I’m a software engineer at a neurotech company. Here’s my advice to you.

Published in
4 min readApr 24, 2022


Photo by Bret Kavanaugh on Unsplash

We often think of computer science as a straightforward path. But for most people, it’s anything but—including Shruthi. We sat down together to answer some questions to help you understand how to break into the field.

Can you walk me through how you’ve reached your current role?

I got my first computer in the 2000s and was fascinated by it. But my interest died down during middle school and it shifted more towards biology. Unfortunately, even though I wasn’t keen to, I had to pursue computer science in university.

For the first little while, I just followed the herd and felt unhappy. Thankfully, during my third year of undergrad, I found some subjects I was really interested in and this re-sparked my interest. I then got my Master’s degree.

Why did you pursue this career?

I love how much creating my career involves. I can create new things, create anything I want.

Plus, computers are the future of the world!

What advice would you give to a young student interested in following in your footsteps?

My number one advice would be to never pursue computer science unless you genuinely enjoy it. You always have to keep up with new tech and stay updated so, without passion, you’ll face burnout.

Another piece of advice I have for those in computer science is that you need to keep updating your skills all the time. You need to practice LeetCode everyday; it’s incredibly useful for interviews

And when you solve a problem, talk through the solution and time yourself — again great for interviews and for building your problem solving skills. Also, be sure to look at discussion boards to learn more and understand how you may have better solved the problem.

Remember that consistency is key. You won’t start as a genius coder but over time, you’ll improve and begin noticing patterns.

Though it’s important to push yourself to improve, acknowledge burnout when you see it. During my Master’s, I had two internships and was teaching, so everything took longer. So acknowledged it, and took some time off even though I had lots to do. It helped me get back to myself and feel much better.

On the topic of mental health, be sure to maintain social connections and have some physical outlet. Whether your exercise is running, walking or working out, have something to help you keep fit physically and mentally.

And most importantly, keep a portfolio! Keep track of every project no matter how big or small. I recommend using GitHub for this. Portfolios are great at showing people know you actually know what you’re talking about.

What is the hardest obstacle you’ve faced in your career and how did you overcome it?

I came from India during my undergrad and then did my Master’s in North America. The learning styles were very different and this was a big shock at first.

So I took a step back to assess how I learn best. I realized my strong points are projects and technical coding and that I’m bad at taking exams.

With this in mind, I began taking more project-based classes and this helped me a lot.

I also didn’t prioritize social connections at first and was just stuck in front of the computer all day. I made sure to fix this as well to keep myself healthy and happy.

How have you worked on achieving work-life balance?

At my first job, I had absolutely no work-life balance because I wanted to prove myself. But this wasn’t the right approach; burnout started chasing me again.

To combat this, I set strict time boundaries and I work only from 8 am to 4 pm only. Then I go on a run, walk, or work out as a physical outlet. After that, it’s time for personal projects that bring me joy. And finally, I just find some time to chill and read a book.

I also never work on weekends, just on my personal projects. Weekends define the rest of your week so it’s important that you set that time aside for yourself.

What does a typical day look like for you?

It involves lots of meetings and coding. I do try to keep the meetings to a minimum though. Still, they’re important to sync up meetings and understand what the company wants to achieve as a whole and how your goal aligns with the company’s.

This interview has been condensed for length and clarity. This blog was written by Parmin Sedigh.