It is no secret that the tech industry has been dominated by men for quite a long time. The gender gap in certain job positions continues to be an issue even in today’s world, however, there has been an increase in demand for women executives and engineers. Many companies are looking to add more women to their engineering teams simply because the change will improve the work environment as a whole. This type of thinking was not as welcome over a decade ago, but through the impact of many inspiring and successful women, we are seeing big changes. One of these role models in tech was the first female engineer hired by Facebook - Ruchi Sanghvi.
Impact at Facebook
As one of five female students in her engineering class of 150, Ruchi Sanghvi was prepared to be in a minority when she started her position with Facebook as well. Sanghvi began working with Facebook in 2005 as their first female engineer. During her time, she helped develop their iconic News Feed feature that is used by over a billion people each day. Sanghvi also assisted with the product strategy for Facebook Platform, a feature that allowed third party developers to build apps on the social networking site, and Facebook Connect, which enabled users to link their accounts to almost any other website. When she began at Facebook, they had only about twenty people. She watched it grow to over a thousand employees and into the social media giant that we know today.
Entrepreneurship & Dropbox
In 2010, Ruchi Sanghvi left Facebook to begin her own business. Along with her husband whom she met while at Facebook, Aditya Agarwal, she started Cove, a collaboration software startup. As an immigrant herself, she wanted to hire other immigrants to work with her in her company, and was presented with a long checklist of various things that had to be completed before she could achieve this, expanding on her knowledge of the challenges that immigrants face. Her experiences and challenges as an immigrant entrepreneur stuck with her as things that needed improving later down the road. In 2012, Dropbox bought Cove, and Sanghvi and her husband joined the company as Vice President of Operations and Vice President of Engineering, respectively. Sanghvi had served as an inspiring role model for others at Dropbox, according to their CEO; she was one to go out of her way to motivate employees, especially other women. She left the company in 2013 but continues to hold an advisory role.
A Woman With a Voice
Throughout her career, Ruchi Sanghvi consistently used her voice and determination to learn and gain more opportunities. She has stated that her reputation in her industry is being a very aggressive and opinionated person. As a woman in a predominantly male-dominated field, she had to change her behavior to be more assertive, as many women find themselves doing in order to be heard. Sanghvi was always raising her hand and asking questions and asking for more opportunities. She is a very vocal person and lets her opinions be known, and is now a tech role model because of it. After leaving Dropbox, she became an active advocate for immigration reform in the United States and co-founded FWD.us, a lobbying group in Silicon Valley which promotes education, newer technology, and better immigration procedures. After her experiences in business, she is now dedicating herself to improving life for others following a similar path.
Many women in tech or thinking of breaking into tech are looking to learn of other women who faced challenges and overcame them to achieve their goals. There are so many out there, including Ruchi Sanghvi, who has gone through many barriers and challenges to make it to where she is today. Her story serves as an inspiration to many women who, like her, wish to face problems with creativity and an open mind.