Reflections from Microsoft women innovating in cloud hardware

Cloud Hardware Women

Each year as March rolls around, Women’s History Month presents us with meaningful chances to reflect and revel in the inspirational and unlimited ways in which women throughout society, both past and present, have shaped communities, businesses, and the world. At Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Campus, you don’t need to look far encounter inspirational women who are making their mark on technology in their unique ways and pushing the bounds of what’s possible.

The Azure Hardware Systems and Infrastructure group is one such team comprised of women building next-generation server hardware and systems for Microsoft. We sat down with six of these women to learn more about their personal career inflection points, and the experiences and relationships that have helped them thrive as female technologists responsible for the future of the Microsoft Cloud.

Get to know these pioneering women and watch the videos below to learn more about their career inspirations, highlights, and advice for thriving authentically at work without limits.

Padma Parthasarathy, Partner Design Verification Engineer


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On diversifying career experience and finding your niche

“You need to be able to move around to find your niche Don’t settle [on] whatever you take up first [as the one thing that’s] going to define you. [If] you start as a designer, start in architecture, start in verification, start in like physical design, whatever it is – try to look for opportunities to try out everything before you find your niche… there are so many ideas and you never know which one is going to click for you, but it’s really important to find what you enjoy and what is the niche… what you bring to the table is very important.” —Padma Parthasarathy

Judith Aarts, Director of Engineer Services and Lab Management


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On playing a dual role as a woman technologist and mother

“I have a daughter who’s 16, who is [thankfully] interested in STEM. I wanted to at least share, and I think that’s my responsibility as a mother, as a woman, as an engineer to be able to share what an exciting sector this could be.” —Judith Aarts

Sukhadha Viswanathan, Senior IC Hardware Engineer


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On receiving support and allyship from colleagues

“I’m very early in my career and you know, what I’ve seen at Microsoft is [that] each and every team member, they are ready to help you. They are equally smart. You can learn from them, and they are also [ready to help you help you] excel in your job.” —Sukhadha Viswanathan

Pranami Bhattacharya, Senior Software Engineer


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On advice to women pursuing careers in technology

“There’s nothing to be afraid of [with] dreaming big, because today you might think that you’re shooting [for] a lot, but tomorrow [those dreams] will become real. My personal motto is, “don’t be afraid to really shoot high or dream big, because you are the person who can actually make those dreams real.” —Pranami Bhattacharya

Swati Mehta, Senior Principal Scientist


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On motherhood shaping their career

“I would say that one point if I had to think back to my career was six years ago when my daughter was born. She had a hard time with me coming back to work and literally she would cry every day. And to me, it was very hard to leave her back home. While I questioned whether I should be working or not, I also took that as an opportunity [to ask], can my work mean more, or as Marie Kondo likes to say, [can it] bring you joy? So I went to my manager and I said, ‘I need to do more – it needs to mean more than it did before’.” —Swati Mehta

Sharayu Kulkarni, Senior Hardware Engineer


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On growing through Microsoft’s learning culture

“The best part I like about being in the Azure org is the work culture here is ‘learn, learn, fail fast and [be] adaptive”. With that, you don’t have any fear of failure. You can be more creative and very open about your ideas, and it is easy to implement them and enjoy your work not thinking too much about the consequences or your impression on others.” —Sharayu Kulkarni


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