Intuit Again: Valli Vidhya Venkatesan on Returning to Work

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Intuit Again is an initiative that provides an opportunity for technologists to return to work after taking a break in their career for caregiving purposes. This platform not only gives candidates a chance to work at one of the “Best Companies to Work For” (#1 in India, #13 in the U.S.), but it also provides technical and other training to sharpen their professional skills.

We talked to Valli Vidhya Venkatesan (second from the left in the above photo), a software engineer who went through the program in Spring 2018, to learn about the highlights and challenges of going back to work.

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Intuit: Where did you work before you paused your career, and why did you pause your career and for how long?

VV: I worked at a Bay Area startup as a full-stack developer for web applications. I took a break for two years because I wanted to take time off with my newborn daughter.

Intuit: What were the biggest challenges you faced when you returned to work?

VV: For me, the biggest challenge was the personal lifestyle change. Getting my daughter used to my new schedule and adjusting to the commute was difficult. And emotionally, too – knowing that she would see less of me. On the technical side, I had prepared myself during the break for the technical role change by doing bootcamps and learning Android in depth. That prepared me well for my return on the technical front.

Intuit: How did you feel about your primary skills when you returned to work?

VV: When I started at Intuit, I was working on a technology stack that I had used in my previous job as well as during my break. So I was very happy that my Intuit role lent itself to my skillset and I could start working well from the beginning.

Intuit: What new skills did you develop after joining Intuit Again?

VV: Empathizing with the customer. I really love how Intuit empathizes with the customer and makes it a core value, and how that is reflected in my work. During my returnship we were exposed to user stories, and I was given tasks to solve for those customers. It was exciting to see such a huge customer base and see how my code was impacting those users. We have enough data to prioritize the work such that it reflects the most important customer problems.  

Intuit: How did people help you overcome challenges?

VV: We all had an assigned mentor and he or she was our go-to person for any questions. Both my mentor and manager were very approachable and helped me through the transition. Because they were so approachable, I knew I could ask them anything.

The lunches with executives were also a unique opportunity given to all the returnees. The executives would check in to see how we’re doing and ask about any problems we might be having. We met with our CTO and a few other women in high executive positions who had also taken a career break. They all have very inspirational stories. Not all employees are entitled to this special treatment, so I felt very lucky to be a part of the program.

Intuit: What are you working on now?

VV: I was initially on the Bulletproof experience team in QuickBooks Online as a full-stack developer. This team resolves defects and issues of all levels of complexity and customer impact to create a more robust product. Now, I am on the Android team in QuickBooks Self-Employed.

Intuit: How confident do you feel about going to work now?

VV: I’m very happy and confident in my skills and in the work I do.

What would you tell someone who’s thinking about applying for Intuit Again?

Intuit cares about you and is inclusive. Intuit Again is a great program for that reason. They will make sure your transition back to the workforce is very smooth, so just go for it. And my advice to anyone applying for the program is to stay in technology during your break if you can. Technology changes at a very fast pace and it’s important to stay in touch. If you haven’t been able to so far, you can still start any day!

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