Becoming a Femgineer at Babbel and relocating to Germany
This interview is part of our blog series on Femgineers (female Engineers) at Babbel. In this installment, we talk to Pallavi Subramanya who started her journey with us just a few months ago, moving from India to Germany for her position.
What’s your name, where do you come from and what is your title at Babbel?
My name is Pallavi and I am from Bengaluru, India. I joined Babbel as a Backend Engineer in June 2019.
How did you get to Babbel?
I studied Computing Science at university and was always ambitious about going into Software Engineering. After starting my career in 2013 at an organization named Rails Girls Summer of Code , which offered a global fellowship program for women and non-binary coders, I knew that working in an inclusive environment was important to me. The fellowship gave me an official introduction to web development and served as a stepping stone to landing my first job at a start-up in Bengaluru, Bang The Table.
I moved on to Decision Resources Group, a healthcare research and data company, giving me experience and insights into a breadth of business types. I was blessed with a baby shortly after - and was lucky enough to take some time off from work to care for my child whilst planning my next career move - which is where we come to Babbel. What really appealed to me about the organization was that it is parent-friendly and offered a new challenge in my field of expertise. The flexible working hours, family room for kids and child care solutions have made my life so much easier - and the job isn’t bad either! The relocation process also didn’t impede me from moving to Germany. The company welcomes expats from all across the world to its HQ here in Berlin, and I am proud to be working with 750 people from over 50 different nationalities.
Tell us a little bit about your work at Babbel. What do you do exactly?
As a Backend Engineer at Babbel, I am responsible for coding and improving the server applications and databases that, when combined with front-end code, helps to create a functional, seamless experience for the end user. I also research industry trends, use new techniques to create and improve back-end processes and code, and work with other experts to design a better program overall.
To work at Babbel, you took a big step by moving to Berlin. How did the relocation take place?
Of course, relocating from India to Berlin seemed like a big challenge. Naturally, I had many questions: What’s next? How do I go about sorting my visa, travel, accommodation? Luckily, Babbel had answers to all of these questions and a relocation package was also included as part of my job offer. Babbel provided me with all the necessary information for the visa process and having the relocation funds upfront helped me to arrange short-term accommodation, as well as travel to Berlin. On the day after we arrived in the city, Babbel’s People and Organization team helped me with the somewhat complicated bureaucracy for newcomers in the city. They had booked an appointment at the local registration office, helped me translate necessary documents and even assisted with speaking to the German office clerks. They made everything super easy! I was registered on the same day and sorted everything from my Tax ID to health insurance. I started my job at Babbel with a warm welcome, learning about the company and its many different departments on my Welcome Day where I was treated to cool Babbel swag!
What do you like most about working in Berlin?
Living and working in Berlin has taught me the importance of work-life balance. People are productive and focused on their work during working hours - but once the day is over, it’s really over.
You are part of the Femgineers at Babbel. What do you think are the biggest obstacles facing women in the industry?
There is still a lack of role models in the industry, particularly when it comes to female Engineers in senior roles. Creating a more equal workplace means attracting more women to the industry, which is why we need more females in top positions to offer guidance and support to young talent.
For female Engineers with children, it can be natural to feel like you’re struggling alone, especially if you’re the only mother in the room. What has eased this feeling is Babbel’s flexible working hours and help with child care. Whilst increasing importance is being placed on such offerings in more and more organizations, the industry still needs to step up, notice the gap and take parenthood more fully into account.