SHEHANI’S STORY OR HOW FAR YOU CAN GET WITH HARD WORK AND DEDICATION
If it hadn’t been for Gajendran Packiyanathan, who knows, perhaps Shehani would never have heard about Powercoders. Gajendran was a participant in the first Powercoders batch in Bern and now works as a Software Engineer at Migros Aare. A relative had read about Gajendran on social media. The relative told her that Gajendran was also from Sri Lanka so why not give it a try as well? Before that, Shehani had applied literally everywhere for an IT position. She would have been happy with an internship but nobody was willing to give her a chance. Her German wasn’t good enough, they said. The fact that she had IT experience in SAP didn’t count there, it seems.
She’s one of the not so many women who applied for the Powercoders program. Therefore, she is one of our rare female graduates. For her, however, it doesn’t feel like she’s the odd one out here or as if her being a woman was anything special in the IT field. Having had to flee Sri Lanka together with her family when she was eight years old and settle in India, she grew up in a country where the Tech sector is something quite normal for a girl to choose as her career path. “In India, many girls go for engineering studies” And that’s what Shehani did: She chose Computer Science as her subject for her Bachelor’s studies. To her, this seemed like the easy choice! Then, when Shehani came to Switzerland, she got married. Her husband came to Switzerland from Sri Lanka in 2009. The two had met through Skype and spent hour after hour getting to know each other this way.
Looking back at the 3 months of boot camp she calls it “hell, for someone inexperienced” because it’s very intense in terms of hours as well as in terms of how much you have to learn in such a short time. However, since she’s not the type to look just on the negative, she says it’s all worth it in the end. The program really is a good base for making it through an internship that might be equally as challenging. For Shehani, the struggling is a thing of the past now. She started her full-time job as an SAP developer at UBS in April, directly after her internship ended. It was a strange transition since everyone was working from home at the time. It was okay, though, because she knew the team very well already. In fact, she describes it as her destiny to have ended up in exactly this great team at UBS where everyone is open-minded and friendly. And, she adds, where it’s easy even for an introvert like herself to mingle with everyone.
Shehani wants to express her gratitude towards everyone at UBS but her thanks goes out to Powercoders as well: “I think it’s very likely that without Powercoders, I would have had to give up my dream of working in the IT sector in Switzerland. I would have had to take on any job I could get, just to earn something.” Well, we are also very happy that it all turned out the way it did. As Shehani would say: “Everything that happens, happens for good.”