Owing to the estimated employment growth of 21% in just one decade (2018 to 2028), excellent work profile, and handsome pay, a lot of millennials are fascinated to become a software engineer/developer. 

But if you are just a newbie, it is very difficult to understand how a day in the life of a software engineer looks, or in a simple term what is the role of a software engineer, what employers expect from a software engineer and which skills are important to thrive in this domain. 

Most of us would even get confused by thinking that the role of a software engineer is just about writing codes day in and day out. However, the reality is far more captivating! 

Thus, to give you an inside view, we reached out to a veteran who belongs to the field of software and by using her domain expertise, now she has started her own software startup firm. Along with a strong profile in software engineering, she is also a record-setting author, poet, and a prominent research scholar. 

Software Engineer Interview Log – Chitra Lele

Read on below to find out how a day in her life looks…

Naukri Learning – What is your role as a software engineer and a young entrepreneur?

Chitra Lele – I started my corporate journey and inner quest at a young age about three and a half years ago. My fields of software engineering, peace promotion, and writing all are intertwined, and all these fields are very close to my heart and they complete the equation of my life. They are a part of my DNA…day in and day out. 

I am a young record-setting author, peace ambassador, and software entrepreneur, all rolled into one. At any given point in time, I am either a software engineer churning out new business ideas, which becomes the base for my next book project. My software profession is a hub of ideas for my books, and at the same time, my books help me to validate my theories and approaches in the practical settings of the corporate world. 

Apart from these fields, I am also a peace poet and peace ambassador associated with organizations like the World Peace Organization (USA) and Peace Writers Organization (USA).

Naukri Learning What does a day in the life of a software engineer look like?

Chitra Lele – My usual day as a startup owner and a software engineer looks like:

Regular Day’s Schedule:

I plan and carry out my day as a software professional, not in terms of time units but in terms of energy (intellectual, mental, emotional, etc.) investment, and focusing on my work and other aspects of life in terms of energy units helps me to perform all the tasks and activities in an optimized manner. 

Though the work-life of a software professional is quite hectic, I make mine manageable and balanced by trying to stay in the wise witness/objective observer mode as far as possible to be able to deal with the complex challenges at work in an effective and quick manner. During transit time or break time, I catch up with my teammates, colleagues, the latest trends in my field, etc.

Morning Schedule:

As I run a startup, I need to hustle every day but I do it in a mindful manner. The day of our team kicks off with a short session to assess progress. Once we understand what has been achieved, what is yet to be done and what are the problems, we all come with a doable plan. 

Mid-Day Schedule

Thereafter the mid-day is peak hours of work: carrying out coding, brainstorming and problem-solving, testing and so much more. Moreover, to manage work stress, we have designated a small space in our office where employees can go for personal reflection during their breaks. 

Such regular personal reflection sessions help employees to connect back to their core, and to bring back their diverted attention and center it within themselves. We have client meetings in the late afternoons at least twice a week. 

Evening Schedule

The evening/night end time is typically dependent on the morning start time. My team and I as far as possible maintain a laser-sharp focus on our goals to complete them by EOD. But given the volatile nature of the technology world, at times, our work goes well beyond the normal work hours, right through the night until the next dawn.

Saturday Sessions/ Break Time

To be able to revitalize our energy reserves and to introduce a bit of play in the workplace, we have something called Super-duper Saturday sessions every Saturday afternoon where we all share not only funny and cheerful events with each other but also personal transformation tales. These sessions give us a major boost ensuring that we are ready to take on challenges of the oncoming work week.

My day starts and ends in 15-minutes of me-time meditation and here also I add a variety of meditation techniques so as to keep boredom at bay.

Naukri Learning – What type of career opportunities do you think are available for a software engineer aspirant? 

Chitra Lele- Software engineering is one of the most lucrative career paths for aspirants. There are scores of opportunities and openings as this field is omnipresent; it is needed in all sectors and domains. One can choose to be anything right from a software developer to a system designer.

For one to be clear on what the career road is going to look like, one needs to:

  • Start attending networking events
  • Start sharing and reading ideas on social media groups
  • Start building a great profile highlighting your work on networking sites 
  • Always seek answers
  • Be inquisitive
  • Seek expert advice
  • Up-skill and re-skill

This helps a lot; I am sharing these inputs based on my own learnings and observations.

Naukri Learning – Which are the most worth-learning lessons that you have learned to excel as a software engineer?

Chitra Lele – What I share here is applicable to all spheres of life and all professions. I can say this with the conviction that the inner server, the Mindscape, needs to be upgraded on a constant basis to be able to meet any kind of upgrades in the outer world/corporate settings. Great performers are true inner leaders as they have awakened and ignited the spark of the inner leader. 

It is important for all of us to unleash and ignite the inner leader within us. 

As this inner leader helps us to discover answers to deep questions like who are we, what are our values and beliefs and what are our strengths and weaknesses. And this helps expand their vision of leadership, to become thought leaders, and to understand their own innate leadership makeup. And when this happens, one stops blaming external factors or circumstances for the poor performance and starts manifesting improvement in the outside world which essentially stems from within and it is positive and permanent.

Naukri Learning – Which all certifications do you hold, how do they benefit you in your current career path? 

Chitra Lele- I hold a plethora of certifications in various areas of the software like:

Also certifications in various domains like Capital Markets, Finance, etc. Certifications generally help to improve career opportunities, establish professional credibility, and also lead to networking opportunities. Moreover, at times the clients want us to get certified in a particular domain and this definitely improves domain knowledge.

One word of advice: Along with certifications (whether role-based, fundamentals, advanced, etc.) a proper degree and a go-getter attitude is a must. The zeal to learn and share, and find solutions for the greater good of our world are much needed to emerge as the winner here.

Naukri Learning – Which certification courses do you recommend to aspiring software engineers?

Chitra Lele – One is neither new nor old in this field as this field is so dynamic in nature, it changes by the day. Apart from certifications related to your platforms, domains, etc., keeping abreast with the latest developments on the IT/Software horizon is very important. 

Some of the blogs, websites to follow: 

  • ProgrammableWeb
  • GeeksforGeeks
  • Thoughtworks
  • GitHub

Digital 2.0 Technologies (AI, AR, VR, etc.) are here to stay and they are fast emerging on the Tech horizon, so I would suggest focusing on these and also focus on certifications related to software project management (PMP, CompTIA, etc). 

Based on your domain, client expectations, and industry dynamics, there are specific certifications for each of these factors, and one needs to thoroughly analyze these factors before going in for certification.

Naukri Learning – Do you have any expert advice for our readers? 

Chitra Lele – At times learning and studying the deeper dynamics about certain systems or practices helps to change my perspective and rigid attitude, and overcome the impulse of rejecting behavior or people whom I can’t understand or relate to in the first go. 

I try and not limit my thinking patterns by shutting out external inputs. Be open to everything but always be discerning based on a combination of logic, analysis, and intuition. Always maintain a can-do, progressive approach—if you fail in the first attempt, realize that you have the power within to come up with alternative solutions for the problem—there are always clues for the optimal solution hidden in the problem itself.

All the best!