Since I was a kid I spent a lot of time surrounded by technology – I believe I got my first computer when I was 7. That was also the time Internet became much more accessible – so as it grew – so did I, learning to program small web pages, chatting online with people from around the world or even playing online games. I always knew I would end up in some kind of a technical job – which is why I studied electronics and later on wrote both my engineering and master theses on acoustics.
What was your first job?
My first engineering job was for an automotive supplier – I designed and validated automotive mufflers for their acoustic performance.
Were you the only woman on the team? What was that like?
I was indeed the only woman on the team and so far it stayed like this. Studying at a technical university, this was not new to me. My colleagues were very helpful and eager to share the knowledge.
How has your career evolved over the years?
After a few years as an acoustic project engineer I’ve decided it was time to try something new. I knew that besides engineering aspect of the job I enjoy managing projects and in general working with people – moving to product management seemed like a very good way to combine the technical, people and management skills.
Do you think being a woman helped or hurt your career?
I would like to think it didn’t play a significant role in how my career evolved so far. I’ve had unpleasant situations happen to me because of it, but perhaps this in the end makes me a better person and as such a better product manager.
Have you seen things change in the world of engineering in regards to gender equality?
I see more women joining technical universities – which is of course fantastic. I participated in one of those Women in Technology conferences a few years ago: that was a bizarre experience. For the first time in my life, I was in a room with over 500 women and all of us had technical backgrounds. A complete opposite to all the technical conferences and events that I usually attend.
What type of advice would you give young women looking to enter engineering?
Ignore people that want to bring you down and continue doing what you’re best at.
Would you advise your daughter to follow in your footsteps? Why or why not?
Definitely, but maybe I would advise her to learn at least 1 programming language regardless of the direction she chooses.
How far do we have to go to achieve gender equality as a whole?
Many great activities are already taking place right now – programming schools for children and awareness of the impact gender specific commercials/toys have on children makes me believe we’re on the right track.