Archana Rao is a Delivery Director at Terazo, a recent promotion that includes responsibility for putting together standards for engagement leads, ensuring a smooth flow from one project to another, and making the allocation of delivery teams more efficient.
With new processes she’s working to put in place, she’s aiming to ensure optimization of Terazo’s development teams, banking on intimately knowing the team’s individual skill sets to ensure high utilization of their time and the optimal team for client engagements.
In addition, she’s working to build a repository of repeatable code, onboarding and off-boarding processes, and other reusable artifacts to help the entire company operate with greater efficiency. Using this ethos, her team recently created a plugin template for an external project that would typically take three-week-long “sprints” of work using Agile processes and reduce that timeline down to three days.
“What I like most about Terazo is the balance [afforded] between work and personal life. I like that the company treats its employees like a family and that they are not just considered ‘staff’ for their clients.”
She also works with the sales and architecture team to turn leads into opportunities and does project-scoping tasks such as fee estimation. Archana works on four projects currently, and much of her focus is on Twilio work.
Despite her impressive technical acumen, Archana’s background is not in computer science. She has a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences and did some basic programming in college, “but I didn’t so much as have an email address until my husband opened one for me shortly after I came to the United States,” as she puts it. Soon after this time, though, she became interested in pursuing a technology degree and took steps to make her dreams a reality.
Archana started taking online courses and earned an associate degree in computer science. Looking to put her newfound knowledge into practice, she spoke with an acquaintance who was pursuing a startup and was looking for a Java engineer for an e-commerce project.
After working at the Texas-based startup for a year, Archana eventually became a Lead Application Engineer at Citizens Bank in Rhode Island, where she mainly worked with Java APIs. While the work was rewarding, she didn’t feel challenged enough because of the bank’s approach to technology. “Coming from legacy software at the bank and seeing [the trend of] how folks were moving to the cloud, I felt like I wasn’t moving anywhere. I thought I was starting to lag behind in my technical skills.”
This notion led her to pursue an open opportunity at Terazo, although she admits she was hesitant to apply at first as she had struggled with work/life balance in the past – something she says is not an issue in her current role. “What I like most about Terazo is the balance [afforded] between work and personal life,” she said. “I like that the company treats its employees like a family and that they are not just considered ‘staff’ for their clients,” as she had experienced at a past company.
“This provides a collaborative environment where employees can work together to provide the best service for the clients,” she said. “I [also] enjoy working at Terazo because it is a cloud consulting company, which means I can work on cutting-edge technologies and develop new skill sets.”
When asked what advice she would give to someone starting out in her field, Archana emphasized the importance of being open-minded and flexible. “Computer science and STEM fields are always changing, and it is important to keep up with those changes,” she said. She also says it’s essential for those pursuing her field to look at the big picture and see how technologies can be used across different industries to unlock new opportunities by thinking outside the box.
She also advises aspiring technologists to be creative and flexible, not to limit themselves to one programming language, and to sharpen soft skills such as people management. Archana is also encouraged by the number of women coming into what she says has been a traditionally male-dominated career path in her 15 years of experience. “The industry is changing, and more women are coming into the field, making it a great time for women [to consider] a career in technology.”
Outside of work, Archana is a mother of twins, a boy, and a girl, who are turning 16 soon. Her husband is also in the technology field, currently serving as the CEO of a company called Vias3D. In her free time, she enjoys painting on canvas and recently started taking an online class focusing on Indian folk art subjects using fabric paint.
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