Jenny Burcio

Women in Tech Week Profile: Anusha Ragunathan

Jenny Burcio

It’s Women in Tech Week, and we want to take the opportunity to celebrate some of the amazing women who make a tremendous impact at Docker – this week, and every week – helping developers build modern apps.

Anusha Ragunathan is a Software Engineer at Docker. You can follow her on Twitter @AnushaRagunatha.

What is your job?

Software Engineer. I build systems, write and review code, test and analyze software. I’ve always worked on infrastructure software both at and before Docker. I participate in Moby and Kubernetes OSS projects. My current work is on persistent storage for Kubernetes workloads and integrating it with Docker’s Universal Control Plane. I also enjoy speaking at technical conferences and writing blogs about my work. 

How long have you worked at Docker?

 4 years and 1 month!

Is your current role one that you always intended on your career path? 

Yes, I’ve always been on this path. In my high school, we had the option to take biological sciences or Computer Sciences (CS). I chose CS and since then that has been my path. I earned both my bachelors’ and master’s degrees in CS.

What is your advice for someone entering the field?

If you love problem solving and enjoy learning a new system, building on top of it, observing it, reverse engineering it – if any of this excites you – give software engineering a shot.  It’s not just about writing code. It’s not just about learning new languages, frameworks and tools, it’s about having a holistic view of how things work together. Pursue a career in engineering if you have this inclination. And be brave! It can sound scary, but its not. It’s a set of machines that you need to understand. More you do it, the better you get at it.

Tell us about a favorite moment or memory at Docker or from your career? 

All the DockerCons! I get a huge high attending and watching the keynotes and announcements. 

My first year at Docker was also memorable. I didn’t come from an Open Source background. I have such fond memories of how welcoming everyone was at Docker. Arnaud Porterie, Solomon Hykes and many of the engineers who I still work with, Sebastiaan van Stijn, Tonis Tiigi, Tibor Vass, Michael Crosby were very welcoming and very eager to help – there was a great camaraderie.

What are you working on right now that you are excited about?

Kubernetes. It is a project that has a lot going on from both a community contribution as well as the feature set it carries every release. It’s a great project to be involved with, especially given its wide adoption. According to https://octoverse.github.com/projects.html, it’s in the top 10 OSS projects. It can be chaotic as well, but if you have a focus and a few specific projects to follow, it’s a great community to learn from and contribute to.

What do you do to get “unstuck” on a really difficult problem/design/bug?

Whether it’s a technical, team or business problem, the first thing I always tell myself or advise colleagues is simply “do not panic.” Then methodically, I try to see if any of my prior knowledge can be applied to this new problem and if I can connect the dots.

If that doesn’t work, then you try new things. If its a technical problem you can look things up, or try to understand the system more by focusing on observability, it’s very measurable, you just have to methodical.

If it is a team problem or a customer issue, I tend to communicate. You don’t need to over-communicate, but it’s always good to keep people in the loop. Offer a solution as part of your communication; don’t go into the conversation only with the problem. If you give your audience something to work with, then it’s much easier to work towards a solution.

Lastly, leave your ego aside. Ask for help and reciprocate when others ask help from you.

What is your superpower?

Authenticity.

What is your definition of success?

It’s not a traditional view of success. To me success is being able to contribute to something and feel good about it in the end – build something, get features working and seeing your work deployed, adopted and used by customers. To me, success is about working on something you think is significant and eventually sees the light of day.

What are you passionate about?

At work, distributed systems and all the nuts and bolts that go with it. I love automation, observability and debugging challenging problems – I get a kick out of that.

At home, my family. Spending time with both of my girls.

Icebreaker Round

When we interviewed Anusha, we also did a quick icebreaker round. Her answers were great so we’ve included them here!

Icons and graphics sourced from Lineal, Darius Dan and Smashicon on Flaticon.

We’ll feature profiles of some more of the amazing women who work at Docker throughout the week!