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How Giving Back Helps Audible's Anshika Priyadarshee Push Her Industry Forward

Anshika Priyadarshee knows how to make anywhere feel like home. She grew up living in India, Kenya, and Canada before moving to New York for a job with Audible, where she now works as a Senior Software Engineering Manager.

"It's probably the longest I've spent in one place," says Anshika of the six years she's been living in the city and working from Audible's Newark headquarters. "It's been a nice way to get to know what is a pretty beautiful city."

Anshika started her career journey at Audible through their internship program, and she's long been an advocate of educational opportunities for women interested in engineering. At Audible, she participates in their Impact Group for Women in Tech and hosts field trips for organizations like Girls Who Code.

We sat down with Anshika to hear more about her work, why it's important for tech companies to reflect the diversity of their users, and how she works to make that possible.

Making tech for real people

As a software engineer, Anshika enjoys writing code that brings a new feature or product alive. But what she's come to love even more is the opportunity to see how her work impacts Audible users.

"A really big piece of fulfillment for me is seeing customer feedback," she says. "Recently, we launched a new type of product offering, something my team has been super involved in, and it was so exciting to go on Reddit and see the reactions of people who were really excited to use our product."

Anshika knows that in order to create products that work for everyone, tech workforces need to include people from different backgrounds and with different experiences. "Tech is influential. Depending on who's participating, it can shape how the future generations see things," she explains. "It's important to have that representation because if you don't, you have a whole segment of the population that gets left behind. You want to address the needs of each group," she says, highlighting how employee resource groups, called Impact Groups at Audible, such as Women in Tech, which she's a member of, as well as others like AudiblePRIDE, Unidos@Audible, Women@Audible, Moms@Audible, and the Black Employee Network provide vital perspective on Audible projects.

Bringing in the next generation

When Anshika first started her career, she had a preconception that computer science was something dry. "Once I got into it, I recognized there's actually so much more you can do with it. There's an element of creativity that wasn't necessarily conveyed," she says.

That's part of what inspired Anshika to get so involved with Audible Cares, her company's community giving efforts, and to lead specific projects through the Women in Tech Impact Group like field trips with Girls Who Code. "I'm hopefully changing the dialogue on what CS means to everyone else," she says.

As part of those community service initiatives, Anshika and other engineers at Audible mentor young women interested in tech, encourage their studies, provide advice, and give them a glimpse into different career paths. Anshika and her team participate in panels, where they talk about topics like building a spirit of resiliency, recognizing the power of failure, and building careers that work for them. "It's pretty impactful, especially meeting students who are a bit closer to making their decisions for which careers they want and being able to take part in their journey," says Anshika. They also host workshops for students to experience hands on code writing in a terminal while working from a set of prompts.

In pre-pandemic times, the field trips also included a tour of the Audible Studios where the magic happens. "It's pretty exciting for them to see how we actually go from book to voice experience," says Anshika, whose personal favorite listen is When Breath Becomes Air by Dr. Paul Kalanithi.

But despite the pandemic, Anshika continues to make connections with the next generation and encourage their dreams. "A different type of barrier has gone down because we don't need that physical presence, so it opens up the door for a lot of other people to participate," she says. She's hosted virtual workshops and partnered with college students as they consider careers in tech. "Ideally, [we'd] give everyone exposure to it," she says.

"Giving back is good for the future of tech," says Anshika, and it's also good for Audible as a company and its employee satisfaction and retention. She really appreciates how the opportunities she's had to participate in community involvement and community service have enhanced her career. "It's been a great way to meet people [at Audible] I wouldn't have normally connected with if I just stayed within the scope of my team," she says. "Whether it's meeting with principal engineers in Seattle to get their ideas on effective workshops or working with our executive sponsors to get input on our direction, it's been very impactful career-wise, and a different way of understanding how people learn and work at Audible."

Combining her engineering work with her community work has empowered Anshika to ensure that the future of tech is a diverse, representative, and inclusive one. If you're interested in doing the same, check out Audible's open roles here.


How These Companies Are Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen 150% since the pandemic started. But these acts of violence are not new — they are part of a much larger history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.

That makes celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (which was named a month-long celebration in May by Congress in 1992 "to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843 and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869") this year all the more important.


5 Things All Product Managers Should Do for Their Engineers (And Vice Versa)

Tips from SeatGeek's Anuja Chavan

When Anuja Chaven turns on a fan in her house in Jersey City, she can't help but think about how every piece of it works.

"There are an extensive amount of things that have to go perfectly at the same time," says the former engineer (and current product manager at live event ticketing platform SeatGeek).

It was that interest in understanding how things actually worked that drove Anuja to study engineering—first electrical, during her undergrad in India, and then computer science, during her master's program in the U.S.


The Secrets to Balancing Work and Family Life

3 Pieces of Advice from Working Moms at Pluralsight

Being fully committed to work and family is a challenge that many working parents have to take on. It can be exhausting and thankless pursuing a fulfilling full-time career, while taking an active role as a parent. Achieving a healthy balance can help keep you motivated and productive at work, while allowing you to be fully present when you're home.

We recently chatted with working moms at technology skills platform, Pluralsight, about their best advice for striking that elusive work-life balance. Here were their key points:


How to Make the Most of Being on a Growing Team: 3 Tips from Plex’s Adriana Bosinceanu

When the startup Adriana Bosinceanu was working for got acquired, things changed fast.

She went from being one of eight engineers on a small team building a streaming service to joining a company that was five times larger and had a much bigger scope.

That company was Plex, where Adriana has been working remotely as a software engineer for the last four and a half years.

As her team grew from two people to ten, Adriana decided to lean into the opportunity to grow; along the way, she found herself deepening her technical skills, her self-confidence, and her relationships. We sat down with Adriana to learn exactly how she did that, and to hear the tips she has for other engineers experiencing growth opportunities on their team.


What These Companies Are Doing to Celebrate Juneteenth 2021

*Updated on June 17th, 2021 to reflect Juneteenth officially being named a Federal Holiday in the U.S.*

Juneteenth has been celebrated by African-Americans since the late 1800s, but in recent years (particularly in response to global protests over police brutality and the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and other Black Americans), there has been a surge in interest in the day that celebrates freedom.

Before it became an official federal holiday, many businesses shifted toward marking June 19th as an annual company holiday, creating different initiatives around the holiday and offering employees opportunities to learn, reflect, and take action toward racial equality.

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