Inspiring Story of Komal Mangtani
Komal came from a conservative family in Surat. The idea of women working or going away for higher education was not popular.
“I come from a conservative family. People were loving but not necessarily giving me the right feedback.
Back then, traveling 200 km to study, staying in a hostel, was all a no-no. I distinctly remember crying, trying to convince my family this was the right thing for me.”
So Komal rebelled and decided to take up Coding.
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Using education as a ticket to independence
Komal once said, “For me, computer engineering became a ticket to freedom, to independence.” Coding helped Komal explore her career differently. She could move away from social norms that were otherwise tying her down.
The initial struggle
It was not easy though. Komal studied engineering almost 20 – 25 years back. During the 1980s- 1990s. Computers were not easily available then.
“I had to pay by the hour for computer time!”
To save money, Komal started writing software programs on paper first. Then she would run to the local cybercafé and type those programs on the computer.
Komal, however, did not let these challenges discourage her. Instead, she started having fun. She treated these challenges like a game. Writing software programs and testing them gave an outlet to her creativity.
Converting challenges into opportunities
Komal’s imagination was strong. She loved solving puzzles and riddles. When the computer programs she wrote didn’t work, she treated them like a puzzle. It was her version of a video game.
Breaking society’s rules
After graduation, Komal joined Wipro as a software engineer. The society, however was not happy. At that time, people thought a working woman meant the family was poor.
At that time, Komal’s father supported her.
Taking up a job…... Going away from home to pursue a career…. Pursuing Technology, which was predominantly a male-dominated profession…... Komal kept breaking the typical norms.
Taking these risks paid off
The job in Wipro as a software engineer was the start of a successful career. Due to her background with Wipro, Komal could shift to the US. There she got an opportunity to work with Oracle in the US.
Later she joined Uber and has been in the news ever since! Today, Komal is a senior Director in Uber and heads engineering and business intelligence.
Komal on girls entering the world of Technology
Komal's advice to girls wanted to enter Technology is that they should broaden the definition of Technology. Match using Technology with their interests. She gives an example of YouTube and Facebook.
One may be developing the next YouTube because she or she likes love watching videos. Similarly, one may create the next Facebook because he/she likes to socialize.
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According to Komal, having an equal number of men and women in Technology is beneficial to business. Since women think differently and bring a unique approach to solving problems – which may be different from a man’s approach.
Komal is a strong supporter of women joining Technology. She is on board of communities such as Women Who Code and Girls Who Code – organizations that help girls make a career in Technology.
In fact, Komal was also instrumental in Uber donating more than a million dollars to Girls who Code to help girls develop technical knowledge at a young age.
Komal on empowering girls to make their own decisions
Be it career or deciding what to eat, Komal firmly believes that girls should make their own choice.
She feels that we need to empower girls to make decisions from a very young age. It can be a simple activity such as going to a restaurant and allowing them to order what they want. This helps boost their confidence."
Komal herself has 2 daughters. One is 10 years old and the other is 14 years old. She keeps telling her girls not to allow the world to define them. She feels girls should invest in themselves and now allow others to define their strengths and weaknesses.
If you wish to pursue a career in computers and Information technology, you can check out our free online courses in Information Technology