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Women In Tech: Uma Parakala, Senior Software Engineer

Uma Parakala is a Senior Member of Duetto’s Technical Staff. Normally based out of our San Francisco office, Parakala joined our R&D Team in March 2017.

She originally wanted to be a doctor, but we’re glad she didn’t and instead majored in Computer Science & Engineering. Medicine’s loss was certainly Duetto’s gain!

Always innovating, in 2020 Parakala organised a group of five female tech engineers from Duetto to take part in the Women Hack the Crisis Global All-Women Virtual Hackathon. Team Duetto won the hack with their Hotel Haven concept.

Further innovation saw her launch a podcast with two college friends called ‘Desi American Life’ (DAL).

Here we catch up with her to find out more about the podcast, the women that have influenced her and get her advice for young females today considering their career options.

Uma_ParakalaWho is the most influential female in your life?

I can’t pick one person. I would have to say both my grandmothers and my mother. Each of them progressed up to various levels of education but ultimately had to stop it to take care of family responsibilities. I draw so much strength from them and they inspired me to go to college and really focus on having a career. 

Which woman from history most resonates with you?

Honestly the first thing that came to mind were the women from the movie Hidden Figures! Specifically Dorothy Vaughan who self taught herself and her staff the programming language Fortran (like wow!), and not to mention she was the first African-American woman to receive a promotion to supervise staff at the West Computers center. The computer science and leadership aspect really inspired me! 

What did you want to be when you were a girl? And how did that change as you grew up?

I wanted to be a doctor because that is what I kept hearing from my parents, family, and society. Then I thought maybe I should pursue chemical engineering at university but I ended up majoring in Computer Science and Engineering because I was always curious about computers and the courses really interested me. 

What do you most love about your current role at Duetto?

I like working on customer-facing applications in addition to working with an amazing team here at Duetto. What is really interesting is bringing a new spin and upgrading the experience of revenue management with leading technology. I like that there is a lot of potential to disrupt and evolve hospitality software!

Beyond Duetto, what have you been doing in your spare time during COVID?

This COVID lockdown gave me some spare time to revive a podcast idea. I started co-hosting Desi American Life (DAL) with two of my college friends. It is a play on “This American Life” and the acronym DAL also stands for split pulses and legumes, which are commonly used in Indian comfort food (yes, we like puns). Our podcast navigates the journey of growing up and balancing mixed cultural identities of being Desi and American. 

We also tapped into our experiences and lessons from our current jobs. I have learned so much from Duetto in terms of agile development, project management, teamwork, and leadership. I try to translate what I have learned and observed into this podcasting side project. You end up actually learning and growing even more! 

What one piece of advice would you give to girls today considering their career options?

That your career is not set in stone! You have many opportunities to grow and evolve. Don’t be afraid to try new things to figure out where your strengths lie. Also, don’t let self doubt paralyze you, it is normal to feel afraid or nervous about doing something new or pursuing your career. Remember to believe in yourself, speak up, curb negative thoughts, and start advocating for yourself because no one can understand you and know you better than yourself. 

Want to join a team that sees talent not gender, and believes in rewarding on merit alone? Check out our Careers Page for our current openings.

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Sarah McCay Tams, Director of Marketing Communications

Sarah joined Duetto in 2015 as a contributing editor covering Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA). In 2017, she was promoted to Director of Content, EMEA, and in 2022 promoted to Director of Marketing Communications. An experienced B2B travel industry journalist, Sarah spent 14 years working in the Middle East, most notably as senior editor – hospitality for ITP Publishing Group in Dubai, where she headed up the editorial teams on Hotelier Middle East, Caterer Middle East and Arabian Travel News. Sarah is now based back in the UK.

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