Women in Tech: A Q&A with Kirren Dharamsi
Earlier this month, we celebrated International Women's Day; and it made us realise how many incredibly talented women we have here at Benefex.
So, we'd like to introduce you to one of them: Kirren Dharamsi has been at Benefex for three years now, and is one of the super clever people who works in our Product Development team, making sure RewardHub runs smoothly and facilitates exactly what our clients need. She tells us about her experience in what has been, so far, a male-dominated aspect of the industry, but not for long...
"I am now in my third year at Benefex, and, having worked my way around a few departments, I'm now in the wonderful world of Product. This involves turning new ideas into bite-sized chunks for the Development team to make into reality."
Tell us a bit about young Kirren. What kinds of things did you do at school/uni which led you to a career in tech?
My dad has always been at the forefront of technology. In the ‘90s, he took loads of computer and programming courses and built his own website. He would teach me at the same time, which proved very useful as I went on to win my school’s prize for computing!
Also, I have always leaned more towards logic and number subjects, maths in school and college then economics and Actuarial Science at Uni.
What did you do before you joined Benefex?
Originally, I worked as an administrator in pensions. But I worked myself up through the company and ended up in the calculation programming department. That’s when I made the leap and started working at Benefex.
Talk to us about your experience at Benefex. Where did you start, and how did you get to where you are now?
I started off in the systems department which, at the time, was a hybrid of Data Services and Implementations. I was hired to look after one of our major clients who required a dedicated resource. This allowed me to learn SQL and understand how our system works behind the scenes. As I learned more, I progressed to being a consultant in the Implementations department where I could work on new ways to configure the site. An opportunity came up in Product, and I jumped at the chance, as I like being at the forefront of new things.
What has been the greatest achievement of your career so far?
I upgraded a high-profile client from a legacy version of our system up to the latest release. This is usually done by a team of 3 or more, but I managed this as a solo venture, and it all went smoothly. It’s interesting how, sometimes, you don’t really see what you’re capable of until you’ve already done it!
Where do you hope to get to in years to come?
As my career, so far, has always taken its own path and led me to exciting things, I don’t have a long-term goal. I’m not a big planner; my ambitions are to continue innovating in tech and finding new solutions as the world of technology keeps advancing. I do know I love working in Product so am looking forward to seeing where this takes me.
What one piece of advice would you offer someone entering a career in tech today?
Find a company with a product you believe in; it will make every day feel like it's not work, and make sure that product is at the forefront of the latest advances in technology.
Sophie is a self-confessed coffee addict, with an undying love for puns and terrible jokes.
Before working at Benefex, Sophie worked in a student accommodation where she was responsible for all communications with the residents, and planning and running events in the building. She has a degree in English Literature from Edinburgh University, and heads up to the Scottish capital whenever she can. She's originally from Staines though, innit.
When she's not writing blogs, Soph can be found supporting her beloved Arsenal, watching The Simpsons, and adding to her collection of film and TV-based t-shirts.