After ten years of working in software development, quality engineering and program management, Deepti Bondali was no stranger to the tech world. She loved her work and, as many of her peers emphasized in glowing LinkedIn reviews, employers admired her diligence and collaborative spirit, too.
But after having her second child, Deepti decided to take a step back from her career to focus on family. This career break, paired with the beginning of the pandemic, provided a welcome opportunity for her to plan her next move thoughtfully. “It gave me time to reflect on my ambitions and how I could leverage my experience to get to where I wanted in my career,” she explained.
“That’s when I came across the Berkeley Technology Project Management Boot Camp. I looked up different courses that could help me jump back into the career space and land a job. Berkeley’s syllabus immediately stood out, so I signed up,” she said.
Juggling Multiple Balls at Once
When Deepti began the bootcamp in October of 2020, she was also preparing for interviews and taking care of her two kids. Nonetheless, she was up for the challenge.
“The expectation was set early on that this course wasn’t going to be a breeze. You have to put in the hours. I was fully prepared for that, having worked and knowing what it takes to complete tasks in the tech management space especially,” she explained.
Inspired by Family
As a full-time mom and professional preparing to reenter the workforce, Deepti could easily have been overwhelmed by everything on her plate. Instead, she was further motivated by her family.
“In the fall, my husband had to work in-person fifty percent of the time. We were both juggling a lot. I was applying for new roles, preparing for interviews, cooking meals and caring for my kids. I had a toddler at home and my daughter, who was doing remote learning,” she explained.
Deepti went above and beyond to prioritize her family, while still staying focused on her career goals. “Once everything was in order and the kids went to bed at night, that’s when I could sit down, start studying and complete my assignments” she said.
For Deepti, the support of her family amidst these challenges was essential. “Without the support of my family, especially my three-year-old son, nine-year-old daughter and husband, I couldn’t have done this.”
Her cohort was also supportive of these unique circumstances. “There were many times during class when my son would appear on camera to sit on my lap, and everyone would say ‘hi.’ They were so understanding that I am a mother, and I really appreciated that,” she said.
The compassion of her classmates, paired with their unique professional experiences, made for a diverse, collaborative environment.
“I really liked the group assignments that gave the entire cohort an opportunity to learn from each other’s expertise,” she explained. “We had a diverse student group hence different perspectives and approaches to the solution. Having worked in ecommerce, healthcare, business enterprise, and fintech, it was interesting to contribute and learn from students from different professional backgrounds,” Deepti shared.
Not only were Deepti’s classmates supportive, but so were her instructors. “For three out of the thirteen assignments I submitted, I needed a couple more hours beyond the set deadline. I tried to avoid this at all costs, but if it happened, they always understood,” she said.
With support from the bootcamp’s career services staff, Deepti soon found her hard work paying off.
“The career services staff provided me with incredibly helpful tips to polish my profile, land interviews and connect with recruiters,” she explained.
Among these opportunities to connect with recruiters was an event organized by career services, where students from multiple cohorts could present their work to the student body. “This was an exciting opportunity, considering talent acquisition and industry experts attended these events too,” she explained.
“When the boot camp ended, I was hired as a technical program manager for Meta.” In this role, Deepti applies her extensive experience in the field, as well as new skills from the bootcamp — while still prioritizing her full-time job as a mom.
A Word of Advice
“I’m sure many people can relate to me — mothers and fathers who have taken a career break and faced challenges coming back. No matter what your achievements or failures have been, there’s a little voice inside your head that makes you evaluate yourself and ask “‘Where are you going?’ Keep following that,” she said.
Ready to relaunch your career after taking a break? Consider the Berkeley Boot Camps in coding, UX/UI, cybersecurity, digital marketing, fintech or tech project management.