This post is from the Numerify blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.
Women in Tech Spotlight: Ramya Venkatesh
When you ask a little girl what she wants to be when she grows up, typical answers include mom, teacher, or nurse. But what if we asked her to describe what kind of a woman she'd like to become instead? I'd hope we'd get answers like strong, independent, and confident. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ramya Venkatesh. She's a senior product manager at Numerify and an embodiment of the growing population of female leaders in the tech world.
Ramya grew up in India during the IT revolution when everyone wanted to be an engineer. Ramya recounted, "Engineering was the place to be, but if I had a choice, I would have decided to do a deep dive in mathematics."
After establishing herself in the field working purely as an engineer, Ramya realized that she had more to offer to the blossoming IT field.
"My skill set is being able to talk with somebody and then translating their needs to the people who are better at coding than I am. My talent is bridging that gap between technical and non-technical."
Journey to Numerify
Ramya's love of numbers and engineering background came full circle when she found Numerify. On top of being able to use her technical capabilities, she was also able to capitalize on her ability to articulate customer requirements.
Her favorite part of the job is speaking with customers about their needs and requirements, and then being able to convey that back as a product feature.
"The joy of being a product manager is that you're able to express something as a feature that was near-abstract to the customer up until that point. You get to create something new, and you get to build it from scratch."
Confidence is a strong skill to have on the job, especially when you're a product manager. Ramya is constantly speaking to multiple stakeholders across all levels of the organization, and her confidence enables her to effectively articulate her message no matter the audience. According to Ramya, an even stronger skill is having the courage to ask for help when needed.
Ramya says there are times when she isn't sure how to solve specific challenges, but the Numerify culture encourages her to ask for help. "Knowing when to ask for help is a powerful skill set that most people don't realize that they have."
"As people, we generally don't want to admit we don't know how to do something. I don't hesitate to put myself out there and ask questions. I don't look at it as something negative — and neither do the people around me — as I get the help to move forward with my responsibilities."
On strength & independence:
A book that lives on Ramya's nightstand is the classic Gone with the Wind. Both the book's protagonist, Scarlett O'Hara, and Ramya are strong and ambitious individuals. Ramya was inspired by Scarlett's strength and ability to face challenges and burdens.
"When somebody gives me responsibilities, I always believe I can handle them. Responsibilities are for shoulders that are strong enough to carry them."
Just like Scarlett, Ramya is a strong, independent woman. She says she is lucky to have found a husband who is not only supportive of her but loves these traits. "It helps to be with somebody who is secure about how strong or opinionated you are. I like to do things on my own."
Ramya also draws inspiration from her mother, a full-time working woman. "When I look at her, I know that I'll never be able to achieve half of what she managed to achieve or even overcome the challenges that she's had."
Ramya's advice to young women professionals:
Ramya says it's crucial to figure out what you're passionate about. The industry or job function is less important as long as you enjoy what you're doing. She recounts that many women tend to give up on themselves when it gets too hard or too challenging to balance, but she advises that they stick it out.
"If you give up too quickly on yourself, you'll never be able to build that expertise for whatever it is you tried. Identify the things you are passionate about and look for roles that align with your passion. You will be able to figure out a niche for yourself and love what you've created in the long run."
Ramya lives this advice every day. She's taken on challenges within her career head-on and never gave up. She's found her niche in product management and has quite the resume and accolades for things she's helped create, like Numerify's DevOps Performance Management solution (which she calls her "baby"). She is a great product manager, but more importantly, she is a confident, strong, and independent woman — a true role model for young women everywhere.