Issue 2: A published author and technology veteran - Anita Sharma
Software Engineer - Author of Full-Stack Web Development with Vue.js and Node - Packt Publishing
Q. Can you introduce yourself to our readers and share a bit of your journey?
I am a Senior Software Engineer at CloudFactory. I’ve been here for the last 7 years. For the first 5 years, I worked with the Ruby on Rails framework. Since the last couple of years, I have transitioned to Golang/AWS services/React.
Before CloudFactory, I worked at a few other places. My first job was around 2009 when I was still a student, studying computer engineering at Nepal College of Information Technology. I first worked in web design and then began programming in PHP.
I have been interested in computers ever since I was in school. So after SLC, I took a web design course which was all the hype back then. I was working on front-end design and a year later got interested in backend work so I started getting my hands dirty with some backend development. And now I mostly work on the backend with GoLang.
Q. So you’ve published a book, “Full-Stack Web Development with Vue.js and Node”, can you share with us the process around getting your book published?
Writing a book is not something I ever thought I would do. I had started learning Vue.js as a side project we had discussed in my office. Unfortunately, the side project got side-tracked but it reaped other benefits.
While learning Vue.js, I blogged my progress for my future reference. The blog took off in terms of views which in turn got me an offer from Packt Publishing to write a book. I actually said no to them at first but they were persistent and supportive so I finally agreed. It took me 8 months to complete the book.
Q. What has your experience been after writing the book?
I got a lot of positive feedback through emails, Facebook, and Twitter with people even asking about the next version of the book. After reading the book, a few people even reached out to me for advice related to problems they had run into. The book also got featured in Vue.js’s official newsletter and a lot of people reached out to congratulate me.
Q. Are you planning another version of the book?
I haven’t thought about writing another book again. It is a big commitment which I am not ready for right now, but I am very interested in AWS and have been learning it so maybe I can do something around it in the future.
Q. If anyone else is looking into doing something similar, do you have any advice for them?
Setting a goal to release the book and then breaking it down into smaller milestones helped a lot. You also need to understand your target audience and cater to them. Write about what you are learning. It’s the best tool for sharpening your skills and finally, I’d say, if I can write a book, anyone can…
Q. Can you share with us your experience of giving talks at conferences?
We used to visit colleges for talks and workshops from CloudFactory. It’s something that has always interested me. When the organizers of Web Weekend Kathmandu 2018 reached out to me, I took the opportunity right away.
I had to prepare rigorously for the talk, but it was worth it considering the feedback and encouragement I received after it was over. It also helped give me recognition in the community. A lot of people came to talk to me and were interested in my work and how my talk related to them.
Q. I guess now is a good time to ask about your work. What are some of the things you love about your work?
I would have to say learning and growth. There are always new challenges to take upon. Always something new to learn. I also love the stack I am currently working on. I also love the people I work with.
Q. What’s an average day at work for you?
Currently, I am working as a team lead. I get to work on the management side as well as writing code. Most of the things I do are clarifying features, meeting with Architects to find and solve technical challenges, and so on. And also code when I am free.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about transitioning to a management role?
I never envisioned myself in a managerial role; it simply came along as I grew into a senior role. It’s been one and a half years. When I first started, it was very challenging and I found communication to be the most difficult element to learn. I am an introvert and wasn’t a very vocal person. Now I see the importance of being able to communicate ideas more effectively.
Q. What are your experiences in the tech industry as a woman?
Personally speaking, I have never felt any discrimination as a woman in this industry. I don’t ever feel left out.
But there certainly are women with bad experiences having faced snide remarks, given easier tasks compared to their male peers, and so on.
It’s a topic of discussion that crops up in our events as well.
Q. So between side projects, talks/workshops, learning, and writing a book, what are the things you do to maintain a healthy work/life balance?
It’s very important that we set goals for ourselves. Something I do is I set a range of milestones for my goals and carry out one at a time. We all have some free time now and then which we can utilize for our growth. Once I check off a milestone, I take a break and celebrate before moving onto something else.
Being able to do something you love helps immensely. You also need to take breaks. In my free time, I also love reading books.
Q. What can you tell us now looking back on your 10-year career?
When I first started, I had a lot of turnover in my career due to various reasons. I switched multiple jobs before landing in CloudFactory. At CloudFactory, I received proper mentorship and growth opportunities which have made a big difference in my career growth.
My mindset around the job changed at CloudFactory as I learned that work is so much more than just coding. I also want to credit them for enabling their employees to go beyond the company. We are regularly encouraged to mentor, attend, and speak at conferences which have all helped me learn as well as connect with a lot of people.
Q. Ideally what is something you would love to work on?
I haven't thought much about it. I do like blogging and traveling and help contribute to the tech communities. So I would love to work as a Developer Advocate someday. I don’t think I would ever think of it as work if I got to do that.
Q. Any message to aspiring software engineers?
Be curious, always keep learning because there is just so much to learn. I would also suggest leveraging developer communities and social media as much as you can. Keep pushing yourself and keep on testing your limits. There is so much we can do in this field.
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