Written by Rajvi Maisuria, UF Class of 2024
In today’s world, we are so in tune with technology, constantly depending on our electronics to a point where they never cease to leave our side. But the architecture of it is what makes them so fascinating. Each technology is unique and brings different features to us, whether in how the code is implemented or how the circuits, wiring, and hardware make the concept more tangible. We can see how the math and science combo gave birth to this invention that’s greatly impacted society over the decades.
So, with great fascination, I chose the field of computer science to learn more in-depth about the technical nature of this world. My end goal was straightforward: learn to code and become a software engineer. But my horizons widened as I joined clubs at my university, such as Team Tech in the Society of Women Engineers. We were building a website for a construction company, and despite working on the backend code, I became interested in the front-end side during collab meetings. It brought a whole new world of designs, wireframes, and prototypes. And I realized I didn’t just want to sit in front of a computer to code all day. I wanted to design as well. Some stereotypical responses or images come to mind when relating to computer science, and I knew when it came down to it, I knew I wanted more. There was a piece of the puzzle that I was missing, and I was coming closer to finding it.
I grew bored of simply focusing on all the technical aspects. What was that missing piece? And as I kept searching for it, I found something: a cross-section of design and tech, the world of Digital Arts and Sciences as the University of Florida called it. It was like the piece was there in plain sight.
And so, as I glimpsed through the course catalog pages, my heart jumped for joy. It was like I had found my true calling. “Why settle for just the mere 0’s and 1’s when you can have it all?” And just like that, the puzzle was complete.
It wasn’t just about learning assembly languages in our Intro to Computer Organization class but also learning about the 3D modeling and rigging of characters in Toon Boom. Not just learning the usage of scripting languages in Visual Studio but also implementing the Unity Software for the next big video game. Not just using MERN stack to create a website and learn the UX/UI designs on Figma. It wasn’t just a matter of choosing one piece over the other anymore because, for me, they both fit.
And with that, I learned that being a coder didn’t mean I had to forsake my creative side. As a female in the tech field, we’re often dominated by our male counterparts. Being strictly a coder almost seems enforced to make yourself worthy next to them. This was the case on my programming team and in other tech-oriented clubs where fewer females were present. Everything was so technical that I had to hide that creative side to advocate for myself and beat the infamous imposter syndrome we’ve all undergone at some point in our tech journey.
But being a female in the tech field shouldn’t mean that we are forced to follow in those footsteps. There are so many interdisciplinary positions. One such is a Product Manager. This past spring, I was a part of the Surbhi Lately Product Management Fellowship, where we learned the roles and responsibilities of a PM in Microsoft Teams, networked with industry professionals and peers, and learned how to crack the case-study interview. Before this fellowship, I didn’t know this role existed, bringing me a position incorporating everything I was looking for. As a PM, you utilize all the puzzle pieces in the world of tech: Design, problem-solving, entrepreneurship, engineering, and communication. I knew I finally found a calling that let me utilize all the tools in my toolbox instead of just heavily concentrating on one.
Everyone’s journey is different; navigating it comes from your gut feelings. I knew I wanted more than just coding; with that, I could find my missing piece.
As a woman in the tech field, Rewriting the Code is the best way to showcase our strengths and contributions to this technological world despite what our tech journeys look like. So, when we follow our gut and pursue our passions, we can navigate to the lines in between and find where we belong. It’ll be a recursive legacy that I hope we never stop compiling.