Amitha works as a Product Manager for a Software company based in LA, California. She graduated from Walter Sisulu University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and with a Honors degree in Information Systems from the University of South Africa. She did her Master’s degree Program in Information Systems from the University of West London.
She has worked in several different roles such as being a lecturer in Information Systems in Walter Sisulu University to Application Manager, Business Solutions Architect and Product Manager roles in the IT Service Management Industry. She is very passionate about her career and believes that hard work is the reason why she is where she is now!
Amitha’s Intro in her own words:
I am a hardworking South African British Indian mother of two residing in the US, working my way up in the IT sector. I use those terms (South African, British, and Indian) as living in each one of those countries has helped me shape the person I am today and contributed towards my success in my career.
How did you come to the US? For studies or as a dependent?
I came to the US as a dependent of my husband.
What were the challenges you faced during/after your transition from India to here? How did you overcome those challenges?
My transition was from UK to here. The challenges faced by many, whether from India or from another place to here would be similar. One of the major challenges I faced was to find a job. Though I had around 10 years of experience working in the IT healthcare industry in the UK, I was finding it hard to secure even an interview here, merely because I did not possess US experience. I noticed that in the US there is a huge supply of skilled people with similar experiences applying for a job and anyone who is looking to change industries or is new to the job market will not even be considered.
The difference I found in the UK and US market was that in the UK you would be considered for having “similar” experience or demonstrating the potential of performing well in a job, whether you have done it before or not. However, in the US they look for people with the exact matching technology experience and having done the exact job somewhere else (e.g. an application specialist role for Cerner will require someone with only Cerner experience and if you have experience in a similar tool like Epic but not Cerner, you will not be considered!). In the UK these will be looked at as EMR experience and you would be considered for the job. This brings me to a crucial observation, having the right keywords in your resume. It’s almost like there is an automated tool that scans your resume and if it does not contain the right keywords then your resume is not considered!
I managed to secure a job in a more generic role, as a data analyst, by demonstrating that I have the knowledge and understanding of handling patient data having worked in the healthcare industry. This then opened up avenues within the healthcare IT job market for me.
What did you do your Masters in? How do you think this education has helped you in your career?
I did my masters in Information Systems. This has definitely helped me, not just with acquiring the knowledge to perform certain activities, but also to understand the roles and functions within the evolving IT industry. I learnt how to do research on topics and latest technologies, some techniques which I still use today in my job. Also, I have been offered more remuneration merely because I have a Master’s degree.
What do you attribute your success to?
Ability to connect easily with people. Having lived in so many countries and experienced different cultures, I have recognized that people’s behaviors and linguistic skills are directly related to how they communicate within their cultures. I am able to understand people better and connect with their thought process easily. This has helped me tremendously with my communication with people.
What were your initial days as a student like?
I was a student in the UK and I faced challenges as anyone would, moving to a new country for higher studies. I had the luxury of living with my sister during my Masters and did not have any problems plugging myself into the society, thanks to her. My batch mates, professors and lecturers were from different ethnicities (India, Britain, Nepal, Spain, China) and I enjoyed interacting with every one of them. This is where my life experiences of living in South Africa, Britain and India came in, to feel comfortable among people of different races and cultures. Also, being one of just two girls in the class brought on benefits of its own kind 🙂
What were your initial days in your first job like? What challenges did you face to be where you are now? How did you overcome them?
I will answer that as my first job in the US (and not in my career). The biggest challenge I faced in my first year at my work in the US is with communication. I was so used to communicating the British way that I found it a little challenging connecting with people. They were having trouble understanding my wittiness and I was still getting used to the common sayings and expressions used in the US. I also found myself using a lot of British words, which mean different things here in the US. Also the role being remote made this even more challenging as all the communication was over the phone. I overcame them by engaging myself in more casual conversations with colleagues, reading about and understanding the differences in terminologies used in the US. Within one year I was speaking the same dialects as my colleagues and I felt like I was fitting in more.
What is your advice to the younger folks who aspire to pursue their education and careers in Technology?
My advice would be to work hard, keep yourself up to date with the latest and emerging technologies, get yourself trained in IT certifications whenever possible. Certifications such as Agile/SCRUM, project management (PMP), ITIL are all crucial for the current market. Make sure you have an account in LinkedIn and it is up to date. Network with people in different industries and in different job roles. Attend workshops and conferences whenever possible and expand your network. If you are still in University use your lecturers and professors to guide you. Apply for internship positions in companies like Deloitte, Cisco, and use their incentive programs to work hard and grow within the organization. No matter what industry, what role, what level of work, it all boils down to one word – hardwork!
Author: Amitha Duvvuri
Amitha is based in Dallas, Texas and works as a Product Manager for a firm in LA, California. After finishing her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Honor’s degree in Information Systems in South Africa, she moved to UK to pursue her Masters in Information Systems. She worked in UK for a few years before moving to the US. She is passionate about her career in IT. She is a mom of two! She loves spending time with her kids and also loves singing!