There was only one computer that boasted color in Reenu Saluja’s computer lab. It was always a race to see which classmate could get to the color computer first. It was in the early 90s, and computers were not popular in India where she grew up. But the explosion of technology was fast approaching, and Reenu was going to be a part of the revolution one way or another. Her passion for tech started there in that lab with the color computer. She was 13 years old.
Given the opportunity to tinker, Reenu programmed her first computer game. She built an airplane that could fly and land with a few clicks of a button and gave users the ability to change the background colors of the game. It brough her joy to code in color.
Reenu’s choice to pursue technology was counter to her extended family’s expectations but it did not stop her. With the support of her father, she continued with her unexpected career choice.
Once Reenu earned her master’s in engineering and computer sciences, she landed her first role at an insurance company amidst the 2008 financial crises. Her job gave her full access to dive deep into the organization’s technical design. From her vantage point she was able to step back, see problems, and swiftly make changes. This style of problem-solving network issues expanded her skills quickly landing a new role at Ericsson Media, as a solutions architect.
It was not long before Microsoft found her, but the connection was not instant for Reenu. After the initial call from a recruiter, she could not believe Microsoft was reaching out to her and thought the whole situation was a joke. Five months and a few job descriptions later, Reenu found her role with the Microsoft CSE team as a Senior Technology Evangelist.
Working closely with startups, Reenu had the opportunity to travel to conferences, meet new people, and find new ways to connect with customers. She notes most her customers already know what they want, but do not know how to get there. Once involved, she helps them see the various steps for transformation. They build a mind map together, defining all the problems. Once everything is transparent, she guides the developers, so they understand why they are taking certain steps and doing things in a particular way. This has a great impact with her customers.
Reenu’s favorite part of being on the CSE team is the constant evolution of technology. The ever-changing landscape keeps her on her toes, and when she feels there is more to learn, her managers encourage her to take time to upscale. There are no boundaries to what she can focus on or who she can connect with across teams. She is constantly inspired to continue expanding her knowledge of coding technologies. This gives her confidence to map new routes to solutions. And her pathways never look the same. Every project is a new beginning to an end.