Blog

Career pathways in tech #12 – tech returner developer

03 May 2022

Developer Srilekha Ganesan returned to work this year as a software developer after an 11-year career break. Here she shares her story and what it’s like coming back to work after so long.

What does your work as a developer involve?

“My job is to develop software for user applications. This involves analysing user requirements, drafting technical designs and coding in programming languages used by clients. I also do unit testing while I’m coding. Once the software application is delivered to the client, I make sure the code is working and fix any problems. Challenges include understanding the exact client needs and maintaining quality in delivery.”

“In late 2021 I joined the Tech Returners programme, which was created to empower experienced engineers like me back into the tech sector after career breaks – and at the same time tackle the digital skills shortage.”
How did you end up doing the job you do?

“After completing my degree in electronic engineering, I started working in microcontroller programming, and that led to a career in software development. I completed my masters in software systems while working as a developer. I had an 11-year career break to spend more time with my family.

“When I wanted to restart my career, I started working with online courses. In late 2021 I joined the Tech Returners programme, which was created to empower experienced engineers like me back into the tech sector after career breaks – and at the same time help tackle the digital skills shortage.

“A backend development programme gave me the opportunity to learn new tools and methodologies, as well as insights about the latest changes in development processes. We all completed mini projects at the end of each section of the programme. In addition to the tech training, the programme offered confidence-boosting workshops that have helped me to understand how having a growth mindset can give you tremendous help in all aspects of life.

“Overall, the programme helped me to upskill in technology - and I regained my confidence to get back to work in software development. Through the programme I got an interview with Opencast, and that’s where I am now!”

What type of person is good at the role you do?

“I would say a good fit is a person who gives a simple and straightforward solution to problems and can clearly communicate solutions to different people. Developers must be keen to learn and update consistently and be able to work in teams effectively.”

What technology and tools do you use to help you do your work?

“I am working in Scala, where I use an integrated development environment like IntelliJ for coding, alongside tools like Miro and Confluence for organising work.

What projects are you working on right now?

“Because I joined as a returner, I am getting up-skilled through online learning and support from OC’s open source team.”

What do you particularly enjoy about the role?

“I work primarily in developing business applications. During software development, I do get an opportunity to learn about business processes, which broadens my knowledge.”

“I’ve always had an interest in technical roles. I see the next step in my career as a role in system designing.”

Day in the life

“Right now I’m on onboarding training at Opencast so spend a fair amount of my day upskilling through online learning and also contributing to OC’s new open source team.

“At the start of the day, I update my daily tasks and problems in stand-ups. I do pair programming sessions with senior developers and attend the open source team’s mob sessions, where we get the opportunity to clarify doubts and discuss tickets. I’m also working on a sandbox project created by the Opencast team to replicate a client’s environment. And I attend relevant community meetings. 

“My role is fully remote, which gives me the flexibility to do school runs!

“In my spare time outside of work, I volunteer as a Tamil language teacher for children, which I enjoy very much.”

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