March is Women’s History Month and ITS is celebrating by highlighting women and nonbinary Tar Heels in technology. All month long, ITS News will share profiles and Q&As to share the breadth and diversity of the Carolina women-in-tech experience. For the full list of profiles and to read some historical perspective, visit Celebrating Women’s History Month: Carolina women in IT.
About Manisha Mittal
Manisha Mittal has served as an instructional designer for UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Nursing for more than four years. She has a bachelor’s degree in French language and literature from the University of Mumbai, as well as three master’s degrees: a Master of Education in secondary education and teaching, a Master’s Diploma in teaching French as a foreign language and French pedagogy and a Master of Arts in French literature, linguistics and translation. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership at Appalachian State University.
Tell us about your role in IT and what that role means to you.
I am an instructional designer. An instructional designer offers educational perspectives and technology expertise to craft engaging learning experiences collaboratively with instructors, using the right tools. I love working from the lens of instruction and collaboration to find the right tool and design to meet the students where they are.
What excites you about the future of your field?
This field is evolving very rapidly. The pandemic catapulted us into new modalities of teaching and learning that continue to shift. How we learn and grow as a community has changed with the resources and tools available to us. This requires us to revisit the interactions amongst faculty and students, amongst students themselves as well as how students engage with the world around them. Artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, hybrid spaces, different models of online and hybrid learning … there is so much to explore here! I enjoy developing new processes and piloting new ideas.
Has your gender been a factor in your career trajectory, path or choices? How so?
I have encountered more women in education historically, but more men in IT. A quick search online suggests that 58% of instructional designers are women. However, this has not consciously influenced my career path.
Have you had a mentor in your career or someone else who made a difference for you?
I have been fortunate to have a few colleagues whom I consider mentors in my career. Collectively, they have been a source of support and guidance to help me make thoughtful decisions at key points in my career. They have also helped me navigate sticky situations. I am very grateful for each of them!
What would make it possible for more women to work and succeed in IT?
Learning more about the various roles and responsibilities that fall within IT and having more flexible work environments that help us to balance our personal and professional responsibilities can encourage women to engage in IT. It is important to have different perspectives, and gender is only one aspect of this. I would encourage women who are interested in careers in IT to do some independent reading and talk to friends and colleagues to inquire more about their roles and scope of work. It is easy to think that IT is only related to coding or security or servers, but it is a lot more than that!
Can you recommend any resources for women who are looking to start or advance their IT careers?
Would you like to share anything else?
There are many areas of focus and expertise in IT. This is a large and growing field. People in IT can have very different backgrounds, interests and skills. There is a growing need for more collaboration, and we welcome fresh ideas. It takes a village!