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Profile: Hiral Patel, Founding engineer at Diamanti

Women in Tech: “There is a place for everyone, and I encourage you to try it out.”

Dominik Mohilo
women in tech

Four years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Hiral Patel, one of the founding engineers at Diamanti.

research study by The National Center for Women & Information Technology showed that “gender diversity has specific benefits in technology settings,” which could explain why tech companies have started to invest in initiatives that aim to boost the number of female applicants, recruit them in a more effective way, retain them for longer, and give them the opportunity to advance. But is it enough?

Four years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Hiral Patel, one of the founding engineers at Diamanti.

Today’s Woman in Tech: Hiral Patel, Founding engineer at Diamanti

Hiral Patel is one of the founding engineers at Diamanti, an emerging leader in supporting the deployment of Kubernetes architectures and container-based, cloud-native applications.

Hiral invented and has a patent for her work on NVMEoE. Hiral has a deep understanding of Kubernetes architecture, and she played an instrumental role in deploying OpenShift on Diamanti HCI platform and integrating Diamanti’s storage IO offload using FlexVolume on OpenShift.

Prior to Diamanti, Hiral was one of the key engineers who developed Cisco’s FCOE device driver and contributed to the Linux community.

When did you become interested in technology?

During college, I attended engineering classes and became very intrigued by computer engineering because it allowed me to explore the world from a different perspective — through computers and technology. I enjoyed solving problems through computers and the technology behind them.

How did you end up in your career path?

I was born and raised in India. While it was a challenge at first to obtain my immigration visa, I eventually moved to the United States for my Masters degree at San Jose State University in California. From there, I completed various internships in the Silicon Valley that allowed me to explore different areas of technology and gain the experience I needed to launch my career.

During my time as a software engineer intern at SanDisk, I was able to work across business units and discover areas I enjoyed. This is where I became interested in the storage stack and how it works. From there, I became a software engineer at Cisco Systems where I helped develop Linux device drivers in storage and storage networking technologies and then a software engineer at QLogic.

These roles gave me insight into how different devices plug in and work into the computer subsystem, and set me up for success at Diamanti where I was introduced to Kubernetes and my very first project was prototyping storage protocol.

Did you receive support from your family and friends? Do you have a role model?

When I moved from India to the United States, my friends and family were a huge support. While it was hard for my parents to send me overseas to deal with new responsibilities on my own, they gave me full support and motivated me to continue my education path.

My father, a mechanical engineer, is my role model. He is very detail-oriented and thorough in both his knowledge and foundation. He inspired me to explore technology, and I always wanted to be like him — detail-oriented, knowledgeable and thorough.

Did someone ever try to stop you from learning and advancing in your professional life?

I would not say that anyone ever tried to stop me from learning. Many of my colleagues are also my friends, and we promote each other to continue learning.

Additionally, the leadership I work with pushes me to achieve more and learn different skills. We all push each other to learn and innovate.

A day in Hiral’s life

I am one of the founding engineers at Diamanti and currently a member of the technical staff. My typical workday is divided into non-technical and technical activities. During a portion of the day, I support marketing and customer activities, and the other part of the day I work on my technical projects. At Diamanti, I am one of the experts in OpenShift and help across various projects and teams developing OpenShift projects.

In the evenings, I enjoy writing code, bug fixes and new features I would like to implement.

My father, a mechanical engineer, is my role model….He inspired me to explore technology, and I always wanted to be like him — detail-oriented, knowledgeable and thorough.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I love to take on new challenges, and I like to fail and learn from my failures — rather than avoiding the challenge. I am most proud of my role at Diamanti, and the challenges I have overcome along the way. Not only do I continue to grow my experience in software engineering, I am expanding my skills across customer support, marketing, leading projects and more.

Why aren’t there more women in tech?

Tech is a challenging industry for women; it can be very demanding from a time and schedule perspective. For many women, it is important to find the right work/life balance, and unfortunately, it can be challenging to balance both in a fast-paced industry like tech.

However, the industry is also making strides in enabling women to continue learning and growing their own skills.

Could you name a few challenges (or obstacles) women in tech face?

Many women go through various stages of life, and time can become a challenge. When building a family, women may feel like they do not have enough time to balance everything and worry about the impact of having a family on their careers.

While many organizations are doing more to accommodate and support working mothers, they often face the added pressures of trying to balance everything and having strong time management skills.

Would our world be different if more women worked in STEM?

Absolutely. In my opinion, women have a different level of maturity and better multi-tasking skills. This is a strength that women can bring to improve STEM and overall produce a better environment.

Tech needs more women who are willing to take on the challenges and achieve success.

The discussion about diversity is gaining momentum. How long will it take to see results from the current debate?

The current conversation around diversity has the opportunity to be a game changer. As a society, we need to continue focusing on diversity and equal respect in both our personal lives and the workplace. I couldn’t say this before, but I am encouraged by the larger conversation around greater representation for diversity, and I hope to see this momentum continue beyond this year — for the broader society and those in the workplace.

I also hope to see a greater increase in diversity in the C-suite. For example, even though women representation in the C-suite lags behind that of men, 22% more women have joined C-suites since 2015.

What advice (and tips) would you give to women who want a tech career?

Always go with what your mind and heart says. If you really want to pursue a career in technology, there is a place for everyone, and I encourage you to try it out.

With everything, there will be challenges that will take a little determination, but know that you can overcome these challenges. Tech needs more women who are willing to take on the challenges and achieve success.

More Women in Tech:

For even more Women in Tech, click here

Author
Dominik Mohilo
Dominik Mohilo studied German and sociology at the Frankfurt University, and works at S&S Media since 2015.

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