Women in Tech with Shilpa Rao

 

 

To commemorate Ada Lovelace Day, at ShortList we have created a series of talks with women that have dedicated their working life to technology.

Shilpa Rao is Head of Artificial Intelligence Products and Platform at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). And she is not only a successful woman that loves AI, but also a creative mind that during her childhood was able to overcome the barriers presented by her dyslexia, condition that she only found out about a couple of years ago.

As a child, Shilpa paint the thumbnail of one hand just to differentiate left from right. She also woke up earlier to be able to read and memorise her lessons, even if she would not understand them. Her teachers never realised abouit it. Tenacity and resilience are soft skills that Shilpa has developed over the years, always influenced by her parents who were very supportive and encouraged her to always try her best.

Shilpa reflects about the fact that only 3% of women opt for an IT career from an Indian perspective. She consideres that the major impact is made by 3 factor: the cost of the courses, the fact that women have a higher focus on their family, and finally women suffering more health problems than men in India. 

One of the lessons learnt by Shilpa when she was a child was to always show up for things. "It is important to get that exposure, even if you don't do good, you will always come out learning something", says Shilpa. "Sometimes you show up, and nobody else shows up. That makes a difference".

The stereotypes Shilpa has heard most about women in tech are two: women don't understand tech, and women are not 100% commited. But she wants to send a message across to other women: "Believe in yourself, because if you don't do it, no one else will do. Remain focus and take action, and your dreams will become true".

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