As per the HerJourney series for the month of May Girls In Tech Nepal sat down for a virtual chat with Sweta Chandak – a software consultant in London UK with a passion for developing simple solutions for complex problems in the IT industry. 

Talking with us, she gave valuable insight on life experiences, struggles, and success. Through Her journey of defying all the fears and challenges, she wants to encourage and inspire many of us.

Education and Career 

Born in Kolkata, India, Sweta did her high schooling at South Point High School, Kolkata. Then pursued her computer science degree from B.P. Poddar Institute, kolkata. Finally, she went to Vellore to complete her master’s in computer Applications. After that, she started working in the field of software development and has about 15+ years of software consultancy experience with over 12 years in the UK. She has expertise in building microservices using languages and frameworks like Java, Scala, Akka, Spring, Play framework. Over these many years, she has associated herself with many companies like Tata consultancy, Sky, Monitise, Home Office, HMRC, Aimia, etc.

She believes that Perseverance, Outspoken nature, Competitiveness, and constant communication have helped her to achieve whatever she has achieved till now.

The story behind her success / How she tackled challenges on her way?

Talking with us Sweta unfolded the ins and outs of success. She took us deep into what success actually means to her? What does it take to be successful? She talked about the amount of hard work that goes in, the level of consistency that you need to put, the rejections that are involved, those sacrifices that were made, the right action that was taken, the never ending failure on the way, those tears, and whatnot. Sweta was brave enough to share her impeccable journey with us. The journey was the blend of every emotion that you probably could think of.

Not Being so good enough

The feeling of not being good enough was with Sweta from the very beginning of her childhood. She grew up around exceptionally talented siblings. That’s why there was constant pressure in her atmosphere. Being less than perfect wasn’t an option. Sometimes she used to feel lost. Nevertheless, she never gave up. She worked hard for her dreams. No matter how difficult the circumstances were she never let her morale down and kept moving. 

Sweta's childhood memories

She is also extremely grateful to her family, especially her father for supporting her through the journey and giving her the wings to fly.

“It’s my father who gave me wings to fly, my husband who gave me the sky and my family who gave me the strength to fly freely in the sky and achieve whatever I have achieved.”

Dealing with Rejections

Sweta believes that rejection is a part of life. She chose to be in a profession where rejection is inevitable. During her initial days, she did face a lot of rejection that put her into a state of self-doubt. But She believes that those rejections were also something that challenged her. She clearly knew that she had 2 choices, either to feel completely miserable and let everything go or be strong enough to face them, and  she chose to be strong. She learned to deal with rejection and came out more confident than she ever was.

Gender inequalities taking a toll

It’s a long-held belief that the tech industry is only for male counterparts. And seriously this is a big fat sociological problem, still prevailing today. Society has tagged females as dedicated human beings who aren’t capable of doing tasks that males can do. Sweta herself has been an open witness for many discrimination that female has to face in the tech industry. There is the problem of equal pay. Doing the same job a woman is paid half less than her male counterpart. This might not be the case in every tech company but with most of them, this is the actual reality. Besides that sexism in the workplace, lack of diversity within the company, lack of representation, not being taken seriously at work are other common problems that the majority of females face in this field.

However, women around the world have been able to bring a new perspective to the tech industry, and their skills and experience are just as valuable when they feel comfortable enough to impose them. As the saying goes “Change starts from you”, Sweta urges everyone that as a woman we always need to be strong and stop feeling like we are less accepted in this field because there is nothing we as a woman can’t do.

Life after marriage

Life wasn’t the same for Sweta after marriage. But she was lucky enough to have a loving husband who always got her back and in-laws who were very very supportive. The only challenge that she faced was keeping up with the expectations of society. When you live in a society you are bound to live around certain rules and regulations as a married woman. But one thing she believed and always believes is that setting the right expectation to anyone around you will always help you remain intact. 

Motherhood: Is it the end?

Motherhood is amazing. And then it is really hard. And then it is incredible. And then it is everything in between. Sweta says that being a mother is one of the most beautiful feelings that she has had till now. She used to think that after being a mother she has to sacrifice a lot in her life including her work life. But unexpectedly Motherhood brought a magical change in her life. Her perspective towards life changed. It fueled her in ways that she can’t explain, she kept on going no matter how exhausted she felt.

A happy family

Anyways, she has seen and heard many incidents that a new mother has to face in her work-life. It is believed that once a female becomes a mother she is less recruitable, she is paid less on the basis of what? Sweta truly wants to decode this myth. As a proud mom, she wants to assure everyone that motherhood is not the end. She suggests all aspiring mothers to hold onto the good, breathe through the bad, and welcome the wildest and most wonderful ride of your life.

 Keeping up with health: A lesson learned 

A woman’s body is a perfect form of Art. It faces constant change. Undoubtedly, motherhood brought a stream of happiness in Sweta’s life but it took away the sound of her

health. To her great shock, she was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder. Her deteriorated health started taking a toll on her, disrupting her day-to-day activities. She was no longer active, her productivity level was decreasing drastically. She could see everything falling apart until she realized that “this is it! I need to change this”. She changed her lifestyle upside-down, adopted a healthy diet, kept check of her physical and mental health, and today she is doing perfectly fine with her health and doing amazing at her work.

Coming to this day, recalling her journey fills her heart with the joy of happiness and she is really proud of herself for wherever she stands today. 

And she wants every young female to stand tall on her ground and work hard for her dream. You don’t need to change to be accepted and you’ll earn respect for your accomplishments. Keep yourself updated, sharpen your skill set, focus on what’s important, set the right expectation, be grateful for everything in life and always remember

                                               “life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, keep going.” 

About Her Journey

Her Journey is an initiative by Girls in Tech Nepal. We help the younger generation find the role model they didn’t know they were looking for. We are bringing real-life stories with the Her Journey Series.

Shequal Foundation

Shequal foundation is a non-profit organization with an aim to eradicate the gender gap prevalent in most career fields by ensuring equal involvement and leadership. Shequal foundation in association with Girls in Tech Nepal and Women in Big Data has conducted various programs and training in order to empower females from different sectors. They are providing a community where women can learn, grow, and inspire others as well.

Girls In Tech Nepal

Girls in Tech Nepal is a Nepalese chapter of the global non-profit organization Girls in Tech, working to bridge the gap between women and technology by engaging, educating, and empowering females of all ages in achieving their personal and professional development goals. GIT has coordinated diverse programs and training in order to inspire and educate women who are passionate about technology.