Welcome to the next feature of our Leaders in Tech editorial series. Speaking to leaders in the industry to capture their stories, career highs and lows, their trials and successes, their current company and their role, most recent projects, advice to others, and the individuals who they most look up to in the industry.
Today, we talked to Ayesha Janvekar, Software Engineer Manager at Covius, to find out more about why she joined the tech industry, what her role entails, what are the challenges she faces, and her advice to aspiring engineers and testers.
First of all, could you introduce yourself and your current role?
I am Ayesha Janvekar, a technology leader working in San Diego, California. I was born and raised in Bangalore, India. The secret to my success is being a constant learner and being optimistic. I am currently leading Software Development teams for Covius and have over 8+ years of IT experience.
Can you tell me about your journey?
In 2011, I completed my undergrad in Electronics and Communication Engineering and MBA in Marketing and International Business from Bangalore, India which helped me acquire a good skill set in both the technical and managerial world. To further gain deep technical skills, I pursued my master’s in Information Technology and Management from Chicago.
After graduating from IIT, Chicago, I got a full-time job at Covius(formerly known as Walz) as an Associate Test Automation Engineer, and the following year, I got promoted to the Test Automation Engineer and along with the QA responsibilities, I gradually took over the responsibility of managing teams and projects through scrum and soon I lead and manage the entire QA world for both on-shore and off-shore QA teams as a Software Development Manager.
What are your current role and responsibilities?
Currently, I am the Software Development Manager, I manage the entire Covius Quality Assurance team. I help them to deliver the highest quality experience to our customers via efficient, maintainable, and scalable software delivery processes.
I lead all the activities of the software testing, defect management, and performing root cause analysis to ensure we follow the best Quality Assurance practices using Agile and Kanban methodologies and with strong working knowledge of all phases of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
I do wear multiple hats sometimes, being the QA lead and scrum master for the teams, I deliver end-to-end solutions for multiple projects following the best QA practices. I also work with the automation team to develop automated solutions and tools to improve engineering productivity.
What inspired you to get involved in the IT industry?
Well, I had no plans to get into IT when I was a kid but when I completed my undergrad in engineering and pursued MBA, it all changed, I was very fascinated to be part of the IT field where I can utilize my skills of having both technical and managerial knowledge and that was the beginning, it gave me the passion to dive into details of the software testing and being the quality gatekeeper and deliver the best to the customers.
What do you like about working in Software Testing?
Happy customers make me happy. Over time, my key strength has been successful project delivery on time with the highest quality, and I have always been passionate about delivering the highest quality product/solutions to our clients so I like to dive into details of the subject and understand the end to end system to better understand the product overall.
I strongly believe software testing is a very crucial area of SDLC and finding bugs and reporting to the developers has always been an exciting and fun part of the job.
What do you think of the diversity in testing and in the tech industry, in general?
Software testing is all about investigating a product, exploring and experimenting with it to discover any potential bugs or issues. It’s about ensuring that developers ship a high-quality product to market that customers can’t help but love. At the very heart of QA is user experience and user experience is all about people. Having a diverse team of testers increases the likelihood of uncovering issues that a less diverse team would not.
According to you, what makes a good leader in the industry?
A technical leader does need to have a good understanding of both technical aspects of the product end to end and also be familiar with the technology so that they can provide technical feedback or perform technical code reviews also having great people skills is important like being a good listener, guiding or mentoring your team, providing feedback, helping the team members grow in their career and appreciating the team timely basis is very much needed.
What are some of the challenges you faced during your career?
The journey from being an Individual Contributor (IC) to being a leader has been a fun challenge. One of the challenges I had was to communicate more I was an introverted child when I was back in India so initially, it was hard for me to communicate and talk more during the meetings. But over time, I can proudly say, I have become an extrovert person now. I am very clear, and concise when I talk. I have gained the ability to communicate with a range of audiences appropriately, and confidently.
What are you the proudest of in your career so far?
To be honest, I am the first woman in my family to come across the globe to study and being in a different country, different culture, making my way up the ladder, given the responsibility of managing the entire QA team for a US-based company filled with people from different ethnicity and the level of experience and knowledge that they hold, has been an overwhelming experience and I am very proud to be where I am now. I am more than grateful to have been given this opportunity and I feel blessed to be part of this amazing team.
What do you think is the best part of being a woman in tech?
I love challenges and I believe women are creative and natural-born leaders who are good at problem solving and handling new challenges. This makes working in tech exciting for me. I enjoy the idea of discovering unfamiliar problems every day and creating innovative ways to solve the issues. Each day is different, and you never stop learning as we all know women have to work a little extra hard to prove themselves up to climb up the ladder and I am blessed to be part of Covius where they give equal opportunity for women and they balance pretty good gender diversity in the workplace.
What are you aiming for in the future?
Becoming a stronger leader, and a role model for women in tech and continue working towards climbing up the ladder into upper management.
Do you have any advice for aspiring engineers and testers?
Focus and believe in yourself. Become an SME in certain technical areas. Engineering is the ultimate field for challenge and creativity. It is a field that allows you to apply your knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems and help others. If that gives you an adrenaline rush, go for it. Even though I have been in this industry for years, I am still surprised at how little I know and how much more we still can learn.
Anything you want to add?
I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about myself and my career here in this interview.