By Erica Salvalaggio
When you first meet Megha Sharma you might be shocked by the incredible amount of energy, passion and occasional sarcasm housed in such a small person.
Sharma is a third-year computer engineering student, as well as a software developer, VP finance for Ryerson’s Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), VP operations for Ryerson Electric and Computer Engineering Student Society (RECESS) and she’s minoring in economics. She manages this on top of her daily four hour commute to and from Brampton.
While she’s always been interested in computers and programming, she started university studying chemical engineering.
“When I was in high school I used to love programming [and] I loved computers. And I talked to a lot of mentors of mine who were also teachers, and I told them, ‘I really want to go into computer science.’ They were all women teachers and they were kind of like, ‘Ew, you want to go into a boys’ program?’ ”
“I’m pretty easily influenced,” Sharma said, recalling how she ended up at Ryerson. Her teachers convinced her that chemical engineering was a better choice than computer engineering and her parents forced to go to Ryerson since it was the closest school.
“In second year I learned a lot more about what chemical engineering is – and that’s just not what I wanted to do.”
After two years of watching her friends excel in their computer engineering programs, Sharma finally made the switch.
“And I’ve never looked back. I know I made the right choice.”
It was around that time that she started to get involved on campus. Balancing part-time jobs all throughout university, she began working at Ryerson’s Tri-Mentoring Program.
“I started working at Tri-Mentoring because it was a job and I needed the money, but everyone I met there was so encouraging. And from [there] I started getting more involved in school,” Sharma said.
Sharma left Tri-Mentoring in the summer of 2014 to join the DMZ (formerly Digital Media Zone). She started working in an administrative position and in her free time she was teaching herself to code via online tutorials. A few months into the job, Sharma was given the opportunity to shadow the DMZ’s development team.
She began building websites and apps and year later she told management that she wanted to make a switch from her administrative job to working with the development team.
“And they gave [me the position] with almost no experience.”
From there she was able to secure other positions with local startups. She now works as a software developer for Crowdbabble, a social media analytics company.
“Engineers are high level people. They design stuff, but they’re usually not the ones who implement. I want to move into project management. I want to be a software designer more so than a coder … I also love managing people and teams [and] I really want to work my way up to a chief technology officer.”
Even though Sharma’s resume is impressive, she struggles with prioritizing and finding balance between work, school and social life.
She doesn’t mind though, because spending her time around campus is what keeps her motivated and energized.
“At Ryerson you feel like you’re part of something.”