team later on.
Do you have any tips on how we can encourage more young women in Germany to become developers or engineers?
I believe that it is important that young people come into contact with the relevant topics at an early stage and have the chance to develop a fascination for them. From an Indian perspective, I would also say that parents should naturally encourage girls more to choose a career in IT or energy.