Two Women Leaders on Transforming an Early Interest in Technology Into a Successful Career

Sponsored by Wind River

Tracey Bogue and Maya Madhavan

Photos courtesy of Wind River.

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Fairygodboss
May 25, 2024 at 11:1AM UTC

Tracey Bogue, Scrum Master of the Wind River Cloud Platform System Engineering, and Maya Madhavan, Senior Manager of Engineering at Wind River who manages the Compiler Group, both became interested in technology at a young age. 

“I remember being fascinated by the first computers to which I was exposed in high school,” Bogue said. “After a general science program first year in university, I decided to major in mathematics and computer science. I ended up staying in school for nine years, earning a PhD in Computer Science.”

Meanwhile, Madhavan was inspired to follow her mother, who was an engineer that “worked at a National laboratory, designing systems to measure aircraft parameters and performance,” she says. “With her as a role model, I naturally gravitated to a career in technology,” Madhavan explained.

But how did Bogue and Madhavan transform their interest in technology into successful careers? We recently spoke to both of them about their work at Wind River and how the company empowers and uplifts women.

What projects or programs are you currently working on?

Bogue: I’m currently testing the latest release of the Wind River Studio Cloud Platform to determine benchmarks and limits for customer applications. It’s a challenging problem space because we perform this testing without access to any of the applications that customers run on the platform. It’s very interesting to dive into the characteristics of the infrastructure of the platform to determine how different types of applications impact it.

Madhavan: The compiler team is engaged in improving the quality of the generated code and keeping up with the latest language standards. We’re responsible for the tools used to build embedded systems and, with computing being all pervasive these days, the quality of the tools and their attention to functional safety are critical. 

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced working as a woman in tech?

Bogue: One of the biggest challenges that I’ve faced is a lack of women role models and mentors throughout my career. I spent the first part of my career at a very large telecommunications company. The software development teams were dominated by men (perhaps 10-20% were women), and all of the long-term managers I had were men as well. When I moved onto other opportunities, they were with much smaller companies with the same (or a lower) proportion of women.

Madhavan: I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have never felt disadvantaged because I’m a woman. I’ve worked for two companies in my career, Motorola and now Wind River, and, in both, I’ve felt that the quality of my work and my dedication were the only factors that mattered.

Does Wind River provide any resources or programs to support women in your field?

Bogue: Wind River has an extensive diversity and inclusion program, which includes networking groups for both women and minorities. There is strong representation of women in executive positions as well.

What’s your favorite aspect of the culture at Wind River?

Bogue: The executive team truly values and supports the people in the company to a degree that I haven’t seen elsewhere. There are a number of programs for overall wellbeing (and not just as it applies to the work environment). It’s very nice to know that these resources are available, especially with the additional challenges of living in a COVID-19 world.

Madhavan: The people at Wind River make it a truly special place to work. They create a nurturing and caring environment where we can work together to make better solutions for our customers.

What’s something you’re especially good at at work?

Bogue: One of my strengths is technical investigation — investigating an issue occurring in a piece of software and determining the root cause.

Madhavan: I’m a good multitasker — I’m able to keep multiple threads going on at once. That has helped me be more productive in an environment where the tasks for the day can be unpredictable sometimes.

What are you trying to improve on?

Bogue: I’ve always focused on software development in my career. The System Engineering role is somewhat of a departure from that, so I’m working on expanding my horizons and finding enjoyment in technical work that isn’t specifically software development.

Madhavan: The ease in multitasking sometimes translates to taking on more than I can reasonably complete in a given time. I am trying to become better at organization, planning, and scheduling.

What advice do you have for other women who are beginning a career in tech?

Bogue: There are three pieces of advice that I would give to women starting a career in tech:

  1. Focus on being good at what you do. The easiest way to sell yourself is by demonstrating competence.

  2. Don’t be afraid to express your opinion. You may not always be right, but my experience has been that the managers for whom I’ve worked really appreciate employees that are engaged and provide feedback.

  3. Find a job that’s fulfilling and enjoyable, and don’t be afraid to change jobs to achieve this. You spend a lot of time at work, and it’s much harder to be engaged and productive if you aren’t happy.

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