Two Software Development Engineers at Audible, Subhrima Bhadury and Dushyanthi Pieris, spoke at the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC), the largest gathering of women technologists, this October. This is Audible’s fourth year at GHC (see highlights from last year here) and even as the event went virtual, Audible tech leaders, employees and recruiters were excited to connect and network with GHC attendees.
At this year’s virtual celebration, Bhadury and Pieris shared lessons learned in handling high-traffic events to Audible’s website and app with thousands of GHC attendees. We sat down with them to learn more about their roles, what it’s like to be a woman in technology and what GHC has meant to them.
How did you end up in your role at Audible?
SB: Fun fact: I ended up at Audible because of Grace Hopper Celebration! I had submitted my resume on the GHC resume portal and I got an interview call through it. This is the first company I’ve worked at in the US after my postgrad, and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to be.
DP: I was a few years into my career when Audible reached out because I signed up to attend a Women in Tech event at Audible. Audible’s reputation in tech is great, and when I considered that alongside Audible’s relentless efforts to maintain a positive culture, I was convinced this was the right decision as I began the next chapter of my career.
What does the future for women in tech look like to you?
SB: The future for women in tech is bright and we will accomplish big things! Companies should focus on achieving diversity through the recruitment process. The more diverse the workforce is, the more creative the industry becomes.
DP: There are so many incredible women in tech making strides in the industry! Because of this, there has been so much progress to identify the gaps in the industry and encourage diversity. Companies like Audible have a critical role in defining who gets through the door, who gets to the top and which behaviors shape the culture.
Do you have advice for young women on overcoming challenges in the industry?
SB: Try to find someone to confide in or a mentor to build a relationship with. At Audible, we have a Women in Tech impact group and our own mentorship circles where early-career professionals can participate in a program to be matched up with a mentor. Having been both a mentor and mentee, I’ve always been a huge advocate of mentorship.
DP: Women often wonder what it’s like to be in the software engineering field after hearing news stories and reading statistics. The industry is paying attention to those issues now more than ever, providing endless possibilities to find new definitions of what it means to be a woman in tech. Think about what success means to you, regardless of your background and experiences. You can always find ways to learn and grow and remember that the first person you have to convince is yourself.
GHC theme this year was “together we build”. How is this personified at Audible?
SB: Audible is all about building together! We are all about collaboration. We enjoy working on features together as one big team, and we get so much strength from one another. It’s like being part of a big family. This mindset helps us achieve huge milestones.
DP: This year’s theme is a call to celebrate people from diverse backgrounds and experiences coming together to build communities, products and experiences. So much thought is put into collaboration at Audible to make sure everyone, regardless of their background, feels welcome. Audible’s foundation, with our People Principles, embodies the same idea.
How did it feel attending GHC virtually this year—and presenting there?
SB: I personally enjoyed the keynotes by Serena Williams and Marian Croak, and track meetups where I connected with women in tech in other companies. Presenting at GHC was a huge honor! I was humbled to be able to share our experience in load testing with such a vast audience. Colleagues as well as new connections reached out on LinkedIn after the sessions to share their enjoyment, which was immensely gratifying. Overall, the conference gave me motivation, inspiration, knowledge and connections!
DP: I was pleasantly surprised how everyone involved—whether it was the GHC organization committee, participants or speakers—figured out creative ways to make it an exciting event just like an in-person conference. Presenting was such a wonderful experience and I’m so glad I took the plunge! It was an interesting challenge to rephrase our internal learnings for a broader audience in a way that was engaging and succinct. Also, I was able dive deeper into distributed systems and load testing during the process of creating the speaking proposal and getting ready for a Q&A, so I feel like I learned a lot in the process. I hope more Audible folks will present at next year’s GHC!
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