Women Who Inspire Us! — Shweta Bharti

Hello, amazing people, and welcome back! We are here with our 7th wonder woman: Shweta Bharti

Welcome Shweta, it’s such an honor to have you. Let’s start with your introduction, shall we?

Shweta: I come from a family of five where my father was the only earning member and we were not financially sound and I did not have a computer till I was in 3rd year of my undergrad college. Today I am working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft USA with their IoT team.

I studied my whole life in Government Schools in Delhi which were not at par with private schools at that time, in terms of education, extracurricular facilities, and other opportunities. In spite of that, I was a Delhi Topper among all Government Schools with 97.4% in CBSE 10th Board examination and was awarded Indira awards in Mathematics and Science for being among 0.1% top students in these subjects.

I completed my Bachelors of Engineering Degree from one of the prestigious colleges in India — Delhi College of Engineering (now DTU) and got campus placement in my pre-final year at Centre for Development of Telematics (Indian Government-owned telecommunications technology development center) as Research Engineer and joined there right after completion of my undergrad degree.

Later, I came to the US to pursue a master’s degree in Computer Science from Stony Brook University in New York, and finally, now I am working as a Software Developer at Microsoft USA.

Such a humble beginning yet here you are shinning! Kudos to you for all your achievements.

We are really excited to know about your journey in detail. Please shed some light on it.

Shweta: I think it started right when I was a kid. My parents struggled a lot financially during their childhood for their education to become what they are today.

They made it clear very soon for me that there is no bed of roses waiting for me ahead in the future and I am in charge of my own future, so never be afraid of struggles and failures and have patience throughout the journey.

The first milestone in the journey was motivated by an interesting event. It was back in 2006 when I just stepped in my 10th standard, and my friends used to talk about what they want to opt for in the 11th standard and what they want to become later. It was very much clear that I want to become an engineer.

But then there was a buzz about the coaching institutes which prepare students for IIT-JEE/AIEEE entrance exams and they used to charge about 2 to 3 Lakhs Rupees (3k-4k USD) for the classes. I knew that my parents would never be able to afford this much amount, and I didn’t want my dream to become an engineer to be blocked because of monetary issues.

I learned from my seniors that these coaching institutes provide full fee rebate if one performs extraordinarily in their CBSE exams. That was the point when I decided that education and merit are my only friends for the journey ahead.

I finally topped the Delhi CBSE board examination with 97.4% in 2009 and bagged multiple scholarships. That was my first milestone. After doing my undergrad degree and working at the Centre for Development of Telematics, I finally decided to take my learning experience to the next level and I came to the US for my Masters in 2017.

Such strong will power to do something in life and most importantly, not settling for anything less!

Let’s talk about inspiration. What inspires you to move forward in your career?

Shweta: Lack of resources to socially and financially weaker people, especially to financially weaker sections of women is something which always drives me to work with a growth mindset.

I am of the opinion that if something is not gifted to you, earn it. I know a lot of women who are very talented and hard-working but the lack of resources (social and financial) hinders them to move forward in their career.

Lack of mentorship is another problem that is there if people around you don’t think the same as you do. I have also mentored multiple women across the globe about careers in Data Science and Engineering at the 28 Days of Technology Career event organized by AnitaB.org.

In the long term, I am definitely planning to start a mentoring-group to mentor financially and socially weaker sections of women to explore better options for their careers in India.

That’s a noble thought. We do agree the lack of social and financial resources can be big obstacles even for someone with the talent and caliber. Even though they have potential they might never know of their true potential with so many things holding them back.

We really appreciate what you are trying to do to help people with the right mentorship to realize their dreams and see their potential.

What’s your big picture look like?

Shweta: Indian government has taken multiple measures to make sure that basic education would be available to everyone for free.

But in today’s competitive world, I think there is more that is needed. People need to be enabled by advanced education now so that they can indulge in scientific research.

Education should never be limited by any kind of barrier. However, unfortunately, advanced education is limited by financial barriers and sometimes by social barriers as well.

I want to revolutionize the advanced education system. Luckily, we have got the Internet where advanced education can be delivered to different classes of people without any social or financial issues.

I want to introduce the hands-on experience to students in advanced fields of computer science like Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Internet of Things, etc. without any barrier.

Who or what inspired you on your journey?

Shweta: It’s my mother and father. They struggled through all odds to get their education and built everything from scratch.

My mother is a homemaker, she couldn’t study beyond 12th grade, but she is fond of reading books and this has empowered her a lot. And made her more aware of worldly affairs. My father is a commerce graduate and he is working at a decent reputable position in Delhi Govt.

It all starts with the family, indeed.

Which simple pleasures in life do you enjoy?

Shweta: Gardening is very soothing to me. The happiness that I receive seeing blooming flowers in my balcony is priceless.

Lastly, what is your message for young girls/women trying to achieve their dreams against all odds?

Shweta: I like these particular lines of Harivansh Rai Bachchan

Dhanush utha, prahar kar!

Tu sabse pehle war kar!

Agni si dhadhak dhadhak!

Hiran si sajag sajag!

Translation:

Lift the bow, strike,

you strike first

Flare up like fire

Vigilant like a deer

Remember what Yoda said, “Failure is the greatest teacher”. So, don’t be disappointed by the setbacks, rather learn from them, stand-up and start working towards them again.

Wah! Loved those lines. Thank you so much, Shweta for your time and efforts.

Our key takeaway:

Don’t lose hope because of the circumstances. Our will is everlasting whereas situations are for the time being. And we hold the power to change the situations and take hold of our future. Learn from failures but don’t stop or settle for anything less in life.

That’s a wrap for this week! We will be back next week with another inspirational woman and her journey.

Till then let us know your key takeaways from Shweta’s journey in the comment section or tweet to us at @romaamarnani and @hiralthaker12

Writer’s note: This story is written in collaboration with Hiral Thaker.

If you want to share your story with the world, reach out to us at hiralthaker37@gmail.com or romaamarnani@gmail.com! We would love to learn about your story and help you inspire others.

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Roma

Roma

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Tech Writer, Content Marketer, Product Enthusiast, Management Student — IMT — I geek out about UI/UX, books, music, physics, cosmos, sci-fi!