Role model blog: Sugandha, F-Secure

Every day I challenge myself, and those around me, to think out of the box: to think of new strategies, to move as fast as technology does.

I completed my Bachelor’s Engineering in Computer Science in India, where I am originally from. It wasn’t a straight path: in India, you have the choice of trying different technologies first; in my case, I experimented with Electronics, Communications, and I ended up choosing Computer Science. What motivated me to follow that path was my strong interest in programming –I love programming! I was also captivated by the idea of creating software and systems that could solve complex problems and make people’s lives easier.

Building up a confident career in tech

I have 10+ years of industry experience. I started as a full-stack developer, which not only helped me understand the standard software development tools and processes but also proved to be a solid building block in my professional career.

As with everything, though, gradually my ambitions and interests grew larger, so I felt I had much more potential to be explored and used: I decided to move ahead and started working as a Test Lead. This was another important turning point in my career! I had the opportunity of working in multiple roles –automation, test management, release management, DevOps, you name it, and this versatility provided me with expertise in different domains, and also with opportunities to directly interact with multiple stakeholders. Yet again, another addition to my career: at many steps, I had to take some decisions which were business critical, and therefore I toned up my decision-making abilities.

Once I felt confident in this domain, I thought I could put to use these skills if I’d take a coaching role where I could leverage my past experience to help individually, as well as work towards organizational growth –so I started looking for a change and ended up here in F-Secure as a DevOps Engineer and Coach.


Sugandha, DevOps Engineer and Coach, F-Secure

An exciting new beginning

I have been living in Finland with my two daughters and my husband for 15 years, and it was actually my choice to change jobs: to give myself the challenge of a new opportunity in a coaching role and to be closer to home. And now, my office is a few minutes walk!

My responsibilities focus on helping the teams at F-Secure with improving the software development process: in essence, if there’s a technical issue, they can come to me and I offer a solution –as simple as that, except it is not that simple.

At F-Secure we all have a lot of technical knowledge, so we might have different approaches to the same problem. This is the best part of my job, but also a nice ‘challenge’: I get to help my teammates grow and develop technically, I get to work together with everyone to find solutions for specific scenarios, and I also get to build my case for encouraging others to get out of the comfort zone, to try new solutions, to make bold approaches. This requires being firm but soft, always open-minded and believing in the 10+ years of expertise I have behind my back. Quite a combination! 

Overcoming different stereotypes

It is a fact that our field is male-dominated,
but I also want to bring up another factor that creates stereotypes: the factor of age.

Sometimes younger tech folks might feel
intimidated because we haven’t been for 20, or 30 years working with tech. And what I say to that is: technology changes every day –it’s not about gender or age, it’s about how we adapt new technology to new needs. It’s about moving with time: a great example of this is programming languages/tools –we’ve come a long way from C and C++ style of programming to more sophisticated and abstract frameworks. We are now moving towards Artificial intelligence and Machine learning: here you see precisely the need for constant adaptation!

Increasing the number of women in tech is to me a fundamental issue that needs to be addressed as well. A realistic and actually useful strategy would be to expose girls, from a very young age to technology: providing access to coding classes, doing summer tech camps for girls, and introducing them to adult women who work in tech and who can talk about their journey –all of this is tremendously encouraging for girls, for their curiosity in tech and for building confidence in them. 

I could give you my real experience: I have two daughters, and of course, they have their own
interests, but one of them is starting to learn a coding language, just for the fun of it! She’s experimenting, she’s trying, and of course, sometimes she gets frustrated –she says, ‘I’m not doing this right’, and I answer,

‘Don’t think of right or wrong, think of whether you’re enjoying this, things do take time to learn!’ – and this is the beginning point: to feel the ground, to open up to new experiences.