Raji Arasu is an original. Not only is she a female engineer, but she is also an executive in the field, currently serving as Chief Technology Officer at StubHub, eBay Inc.’s online marketplace for buying and selling tickets. Just how rare is her position? In today’s world, women only make up 25% of the technology industry and fill only 9% of executive roles in the field—and that percentage has been in decline for the past two years.
Raji didn’t always know she wanted to be a part of this elite group. Like many children, she grew up in India wanting to be a variety of different of things, ranging from teacher to astronaut. It wasn’t until she went to Pune University of Engineering that Raji and a few of her friends ventured into the world of computer science. At school, Raji noticed the gender gap in her field from the start, but didn’t let it scare her.
Not only are you a female working in tech, but you’re also an executive. What challenges have you faced as a woman working in a male dominated-field?
It’s sort of a lonely world. In technology, there are fewer women than there are in business organizations, and there are even fewer women in senior roles.
There were certainly a few challenges early on that I had to tackle. The first one was being able to think about the big picture. Engineers like to implement. We fall in love with our solutions and we really want to be able to take things down to the last level. But in doing that, we sometimes lose perspective. Often, we hold management responsible for creating the overall picture and communicating it to us, but I feel like it’s really our responsibility to go seek those answers and create that picture. I had to coach myself through that.
Technology is obviously a rapidly changing field. What’s the best way to stay on top of evolving trends?
Keeping on top of technology is like trying to swim through an overpowering current 24/7. But what helps is choosing the concepts you want to focus on. It’s like having a menu in front of you—you pick and choose the right trends that you can apply to your business. When you look at it that way, it feels a little less overwhelming.
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