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[Women in STEM] Shikha Mishra, Senior Magento Developer Team Lead, CedCommerce

With CiOL, Shikha Mishra, Senior Magento Developer Team Lead, CedCommerce, outlines her journey in a tech role and organisational diversity.

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Laxitha Mundhra
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[Women in STEM] Shikha Mishra, Senior Magento Developer Team Lead, Cedcommerce

Shikha Mishra is a developer from Lucknow who is passionate about open-source projects. She has earned her Bachelor of Technology from SRMCEM and has been working with CedCommerce for six years. Currently the Lead Developer at Cedcommerce, she is also an active maintainer at GitHub. More than 100,000 online e-commerce stores have been built on Magento, and its code has been downloaded over 2.5 million times across the world. Ensuring that this code is accessible to all are some passionate open source maintainers. They ensure support for these large-scale open-source projects and one such prolific maintainer is Shikha Mishra.

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With CiOL, Shikha Mishra outlines her journey in a tech role. She also talks about how organizations can further diversity inclusion in hybrid workplaces. Excerpts of QnA.

What got you interested in technology? What are your roles now?

I wanted to be independent at an early stage in life. I always wanted to pursue a career that would allow me to continue to learn and grow. So, I started coding during college to enhance my tech skills, and I became a coder. In fact, I’ve always been passionate about open source since it allows everyone to build on each other’s work. Becoming active on GitHub helped me in developing my skills by learning from other developers and getting recognized for my contributions to the community.

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My current role includes extension development, core bug fixing, customizations. I also develop e-commerce solutions based on Magento as well as front-end technologies like React and Angular. The open-source version of Magento that I work on is highly customizable, very popular in India. It is ideal for developers, organizations, and small merchants just starting their businesses. Many small and big businesses have used Magento to develop their e-commerce website. Seeing their success gives me immense satisfaction in the work I do for the community. I also recently completed some projects for PWA Studio. It enabled programmers to develop reliable mobile experiences that boost conversion and engagement.

Has the inclusion of Women in STEM changed over the years? How can the change be snowballed?

We have witnessed significant growth in the number of women opting for STEM courses. In fact, the latest study by Coursera shows that enrolment of women in these courses has increased even more owing to the pandemic to 33% in 2020. STEM education can be more engaging and inspiring for girls if these subjects are introduced early in school and combined with other disciplines. Female role models, mentors, and teachers can help to modify stereotyped beliefs. They can encourage more females to pursue STEM degrees and a rewarding career in technology.

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In the new normal, how are the roles of Women in Tech changing? What is your advice to women in tech?

The pandemic has redefined the possibilities of remote work. The new normal has also helped women choose jobs without having to relocate, allowing them more flexibility to work from home, which makes managing multiple tasks, including home duties, easier.

My advice to women is to constantly learn and upskill, stay current with technology and business trends, seek a good mentor and take ownership of their professional advancement. If you’re working in software development, I would strongly advise working on open source projects and being an active part of the developer community. Most importantly, continue to chase your dreams and don’t let anyone derail your career choices.

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The impact of women in technology is undeniable. Are there ways that organizations can engage and appreciate the women workforce?

Organizations can play a key role in catering to women's needs by implementing policies such as flexible work and prolonged parental leave, as well as providing encouragement and support to women returning to work after a break. Also, create a workplace that values diversity, respects all cultures, and encourages having women in senior roles.

I believe any steps companies can take towards removing any discrimination, including gender, will eventually empower women to stand out and more intentionally and effectively contribute to the growth of the organization. To help achieve this, I also see value in driving women-focused development programs. Companies should also have diversity training for managers, and promote STEM early on in education and career.

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How can hybrid workplaces achieve gender diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Organizations must approach diversity and inclusion (D&I) as a business necessity and aim to establish a work culture that reflects the complete spectrum of demographic differences. Employees in inclusive organizations feel respected, empowered, and more inclined to share their experiences and learnings. Companies should also promote initiatives that enable women to pursue and incorporate their careers, personal interests, and life responsibilities.

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