In honour of International Women in Engineering Day 23rd June 2022, we asked some of our female engineers…
Mia, Heba and Cindy share their personal insights as female engineers, into what attracted them to this career path and what inspired them.
What I love about Engineering is the combination of technical problem-solving and creative design that engineering provides. For example, in BMS (building management systems). Taking a technical drawing and simplifying it for the user graphics gives creative freedom, while still having to make sure its accurate to real life. Engineering is also different every single day. It’s a cliché, but I can honestly say no two days have been the same since I started in this role. You are always encountering new problems, learning new ways to tackle them and implementing new improvements. And as a final bonus, because it’s a practical job I rarely have to wear uncomfortable office wear!
It’s hard to decide where to go after university, as up until then you’ve followed a pretty standard path. All I knew that I wanted to do something every day that I was passionate about and that benefitted the planet. You have to spend a lot of your adult life working, so I wanted to make sure I spent that time fighting one of my biggest anxieties: climate change. In addition, I’m quite a practical person and like to see the real world results of my work, I don’t like to be stuck behind a desk! Engineering allows me to achieve these goals every day.
Who inspired me, and why?…Is a question I get asked a lot. Honestly, engineering has been such an integral part of my day to day since I started studying and working in the industry, that I don’t really remember where it all started. A big help were my mum and teachers at school (in fact- my mum was my A level physics teacher!), who always instilled the belief in me that I could go anywhere and do anything, gender was never even mentioned.
Aside from that, I always saw myself as that person in the movie who could look at a schematic and instantly spot the way to fix the problem. Or take 3 random things I found and build something which saves the day. As unrealistic as I now realise that is, it still drives my excitement and curiosity in my work.
The best career advice I have received is to never ever pretend you know what someone is talking about when you don’t. It can be overwhelming when you join a new project or are new to an aspect of engineering. Especially in a company like Schneider Electric with such a diverse range of products and applications, you are almost always new to something. It can feel very slow and painful to ask questions and stop someone whenever you don’t understand – but it is definitely much less painful than spotting a problem too late because you didn’t fully understand it at the time.
I love the creativity and how new technology is driving the world. I like the idea of women being equal to men, especially in having the opportunity to be an engineer.
I have 2 older sisters, both are civil engineers. When I saw what they had achieved in their career. Witnessed the drawings and the calculations they were doing to build new bridges in Baghdad (Iraq) (where I grow up). It inspired me and made me think what women are capable to do and can achieve. Best advice I had was to move from my standard engineer job to think wider. Help other junior engineers to learn from my experience and use my best leadership skills. This led me to be Lead Systems Engineer.
As an engineer I feel like I can contribute positively to the society. For example in the work I do now, I provide smart metering solutions which help my customers in monitoring their energy usage and use their electricity in a more efficient way. This is very important to my customers especially now that we are facing rising energy bills and I am glad that I am able to deliver energy management solutions.
My uncle who is a civil engineer inspired me and introduced me to the world of engineering. His good work ethics combined with strong analytical and problem solving skills have allowed him to design and deliver major projects which have benefited the local community back home in Malaysia.
The best piece of advise I have ever received is to widen your work social circle and keep good contacts with people who can provide support. This is important especially when we are working in a large organisation like Schneider Electric. You never know who you will work with in the next five/ten years!
Any female engineers looking for your next opportunity? Or you are a student looking to kick start a career in Engineering…look no further!
Take a look at careers at Schneider Electric and apply to join the #SEGreatPeople team! www.se.com/careers
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