Senior software engineer embraces a fail and learn attitude
Support plays a crucial role in an employee’s development: support from leaders, managers, and teammates. For Reetika Jain, she understands that concept to be not just receiving support - but giving it as well.
Jain, lead software engineer at the India Technology Center, has come along way in her short career. And it shows. From the incredible support she received and her passion for learning, Jain has been an unstoppable force at Deere, going above and beyond to upskill her own abilities, and to support and encourage others to do the same.
“Support is so important for your development,” she said. “Being part of a supportive team really boosts your morale and confidence.”
She should know. At Jain’s previous employer, she felt unsupported by her manager and leadership, but her teammates made up for that.
“I was very disheartened at first because I didn’t really know what to do, but my team guided me and supported my learning,” she said. “They taught me to learn quickly and work hard.”
Jain also struggled with unclear job responsibilities and competing priorities.
“They did not practice an agile methodology there and we were doing anything and everything,” she explained. “I struggled without those clear expectations, but when I came to Deere, those roles and responsibilities were clearly defined, and I felt much better about my work.”
Beginning at Deere. Virtually.
After four years, Jain realized she wasn’t progressing like she wanted to, so she decided to join Deere, where her initial experience was somewhat of a challenge. In June of 2020, the pandemic was raging across the globe, and Jain was attempting to onboard her new opportunity at Deere – virtually.
“It was an unusual situation to begin my career at Deere virtually, but my team was so supportive,” she said. “Although I couldn’t meet them face-to-face, they still helped me learn quickly.”
That quick learning came in handy, because as a junior JAVA developer, Jain had to step up when a lot of the senior developers on her team were leaving. But the work still needed to be done.
“I was happy to step up,” she recalled. “As my team manages support queries from the customer, we are the first point of contact for employees who experience any defects or issues. I learned to connect with people who had more experience who could tell me what to look for or identify specific issues. Once I knew what to look for, I could solve problems independently.” It was that above and beyond challenge that set Jain apart and allowed her to become a leader on her team. And people noticed.
“Reetika gained an in-depth knowledge of the application and technology in a short span of time,” said her scrum master, Nitin Singh. “She is self-motivated and self-organized, taking full ownership and accountability of the work, and is a great support for the team without impacting her own commitment. She is a role model for new joiners which increases team engagement.”
As a role model, Jain is passionate about passing along the support she has received over her career. She jumps at the chance to connect with new team members and makes them feel included right away by having a casual conversation over coffee to offer her guidance and support.
“I make sure they know we are there for them and we realize they are not experts,” she said. “If people need help, I am there for them. And I realized they can do it, they just need a little support in the starting phase.”
Guidance, then experiment
When Jain talks about supporting her teammates, she considers two things. First, people need a little guidance of where to start, and if people can point you in the right direction, then two, you can do research and experiment on your own to develop a solution.
“I was skeptical at first, but I learned if you fail it is ok,” she explained. “That kind of support gives you the strength to experiment and implement. That is learning.”
Jain’s passion for learning stems from her upbringing in a small village in India, where there was only a school and no Internet, so studying became a core piece of her life.
“There was nothing else to do and it became easy to get good grades. Your parents are happy, and you are happy,” Jain said. “I like what I do, so when I have to learn something new, I don’t mind it.”
That passion for learning continues to challenge her, but she doesn’t want to stop. “I didn’t like coding when I first started, but now I like it. It took a lot of time, but once I was able to develop my coding skills, I realized how I can solve problems now,” she said. “Once you divide it into smaller pieces, it becomes less complex, and when you are done, it feels good that you solved a problem.”
“The one thing I know is that I want to keep learning - that I am sure about,” she said. “I don’t want to stay in one place. I like the problems we can solve, and I want to stay connected to technology, but I am not sure where that will lead me.”
More than likely, into a bright future.