Today is National STEM Day and we decided to use this day to amplify some of the brilliant technical minds at Rubrik. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics are fields that move our society forward with problem seeking, problem solving, and innovative thinking to help break through the mold of what we thought was possible. 

With that in mind, we talked with some of the most inventive thinkers and technologists here at Rubrik to learn what it’s like in their shoes.

Q: Why is it important for every child to have equal access to STEM education growing up?

A. “As our world goes through the ‘technology revolution' we are experiencing, it’s critical that all children are exposed to concepts and activities that stimulate interest in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics. Our children will become the next generation of people in the workforce. We want to provide all of them the opportunity to develop skills in these critical areas regardless of gender and economic standing.” – April Fallon, VP of Engineering Operations at Rubrik

Q: Was there ever a time you questioned pursuing a career in STEM? If so, what kept you going?

A. “There were many times I've questioned pursuing a career in STEM–usually when a problem's been too hard to crack early in my career or when colleagues have flat-out told me that I'm ‘not technical enough.’ While this demoralized me temporarily, I was always motivated by three things. 

First, the grit and resilience that my parents instilled in me. Second, our ability as humans to persist and never give up. Third, the sheer impact that women have made and continue to make in leadership and STEM. I also believe that most women are innately process-oriented which helps them excel at problem-solving, a skill key to STEM. It's time to expel self-doubt and take action, as action truly inspires confidence.” – Vinitha Varadarajan, Sr. Director, Information Security and Governance Risk and Compliance at Rubrik

Q: What is the most challenging engineering project that you’ve worked on?

A. “One of the most challenging problems I’ve worked on was swapping out Rubrik’s distributed database implementation. The initial choice for our “metadata store” was Cassandra, which proved somewhat challenging in corner cases that are inevitably hit when deployed at scale. The project involved evaluating various alternative architectures, rigorous stress, performance, and scale testing, and finally designing and executing a migration strategy.

While the project wasn’t the most code-intensive, though we did contribute and open source a timestamp oracle and built an implementation of copysets, the rigor, and discipline required to execute this project all while staying transparent to our customers and application developers was immense. Some of the most challenging problems are the ones you never see!” – Adam Gee, Engineering Fellow at Rubrik

Q: If you could give just one piece of advice to someone considering a career in STEM, what would it be?

A. “Pursuing a career in STEM will help you contribute to solving some of the most challenging problems in the world. Science and mathematics play a critical role in technological, medical, and environmental advancements. One of the most impactful courses I took in college was Environmental Biology - back in 1999! 

Fast forward to the present, my education in this area helped shape my climate change awareness and active participation in my community. Even children who have exposure to STEM concepts will grow into flexible and creative problem solvers. It doesn't matter what flavor or path you choose, our future depends on your education in STEM!” – Lily Macchi, Director, Information Technology at Rubrik

Q: What changes have you seen in the STEM field over the past decade that have most surprised you?

A. “Despite growing numbers of candidates graduating with STEM degrees and the prevalence of boot camps and other programs to bring more diverse talent into STEM post-college, it's still pretty common to hear hiring managers grumble about ‘pipeline problems’ impeding the ability to bring in diverse talent.

I believe that over the next decade, the companies that thrive will be the ones that truly embrace skill-based hiring and open their evaluation criteria more broadly to embrace the talent that perhaps doesn't have the same pedigrees as we are used to seeing. The talent crunch we are seeing in tech is easy to transcend if we commit to assessing talent from the lens of capability and invest in training on the job to reduce the ramp time of all new hires.” – Anneka Gupta, Chief Product Officer at Rubrik

Q: What is one major trend you've been following and how do you think it will shape the future of STEM?

A. “As students have navigated the pandemic, one thing they have had to become comfortable with is the use of technology as part of their classes. As the pandemic wanes and students get back into the classroom, we will probably see continued use of technology to augment classroom learning. The interactivity that can be built into the learning process, be it visualizing abstract math concepts or providing interactive content to make science facts easier to learn, I feel that technology will play a bigger part in STEM curriculums.

Using visual and interactive tools could make it easier for students to grasp difficult concepts. This may also allow easy interaction between students and teachers beyond the classroom, thus allowing students to clarify things while doing homework rather than having to wait till the next day to do so. While the fear of children being glued to their devices remains, using it for educational purposes as opposed to fighting their use may be a more pragmatic approach to ensuring that technology can play a constructive role in children’s education.” – Arvind Nithrakashyap, Co-Founder and CTO at Rubrik

Conclusion

We have countless brilliant technical minds here at Rubrik and we are always looking for ways to push the boundaries with our technology. Interested in joining this incredible team? See what positions are currently available and apply to join the Rubrik team today!