Never mind Silicon Valley — India has become a hotbed of talent for software engineers, and some of that talent is migrating to the U.S.
Aruna Anand is a case in point. As the chief of Continental AG’s North American engineering services, the 44-year-old Indian expatriate oversees a staff of 120 engineers.
Her unit helps customers design components and production lines for low-volume components and vehicle conversions. Her clientele includes a mix of automakers and suppliers.
After she emigrated to the U.S. in 1995, Anand got her master’s degree in computer science at Oakland University in suburban Detroit.
The auto industry did not loom large in her career plans, but Continental was expanding its North American operations and needed software expertise.
In 1997, the company hired Anand as an intern to develop software for Chrysler’s engine management systems, and she subsequently took a full-time job after she earned her degree.
“When I joined, I had no experience,” Anand said. “I needed my first break, and they gave me a chance. I had the right mentors, and they helped me to be successful.”
Anand rose through the ranks at Continental, and in 2013 her unit won an Automotive News PACE Award for designing an innovative tire pressure monitor.
Two years later, she was put in charge of Continental’s North American engineering services for the chassis and safety division.
She lives in suburban Detroit with her husband and family. To relax, she bikes and practices yoga, and she also mentors young women within Continental’.
Anand also has organized outreach programs for science and math in Detroit schools.
Despite software engineering’s reputation as a career for men, Anand believes gender barriers are breaking down. “There is less and less [bias] around,” she said. “If you work hard, you can show what you’re capable of, and the rest takes care of itself.”
— David Sedgwick