Firmly set on a career in medicine, it was only when volunteering at a local hospital that Maneesha Bhate realised it wasn’t her destined route. With her father already a successful engineer, she threw herself into the family career.
“Growing up, I’d always wanted to be a medical doctor,” explains Maneesha. “Every choice I’d made was working up to this – graduating with an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and taking the MCAT® (Medical College Admission Test) – but it was during the mandatory volunteering that I realised it wasn’t what I’d built it up to be.” “Turning my back on medicine was a big decision and after taking some time out to consider my options, I chose to go to graduate school to study Computer Engineering as it was the next logical career step, and that’s how I fell into technical engineering." “In my 12 years with Thales, I’ve done every job there is to do in software, first as a developer, as that’s how everyone starts out, before moving into software engineering, software project management, project engineering, functional management and more." “It was actually the THALES IFE Chief Engineer who approached me about my current role to see if I was interested in applying. I thought, if he’s asking, then I’m definitely interested!” Do I like what I what I do? Do I enjoy my environment including my colleagues? Am I adequately compensated? Am I learning? “I always try to find inspiration from new accessible sources that can guide me and inspire me. Those inspirations have always come in the form of professors while in college and senior members in key leadership positions at work. I find it rather difficult to derive inspiration from historical figures as I am not able to relate to them or have a conversation with them. Over the years, I have learned to request mentorship help without formality, and such a request rarely goes unacknowledged.” “Engineering is changing so fast, especially in software. I want to ride this wave of change and continue in leadership roles whether in full technical or full management." “For new talent entering the industry, young or old, remember, you don’t need to know everything about software. As long as you love technology and enjoy going between the big picture and details, then every task becomes a learning experience. No matter how difficult it may seem at first, there is a way to triumph." “To succeed, you need to be a problem solver, have the ability to embrace new challenges, develop new solutions, while remembering to carefully document the solution, so that others can understand it, replicate and derive inspiration from it. Imitation is the best form of flattery in such cases."
* NB: This article was originally published in 2019