The New Indian Express | By Manju Latha Kalanidhi | ENS | 03rd December 2015 |
HYDERABAD: Every third Friday, 32 girl students from five engineering colleges across Telangana (including Hyderabad) and Andhra Pradesh, hack away furiously between 2 to 5 pm on their laptops and mobile phones at Hyderabad’s best known corporate address – Microsoft India Hyderabad campus. “We are creating our own apps and rewriting our destiny,” they say. The students are part of WISE (Women in Software Engineering) mentorship programme, a voluntary initiative by a group of top women engineers at Microsoft India, Gachibowli, Hyderabad. “A shared passion for guiding women students to personal and professional success is the driving factor of the initiative,” says Charumathy Srinivasan, Principal Group Software Engineer Manager and founder of the Wise Mentoring Ring at the corporate company. “We partnered with TalentSprint and ‘Girls & Technology’ Hyderabad chapter to get us the potential students who were then shortlisted based on their statement of purpose. We selected them based on their responses to the question — If you had a technology idea and you could resolve a social problem, what would it be,” she adds.
Students from BVRIT, Vasavi College, VNR and Sreenidhi Engineering colleges and Sri Vishnu, Bhimavaram, made it to the final list. The one-year mentorship programme for third year students which begins in June is conducted at the company’s premises in Gachibowli. A certificate programme, it teaches them about open source, repository, how to interact with larger communities, arms them with soft and hard skills necessary to be a corporate woman in its three modules. “In India, technology can empower people. For a woman to have an idea, build an application and give it back to her family, friends and community to use it in day-to -day life is empowering. We wanted to touch that chord by mentoring students to empower themselves,” adds Charu. The mentorship programme has three modules which begins with ideating, collaborating and building the app. “We are with them throughout the journey, creating an experiential learning. We begin with brainstorming the app idea and counter them on various issues to train them on how to convince us about its efficacy. The sessions will help students learn things such as submission of technical papers, workshops on Machine Learning, Big data and others,” she adds. The software company has mentored 10 girls from BVRIT last year and has added more numbers this year. Sri Charvitha from BVRIT says, “We went in as rookie coders and came out as developers. They transmuted us into professionals by enhancing our skills and confidence. We had vague dreams and our mentors firmed them up into concrete goals.”
Principal K V N Sunitha said that she could see transformation of students into confident professionals who readily seek out challenges. Aasima, mentee from the college said that the sessions trained her to ideate, create and publish an app based on user expectations. “During the sessions, I have learnt how to communicate effectively and carry myself with poise even in tough situations.” Lalitha Gade from Shri Vishnu Engineering College for Women, Bhimavaram says, “People are learning things from internet these days. Though learning can be done online, the dynamics of team work, work management, time management etc can be learned only when we are working in the field. WISE made me learn those things. I travel all the way from Bhimavaram to Hyderabad to interact with mentors. This is not just an educational and techie programme it is more of motivational one where a student from remote rural background gets to collaborate with some of the best women in software engineering.” Damini from BVRIT, adds, “On August 7, 2014, I did not believe when Charu said that you can be the CEO of your own applications. But that little dream came true today.” – Courtesy