Growing numbers of women are choosing careers in technology, science, math and related areas, but these fields are still heavily populated by men. And while AOL's technology division includes accomplished women at many levels – including a female Chief Architect, relatively rare in the industry – the Company aims to attract even more women and is working to do so. In this special series, get to know AOL's own tech trailblazers, what they're working on and what they've learned along the way. Today, we chat with HuffPost developer Piya Ghosh.
What's your role at AOL?
I'm a software engineer with the Huffington Post Tech team. I develop and maintain front-end components of our very high traffic and ever-growing website. I also work on building new tools, platforms and tech solutions using the latest technologies to optimize the site, reduce page load time and overall make HuffPost more and more awesome every day.
What technical skills do you bring to the table?
One of the cool things about working here is that you learn new things every day -- new languages, new tools and new ways to make the web more appealing. I've recently started coding in Scala and learning about functional programming for one of my new projects, and I'm loving every bit of it.
What was your path to your current position?
After earning my bachelor's degree in software engineering, I started my career with AOL Member Services at our Bangalore office before moving to a team where I was responsible for supporting publishing tools. Later, I worked on different and exciting projects, such as multi-authentication testing, implementation of a web analytics tool, page optimization and the redesign and building of several AOL Lifestyle sites.
I moved on to work as one of the main developers for Stylelist.com, beginning with migrating the site from one platform to another and then redesigning it. I also worked on another redesign of the site to accommodate our Devil premium format ads. I became a part of the Huffington Post tech team in 2011. I'm also one of AOL's cultural ambassadors and proud to be a part of that team.
AOL has played a big role in making me who I am today, and I'm grateful for that. I've worked with the most amazing people in an all-inclusive and fun environment. The managers I've worked with have given me freedom and encouragement, which has made me a more responsible person and willing to take risks. They've also helped me gain confidence to become a lead on different projects. I could keep talking about the awesomeness I experience every day, but I'll conclude by saying that AOL is an inseparable part of me, and that makes me happy and proud.
What or who motivated you to go into technology?
After high school I spent about a year trying to figure out what I really wanted to do. During this period I took a computer class and started learning C. The day I saw one of my first program's logic work beautifully, I knew what I wanted to study and went to college to study software engineering. I was also influenced and encouraged by my dad who's an engineer himself.
What's one lesson you've learned that you think other women could benefit from?
I think half the battle is won when you overcome preconceived notions about becoming a woman engineer, and you have complete self-confidence. One thing I've learned is that you need to be visible, proactive and take the lead when required. Also, being a geek is awesome!
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