Shikha Vaishwanar

My career in technology began around 2009 as a technical dispatch consultant responsible for ensuring the internet ports on the walls of university dormitory rooms were screwed in and functioning accurately.

Little did I know that 10 years down the line my career would develop into managing technology aspects of external audits of some of the largest global FTSE 100 organisations.

My journey to this point has not been conventional and listed below are some high and low points experienced along the way:

  • I moved to university in America at aged 18 after overcoming considerable societal pressure to follow my family’s footsteps and pursue a degree in medicine or engineering in India.
  • I took up one of the few available jobs for international student at a turbulent university call centre to help contribute towards my day to day costs at university.
  • Realising I had a passion for technology, I moved to an IT help desk role at the university which is where my technology career commenced. I grew in this role to assistant supervisor within a year which was reassurance that I was in the right domain.
  • I faced a period of racial stereotyping from a prominent university individual for being a South Asian person in technology support but at the same time saw how good the university was with helping me combat this and taking corrective action.
  • Realising I like the people/ business/front office side of things in addition to coding, I graduated with honours in accounting whilst minoring in computer science to combine my strengths. This helped me secure a job at PwC New York Metro in the Risk Assurance department working on technology audits for global pharmaceutical clients.
  • When all seemed well, I went through one of the most unstable periods in my life when I realised my chances to remain in the US were determined by the country’s immigration lottery process and not on merit. After losing my 20% chance of securing a work visa I relocated back to India within a month and tried to find a new job.
  • I utilised my skill set along with my strong PwC global network to obtain a job at PwC’s London office as a senior associate in data and controls auditing.
  • I regained some logistical stability after moving to London and grew in the firm to Senior Manager. I am now responsible for overseeing the group SOx audits of global clients primarily in the IT controls space including business automated controls, new system implementation, auditing emerging technology and data migration reviews.

The two things that have been a cornerstone in my journey are people and technology. I receive strong support from my family, partner and friends who I can always rely on even if it is across various time zones. This has also expanded to my global PwC network and support from work colleagues.

My technology journey has also developed over the years. From simply using a computer to learn about university programmes in America, I progressed to helping faculty and students troubleshoot hardware and software issues. Along the way I also developed apps for smartphones as part of university projects and landed a very fulfilling job understanding and auditing technology used by multinational corporations for issuance of their financial results. Although always living and appreciating the present, I am looking forward to the next adventure!