I am Pooja Shah, a software engineer at Intuit®, where I code and implement new features or improve existing features to solve the customer pain points in QuickBooks® Payroll. I enjoy developing software and helping peers in and across the teams with technical design and coding best practices.
Since birth, I have been hearing impaired in both ears with more than a 90% hearing loss. I received my bachelor’s degree in information technology from Mumbai, India, and worked in Tata Consultancy Services for two years before flying to the United States and earning my master’s degree in computer science from the Rochester Institute of Technology. After that, I joined PayPal for two years.
After working at PayPal and gaining some experience, I accepted an opportunity to work with Intuit. Similar to other companies, Intuit has its own unique work culture where they provide tools and resources to help people with special abilities succeed in professional careers.
Being hearing impaired at Intuit, here are three ways Intuit helped make my word accessible.
1. Solving communication speed bumps
As a full lip-reader, sometimes it is challenging during meetings when it comes to brainstorming and collaboration. Also, during COVID, when we have Zoom meetings, sometimes team members wouldn’t have their cameras on due to some personal reasons, making it hard for me to understand what they were talking about.
When it came to solving communication speed bumps, I experimented and explored different ways as advised by Intuit’s accessibility team. Ted Drake and Sarah Margolis-Greenbaum, as well as my manager, were always there to help me get my work done in a seamless way. They introduced several resources:
- Using Google slides live captioning where the information would translate speech to text.
- Talking to HR to provide accommodations for real-time captioners.
I have also used some other techniques to solve communication speed bumps:
- When I’m on Zoom meetings, we have a whiteboard option where I ask the team/other person to draw/write some things that would help make it easier to understand what the other person is trying to say.
- We use Slack as a chat/collaboration tool that helps me get clarification on what was communicated over during meetings. I would sometimes ask on group channels in Slack if I missed anything and my team would help fill in the gaps.
2. Never be afraid to ask for help
When I started at PayPal, I asked for help for what I needed to thrive. My first manager and accessibility team, along with HR, invested time to explore options and hire a real time captioner for me. Also, when it came to meetings, sometimes I would miss some words or some part of what was spoken. I didn’t hesitate to ask them to repeat.
At Intuit, I’m never afraid to ask for help. It’s an important part to successfully grow in my career.
3. Diversity, equity, and inclusion
After being at Intuit for 2+ years, I am amazed that the company always finds ways to improve and do their best to make the workplace accessible and a better place for people with disabilities.
Intuit is also a great place because it promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion. Intuit strives to treat diverse people with dignity and respect.
Thank you to everyone
I would like to thank Intuit and everyone who helped make my work easy and helped me grow in my career. I would also like to thank the accessibility team who always strive to understand different people’s problems and provide solutions.
Here’s a YouTube link on my story: The Unheard SUCCESS Story of Overcoming Challenges from India to USA
Editor’s note: Check out the Developer blog’s full library of articles related to accessibility.