E6 - Prakriti Kartauser at Vodafone11 July, 2023
On our 6th episode of our Women in Networking spin-off series, Maddy Norris was joined by Prakriti Karthauser. Prakriti is the Senior Platform Engineering Manager at Vodafone, with a long background in Networking, she’s now moved to working around the Cloud. Prakriti was also the TechWomen 100 winner in 2019 and is experienced in Finance, Managed Services and Consultancy.
Prakriti took a degree in English Literature and Modern Drama, so you’re probably wondering what drew her to the Networking space. She had a friend starting an ISP, she was offered a job and she figured she had nothing to lose so took it on and her career flew from there. She discovered she really enjoyed it and taught herself everything there was to know. She jumped through roles in customer service and realised she didn’t enjoy the customer-facing side so moved to the installation side.
Throughout her journey, she struggled massively with imposter syndrome. She had a literary background which gave her the upper hand and an advantage that not many other people had, which was being able to write. Her degree gave her the ability to think critically and write documentation that a lot of people in the industry couldn’t do. It also held her because she was too afraid to ask questions. She would come out of meetings and think I’m not sure what that was about. She still struggles with imposter syndrome now, where she finds herself in big meetings with huge brains and thinks, how do they know that?
In her second role after university, she was made redundant. She took time out to figure out what she wanted to do, and it was the first time since university that she was unemployed. She used this time wisely to study hard so that when it was time for interviews, she could go in there and smash it. She learned MPLS because at that time, everyone was looking for that in new hires and she eventually got the job she was after.
Not like many others, she doesn’t do certifications. She believes they trap you in a certain vendor. If the company pay for them, then go for it but she prefers and always has preferred self-study, it works better for her because she sees the trends in the industry, learns and feels like she knows what she’s talking about.
She moved to Cable and Wireless, which was one of the best career moves she made due to their progressive work culture. From that job, she realised that she could progress and that was when her journey truly started. After that position, she moved to a consultancy where she was able to travel, leading her to Australia. She came back from Australia to have her first child and took maternity leave which led to her being out of the industry for 6 years.
Being out of the industry for that long, she didn’t realise how much she had forgotten and needed to learn. A lot of companies weren’t giving her the chance, so she decided one day to just lock herself in her room for 3 months and study. She came back and worked for Nationwide in an Architect role, where it was a very soft skills-based interview, which was the first time that had ever happened to her. The job itself was a huge shock to the system but ultimately loved it.
Tech 100 Winner…
The Tech 100 Winner runs an annual award for the top 100 women in tech. She had the honour of being nominated in 2019 and the judges chose her as part of the top 100. They take a look at your work and achievements and choose based on what you’ve done… What an honour!
If she could go back and do anything differently, she would’ve asked to be in management a lot sooner. This is where the importance of having a mentor comes in. Prakriti feels if she had a mentor then they would’ve guided her into making bolder decisions. Now being a mentor herself, she suggests anybody out there gets a mentor or becomes a mentor because it’s the most rewarding role.
Prakriti delves a little more into the leadership program she’s done called Remarkable Women… Make sure you listen to hear all about it.