Overcoming Stigmas & Forging Your Own Path as a Woman in Tech

Maggie Sullivan
June 12, 2024

When it comes to balancing a demanding career and starting a family, there’s an absurd stigma that women can’t do both. Despite facing resistance and backlash throughout her career, Nivedhitha (“Nive”) Anand is a testament to successfully balancing both. 

Below, Nive shares how she first became inspired to start a career in cloud engineering, how she manages her priorities, and why you don’t necessarily have to be good at math or computing in school to excel in the world of technology.

 What got you interested in starting a career in tech?

I was raised in a high-pressure environment as an only child, so I’ve always loved solving problems. Tech is a great fit for people like that.

I had an internship where I learned about women in technology, like Grace Hopper. She made incredible contributions to computer science during World War II, and her story really inspired me to enter the field.

In the beginning, women made up the vast majority of people working in computer science. But over the years, many of them began believing it wasn’t for them. In my case, I was often discouraged from specializing in infrastructure in particular because of my gender.

Why were you told infrastructure wouldn’t be for you?

Infrastructure is fundamental to business operations. It's the cloud, networks, servers, databases–everything that supports software and applications. It’s very demanding to be responsible for the reliability of such critical systems, and knowing that problems need to be fixed ASAP. I was often told that it would be impossible to manage all that and also be a mother.

Women have a lot of natural tenacity though, so when I was being told I couldn’t do something, that just made me want to do it even more.

You’re about to become a new mom! How do you balance that while being a Director of Cloud Operations?

I sometimes feel like I’m a cruise ship director since it’s a constant juggle between priorities. I have to be careful to manage my priorities while still creating a positive and collaborative environment. 

My mantra has always been, “know what your weaknesses are and admit when you need help.” Asking for help is nothing to be afraid of. It not only helps me rally my troops when I’m not available, but also helps create a stronger sense of community within my team. 

As cloud technology becomes increasingly complex, what are strategies organizations should think about to ensure they manage their cloud architecture effectively?

One, look at your business case and think not only about what immediate problems you want to solve, but also how your solution will scale your business. 

Two, for those moving from on-prem to the cloud, shift your mindset to “less is (sometimes) better.” An on-prem mindset means that you have to have pretty much everything figured out from the beginning, but the cloud is more simple and flexible. If some of your business needs are seasonal, for example, your infrastructure can also fluctuate depending on the season. You can architect as you go. That’s the beauty of the cloud.

What’s the one thing you wish you would’ve known about tech when you were first starting out?

That technology is not as closed-off as people may think. As long as you’re someone who loves solving problems, you can succeed in tech. It’s not just about the hard skills either; there’s a ton of soft skills that can be utilized.

If you’re not good at math or programming, don’t be intimidated–just give it a try and see if it’s for you.

What do you find most rewarding about your leadership role in tech?

The biggest reward for me is having the ability to positively shape a person’s trajectory and then watch their careers grow. Support for women in tech is what got me into the field in the first place, so it’s important to pass that support on to the next generation.

What advice would you give women aspiring to work in tech?

Think that you belong. No matter your personality or skill set, there’s something in tech for you. This field desperately needs good female leaders, which means there’s so much opportunity to make a real impact.

Also, find mentors that can take you under their wing. I’m here today because someone took a chance on me. If you’re motivated, the sky’s the limit. 

If Nive’s trajectory in tech is any indication, it’s that the sky’s the limit for women in tech when you learn how to advocate for yourself and seek out the right opportunities and mentorship to forge your path. 

For more inspiring stories from AMP’s Women in Tech series, read up on why Bhumi embraces AI and ML advancements and her advice on making these tools benefit you in the workplace.