A young female graduate from India is proving that for those with passion and drive, technology is no longer a man’s world.
Hot on the heels of being nominated as one of the UK’s top 30 software and electronics engineers under the age of 30, Indian graduate Oishi Deb has been selected to receive funding and mentorship to turn her tech-focused ideas into reality.
In 2018, broadcasting giant Sky launched the search for their first Women in Technology Scholars, an initiative designed to encourage more women to pursue a career in technology, and Oishi secured a place. The Scholars ideas include networking apps for Black Young Professionals, machine learning and virtual reality.
Oishi has Bengali roots. Her parents come from Calcutta but the family later moved to New Delhi, where she grew up. She attended the Lady Irwin Senior Secondary School and then made the decision to go abroad to study for her undergraduate degree.
Through an agent in India, Oishi discovered the University of Leicester, one of the few UK universities where she was able to study a combination of computer and electronic engineering.
So, at the young age of 18, she arrived in the UK on her own and initially found it difficult to adjust to her new life. But gradually she settled in and began to feel at home, embracing the opportunity to study, work and live abroad.
No stranger to hard work, Oishi has been juggling her Scholarship machine learning project alongside her full-time job in software engineering at Rolls-Royce. ‘It’s a challenge to juggle the two things,’ she says, ‘but as long as I manage my time wisely I’ll be fine.’
The Scholarship provided her with a £25,000 grant, which has enabled her to do an online course in her free time, as well as purchase hardware and software licenses.
Having immersed herself in the world of technology, she has a truly impressive background in the field. She has completed internships and technical courses, developed a GPS tracker which can be used in emergency situations and participated in many hackathons and competitions.
Oishi has also received multiple accolades, including the British Computer Society (BCS) Prize 2017 for ‘Best Student graduating in Software & Electronics Engineering’ from the University of Leicester, the ‘President and Vice-Chancellor Student of the Year Award’ at Leicester and an Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Achievement Award undergraduate grant.
Her passion for technology is evident and her determination to succeed transcends purely personal goals.
‘Technology has furthered everything from putting people on the moon to curing life-threatening diseases. It has the power to drive many improvements and I want to develop my knowledge in this field so that one day, I can contribute towards changing someone’s life.’
Putting her skills and experience to good use, Oishi has become a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) ambassador for young people, such as mentoring at the BBC coding club, chairing her university’s Women in Computer Science group, and being a vocal champion for gender diversity.
Oishi wants to be a role model for those seeking a career in technology, especially girls and women, helping and inspiring them to work in the industry. But who inspires her?
‘My motivation and inspiration come from personal loss. When I was 14, my older sister passed away when she was only 16. This life changing moment taught me one thing – sometimes life doesn’t give you a second chance, so take every opportunity that comes your way.’
With a bright future in technology ahead of her, Oishi Deb is certainly doing that.