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Akanksha Vyas

Video Services Pod Lead

Idfy Inc

And - Visiting Faculty at NMIMS Design School

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You will get opportunities to build things, discover things, create things, learn about worlds, and even create them.

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

At Idfy, I am the POD Lead for Video Services. We are building a product for video-based identity verification for the financial sector. I overlook the technical direction of the product. I am responsible for making sure that features are built in a timely manner and meet a high technical standard. I manage the engineers, and ensure that they are learning and growing. I work closely with the internal teams to understand and define requirements and priority and execute on them. I also spend some time with clients to understand their pain-points and future requirements.

 

As a visiting faculty at the NMIMS School of Design I create and execute the technical courses for first year students, featuring creative coding and web-design. As their first introduction to writing code, we explore code as a tool to create art and bring their designs to life.

 

As a director at Women Who Code, Mumbai, I help organize events / hackathons / workshops to bring people into a common space where we learn from each other and grow. In the last year, I have been leading a technical mentorship initiative.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

When I was growing up I used to spend many weekends solving puzzles with my father (Raymond Smullyan / Martin Gardner). In my third year of University, I realized that Computer Science is just solving puzzles. This fuelled my interest and Mathematics and Computer Science.

 

As I grew more in this field, I realized that computer science not only has some of the more interesting mathematical puzzles, but it also gives you the tools to build your ideas - to try them out and experiment.

 

In my first internship I was prototyping new features for CAD design tools at Autodesk Research- this was when I knew I had made the right choice.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

There are always ups and downs, and will continue to be. There are many moments in education and work where things don’t go according to plan. There are many voices, internal and external, telling you that you can’t do it or that it's not worth it.

 

What helps me in these moments is to tune out the noise and ask myself if I am enjoying the actual work that I do everyday. If that answer is yes, everything else will work itself out.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

When I was younger I thought anything was possible. I didn't have the slightest notion that Computer Science (or STEM in general) is not a field that was generally popular with women. There was nothing in the environment at home or school that discouraged me or even made me feel like the things I was pursuing were special or different. It was only when I was in university that I became aware of the acute gender gap. I hope that everyone has a chance to grow up this way, because it is possible. Not always easy, but definitely possible.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

I love solving puzzles and I love building things.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

A career in STEM means that you will always be learning new things - and that is hard. It requires time and patience. But you will grow with your field. You will get opportunities to build things, discover things, create things, learn about worlds, and even create them. If you enjoy something, just keep at it.

INSPIRATION

POWER
by Adrienne Rich

 

Living    in the earth-deposits    of our history

Today a backhoe divulged    out of a crumbling flank of earth
one bottle    amber    perfect    a hundred-year-old
cure for fever    or melancholy    a tonic
for living on this earth    in the winters of this climate

Today I was reading about Marie Curie:
she must have known she suffered    from radiation sickness
her body bombarded for years    by the element
she had purified
It seems she denied to the end
the source of the cataracts on her eyes
the cracked and suppurating skin    of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold    a test-tube or a pencil

She died    a famous woman    denying
her wounds
denying
her wounds    came    from the same source as her power