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Ada Lovelace Day - Celebrating Women Achieving in STEM - Apurva’s Journey


Posted on 9/10/2018 by Greg Clarke

In March this year, Apurva began a new adventure working in Application Development at an investment bank in Glasgow. Just as she packed her bags and moved to a new city, she shared her thoughts on tackling gender stereotypes in STEM as part of MThree’s International Women’s Day campaign. 6 months on, we caught up with Apurva to find out how she’s settling in.

It’s hard for me to believe that this time six months ago I was packing up my life in London after 23 years and getting ready to start afresh in Glasgow.

It has been a whirlwind half-year, between settling into a new job and finding my feet in a new city, but looking back I can honestly say that it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

My current role involves doing front-end development for Quantitative Solutions & Innovation, a dashboard that provides real-time analytics around FX trading. We try to find not just the most relevant data to show the user, but also the most useful and intuitive ways of presenting it.

Unsurprisingly, there was a great deal of learning involved when I first started! We use a number of different web technologies and frameworks, most of which I had limited exposure to back in April. Seeing how far I've developed, I'm proud of the skills I have been able to pick up since then. In a funny way, it has been a circular journey - I still remember my first proper “developer” task, which was to add a small bit of functionality to some of our pie charts. I’ll happily admit that my solution wasn’t the most elegant, though for a time it did get the job done. However, last week I found myself looking at the same bit of code again, with a view to extending it, and the way I would approach the task now compared to my solution from six months ago was an interesting (but encouraging) comparison to say the least.

Beyond the programming, I've also learnt financial concepts which underpin the work we are doing. The training I did at MThree was incredibly useful in giving me an overview of financial markets and I have enjoyed going into more depth on the topic recently, especially since my work lets me see the concepts in action every day! My colleagues have been admirably patient with my many questions, and it has been humbling to work with such talented and motivated individuals.

From them, I have also learnt so much about working practices and what makes a successful team. Without wishing to fall into cliches, communication really is everything. When deadlines are tight and expectations are high, it is more important than ever to be open and honest about how tasks are progressing and whether you need more help or more time. It’s not always flagged up as advice for new graduates entering the workplace, but getting a feel for estimating how complex a task will be and how long it will take helps immensely with this. It may have taken me a late night or two in the office to learn the lesson, but I think it’s an important skill that I am much better at now.

Looking back on what I’ve learnt already, it leaves me with the question of what I’d like to see myself doing in another six months’ time. Although continuing to expand my knowledge around finance and technology will always be an item on my list, what really motivates me is being able to integrate more of my ideas into the application we are building and see features I have helped to build in the final product. It has been many months of hard work to get here, but I am excited to see where the next six months will take us!

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