Super Seven #24 Shruti Kalkar
In our 24th Super Seven Series we profile Shruti Kalkar. Shruti worked with us during her Masters, then joined us as an intern and now as our Graduate Software Development Engineer.
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born and brought up in a small village in India called Erandol, famous for many historical events. I then moved to Pune for my higher education in Computer Engineering and worked in the software development field for two years, in a retail service company called Reflexis Systems. After this, I came to study for my Master’s degree in “Optoelectronics and Quantum Technologies” at the University of Bristol. This was the start of my journey with KETS; firstly completing my Master’s thesis in collaboration with them, then working as a Quantum Engineer Intern for three months and now working full time as Software Development Engineer.
Coming to the UK for my Master’s degree was my first experience outside my home country, and it took a while to get acquainted with the lifestyle here, be it wearing layer after layer of warm clothes or the 4 pm night routine!!! But after these initial adjustments and crossing the peak covid times, it has been a wonderful experience, meeting people from various countries and cultures, trying a variety of cuisines from different parts of the world, and exploring the vintage architectures preserved so neatly throughout the country.
2. What do you do in KETS?
I am a Software Development Engineer. My day-to-day work involves conducting thorough research on various aspects of the QKD, designing simulations that help the team in making decisions on hardware specifications of the system and writing software implementations of various procedures involved in designing these systems. My work also includes implementing / improving the involved algorithms by analysing their efficiencies and adapting them to work upon our current implementation of the QKD protocols.
3. What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
It has been such a joy to work at KETS, alongside people who have made me feel at home from the start of my time by being very approachable and friendly at all times. Their enthusiasm towards their respective specialities and the overall quantum technology is contagious.
What I specifically like about my job is the uniqueness of the topic, which makes it very challenging and exciting, even down to finding relevant literature to grasp the relevant concepts. From there, we can work on its implementations in real-time, be it through software simulations / implementations or working on the actual hardware.
Furthermore, my supervisors, Richard Collins and Francesco Raffaelli, allow me full flexibility in terms of exploring any topic to the desired depth – this enables me to take decisions throughout all stages of my work. This, coupled with their invaluable guidance and feedback, has made this role thoroughly enjoyable. It’s not often that you find somewhere that allows you to take this much ownership and responsibility in such an early stage of a career.
4. What inspires you?
I know it’s a very strange thing to say, but babies inspire me a lot. Their all-time-curious nature, positive attitude, happy faces, never-give-up approach, and stress-free way of living are especially very inspiring (included in this package is an extra perk of being cute at all times 😊). I always wonder how everyone is born like that but tend to lose their connection with the inner child with in them and I would love to inculcate these qualities back into my life.
5. What advice would you give someone wanting to get into a software development role?
Get ready to have a roller-coaster ride from the first day of your work. Everything you work on is very novel and challenging, a lot of stuff to learn on the go and there are few relevant resources / study materials available. Don’t worry, just trust yourself and go on, ask lots of questions, get your concepts clear, put forward your ideas, and in the end, it all works fine. I can vouch for this, as I was myself not from a physics background, and still worked my way into the quantum world. The Quantum field sounds very mysterious and weird in nature, but trust me, it is part of the charm of working in this field, and you’ll seen realise that it will become the most exciting part of your day to day work.
6. What do you do when you’re not in work?
I came to Bristol when Covid 19 was at its peak, so I was a little late in catching up to the exploration of the city, its food, and culture. Therefore, recently my favourite pastime has been to explore Bristol in its entirety, and so far, it has lived up to its billing of being one of the best cities to live in the UK.
I have been in love with sketching, painting, and making rangolis (intricate patterns made with coloured sand) since childhood and like doing them as well in my free time. I also enjoy making some creative stuff like handmade acrylic decor pieces, soft toys, etc. During pandemic times, I also developed a liking towards cooking new dishes especially, fusion dishes combining flavours from both the Indian and western cuisines and love visiting restaurants and places dedicated to the same.
7. Where’s your favourite place?
I love travelling and have visited beautiful places both in India and the UK. Areas that showcase nature at its finest, like Cornwall, Kerala, Rajasthan, North Wales, etc. But if asked for my favourite, I would pick Isle of Skye. The joy of finding a waterfall every few hundred metres, surrounded by the beautiful orange coloured grass all around is unparalleled. The sight of famous highland cows chewing through the meadows and the way every place has been named straight out of the legends (for e.g. the Fairy Pools, The Old Man of Storr, etc) adds to the grandeur of the place. Also, I was promised by the local residents that summers there are majestic and purple 😉, therefore, I would love to travel back again to the highlands next summer!!
To get in touch with Shruti, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org