ACM-W NA Profiles: Bishakha Upadhyaya

Bishakha is a Senior at Knox College, majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Neuroscience. She was the president of ACM-W chapter at Knox College for 2019-2020 school year and is involved in Nepali Women in Computing. After interning at Bank of America as a Global Technology intern in 2020, she looks forward to joining the bank as a full time employee.

How did you come to computing?

I had taken a couple of computing classes in high school. I really enjoyed them but never really saw it as a potential career interest because I didn’t know a lot of people in this field. I was planning to major in Neuroscience and minor in Computer Science when I came to college. After taking the Intro to programming class, I had gotten used to the thrill of building things. I knew I would never get bored of this. So I switched my major to Computer Science.

What are your most effective personal habits?

I think most of the things I have earned so far in my life [came] because I took the initiative to reach out, express my interests, and show my curiosity and drive to learn. So I think more than anything, I have learned to ask for the things I want. As well as take on the opportunities in front me. I have learned a new skill in every job regardless of whether or not it aligned strictly with my major.

What is the biggest obstacle you face right now?

Ever since things have gone online, I have found things in my schedule bleeding into each other because there are no physical boundaries or a set structure to my days. That’s why I have been timeboxing to give my days a structure and be more productive. It’s difficult because we have to stay inside most of the time. It feels like there’s a lot of time, when in reality there’s not as we need time to rest too.

What things is your university and your ACM-W chapter keep interaction going during Covid-19?

We have been doing virtual code along sessions, online workshops, and more Q&A with alumni about their experience and current jobs. In addition to that, we also communicate through newsletters filled with resources and group chats to keep the motivation going.

What are you most excited about right now?

I interned at Bank of America this summer and will be joining the bank as a full time employee next summer after graduation. I am excited about my new job and moving to a new city and beginning to live my life like I have always dreamt.

What advice would you give to a young student in computing?

This is an advice I heard from an alumni and have found to be true. When you look at the job requirements and it feels overwhelming and you feel like you can’t do it, still apply. Let THEM tell you that you’re not qualified yet, let THEM say no. Don’t assume and miss out on so many opportunities because you simply didn’t apply. Nobody is an expert starting out. Everybody has to learn over time so grab that opportunity and power through!