“Life is learned one day at a time, because every corner that each of us turns, and every path we take, adds to the story of our lives,” says Geetika Tandon. “Our successes ultimately result from the small steps we took that we sometimes didn’t even realize.”
Tandon speaks from experience. This IEEE Member has followed a winding career path that took her from life as an architecture student in her native Delhi, India, through computer science studies in the United States, to ever-advancing corporate positions in the Washington, D.C. area. Currently, she is Director of Technology for CRSA, International, Inc., a provider of IT solutions and professional services for the federal government.
Her inspiring story is now the subject of the newest volume in the award-winning IEEE-USA Women in Engineering (WIE) e-book series. Reinventing Myself: Inspiration, Perspiration and Innovation, by Geetika Tandon, is the 17th work in the series.
Except for the first book, which is an overview of STEM occupations, each WIE volume is a personally written account of how a notable woman technologist became interested in technology, obtained her education, and developed a successful and satisfying career.
This year marks the fifth year of the landmark e-book series, praised by educators and women’s organizations, and honored with numerous publishing industry awards.
“Each author has a unique and inspiring story that will help to motivate the next generation of female technologists,” says Georgia Stelluto, IEEE-USA Publishing Manager, and Manager/Editor, IEEE-USA E-BOOKS. She adds that authors are selected for the practical, down-to-earth professional guidance they can share. “They represent a diverse cross-section of backgrounds,” she says, “and each has had distinctive, life-shaping experiences – so those experiences, and the lessons learned in each book — can apply to both men and women.”
For Geetika Tandon, realizing her attraction to mathematics was possibly the first element that influenced her eventual career path. “2 plus 2 is always 4,” she writes, “and everything has a solution. For me, math was simple, forthright and easy to understand.”
She says that she finds it difficult to relate to today’s teenagers “who are fascinated by everything ‘soft’ and who find science difficult.” She points out, “When you put in the effort, arriving at the single answer is easy. What’s so complicated about that?”
Although Tandon majored in architecture while studying for her undergraduate degree at Delhi University, it was not to her liking. “I never felt truly fulfilled,” she writes, “longing for the rigors of science, and my love of books.” After arriving at the University of Southern California for more study, she was encouraged to take a few courses in computer science — and found her true passion.
Upon completing her USC studies, and equipped with two Master’s degrees – in Architecture and Computer Science – she joined IBM, and moved to the Washington area. She worked for several different groups within IBM, and her drive to innovate eventually led her to an important professional milestone. Tandon senses that the work she and her colleagues were doing in creating new algorithms for use with voice servers was truly groundbreaking, She suggested – and was instrumental in – their obtaining an eventual United States patent, despite the rigors of the company’s patent process. Ultimately, this patent led her to new, career-building opportunities in IBM Software Sales.
After more than nine years with IBM, Tandon accepted an offer to become a consultant with Deloitte, and take part in the company’s work for the United States Department of Defense. “This new world inspired and motivated me as never before,” Tandon reflects, while also acknowledging the mentoring she received from a senior manager. Other assignments, with expanded responsibilities, included projects for the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Internal Revenue Service.
While with Deloitte, she realized the importance of encouraging other women’s technological aspirations through the firm’s then-embryonic Women in Technology group. Besides working with Deloitte peers, Tandon led a STEM program that targeted girls in local schools.
In mid-2015, Tandon’s career took another leap forward when she joined CRSA International. Besides continuing to build her professional achievements, she also is continuing her activities to encourage women and girls in STEM.
Women in Engineering—Book 17: Reinventing Myself: Inspiration, Perspiration, Innovation, by Geetika Tandon, is available at from the IEEE-USA shop at the IEEE member price of $7.99. Non-members can purchase the volume for $9.99 each.
Three more volumes in the IEEE-USA E-BOOKS’ Women in Engineering series will be published in 2018.
The four e-books published during 2017 were written by: Susan Delafuente, a Silicon Valley engineer; Monique J. Morrow, formerly Chief Technology Officer – Evangelist for Cisco Systems’ New Frontiers Development and Engineering; Rowena Track, Global Vice President of Digital, Channel and Partner Strategy and Marketing at Cigna Corporation; and Nathalie Gosset, a respected emerging technologies innovator.
The 16 previous volumes in the WIE series are also available at https://ieeeusa.org/shop and are also priced at $7.99 for members and $9.99 for non-IEEE members.
Helen Horwitz is an award-winning freelance writer who lives in Albuquerque, N.M. She was with IEEE from 1991 through 2011, the first nine as Staff Director, IEEE Corporate Communications.