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Today, 23rd June, is International Women in Engineering Day. This remarkable initiative, organised by Women’s Engineering Society (WES), now in its 10th year, showcases the incredible contributions of female engineers globally.
This year’s theme, #MakeSafetySeen, shines a spotlight on the under representation of women in engineering and emphasises the importance of raising awareness. Shockingly, latest figures from 2021 reveal that only 16.5% of UK women are working in engineering roles. At Automated Intelligence, we are passionately committed to inspiring and encouraging more young women and girls to pursue engineering careers.
We spoke to our COO, Pauline Timoney, Apprentice QA Engineer, Mia (Maria) Dunniece and Head of Customer Success Aislín Cathcart as they share their personal experiences and perspectives on the industry, offering valuable advice for young women considering a path in engineering.
COO, Pauline Timoney:
“International Women in Engineering Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the importance of encouraging young women and girls to explore engineering careers. Through the promotion of inclusivity and the creation of supportive environments, we can remove barriers and create a future where gender is not a limiting factor.
Over 12 years ago, I joined AI as the QA Manager, tasked with establishing the Quality Assurance function within the engineering team. Having previously worked alongside Simon, (AI’s CEO) in Meridio/Autonomy, I swiftly adapted to the culture Simon fostered at AI. This environment helped us to build an exceptional team of engineers focused on delivering high-quality solutions using cutting-edge technology.
Over time I discovered a passion for leadership with an emphasis on people, culture, and process improvement. Transitioning into an operations role, I applied my Agile/lean engineering background to streamlining business operations. It was a fantastic opportunity to apply engineering principles to business operations; from refining processes to enhancing customer interactions and driving down operational costs. My engineering background fuels creative problem-solving which often defaults to using technology as a solution. It’s true what they say, you can take the girl out of engineering, but the engineering mindset remains ingrained.
I’m proud of my Engineering background but it is also really important for young women and girls to witness their own potential reflected in various professional arenas, and particularly positions of leadership. I am confident that the next generation will encounter fewer obstacles and experience greater inclusivity.
Engineering offers endless opportunities brimming with possibilities for everyone. Within the world of software, there is such a variety of roles from Development, DevOps, QA, Automation, Support and Delivery and within each role, responsibilities can vary drastically across different companies. This industry presents a spectrum of exciting paths for anyone to explore, each offering plenty of opportunity to find the right role for an individual’s unique set of skills.
To young women and girls considering a career in engineering, I wholeheartedly urge you to go for it! Refuse to let preconceived notions or societal expectations stifle your potential. Engineering serves as a platform for innovation, problem-solving, and meaningful impact on the world. Embrace the opportunities, seek guidance from mentors, and carve out your own path.”
Maria (Mia) Dunniece, QA Apprentice Engineer:
“I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work as a QA Apprentice Engineer with Automated Intelligence for almost a year now, and I absolutely love it. When I joined Automated Intelligence, I had very little IT experience, but the company has been fantastic at providing training. It’s provided me the flexibility to work and gain my qualification at Belfast Met. The Software Engineering industry is growing fast, as well as the rise in apprenticeships, so there’s always plenty of scope for anyone to learn new skills and experience, and opens up a new world for anyone looking to switch careers.
Personally, I think that working from home has made Engineering more accessible for women – it certainly has for me. I was a stay-at-home mum, looking to get back to work, but not sure how I’d transition into full time work. Working from home has given me 2 1/2 hours every day that I would have lost in commuting alone, which translates to more time with my family. I would say to any woman who is technically inclined, that Engineering is a fantastic career path to get into, especially as we move into a more advanced technological future.”
Aislín Cathcart, Head of Customer Success:
I joined AI recently and have been overwhelmed by the supportive and innovative culture at the heart of the company. I started my career as a Technology Consultant for a Big 4 Firm and proceeded to advance my career in a SAAS Regulatory Technology company, working my way up from an analyst position to a Directorship in a wide range of roles. Now as the Head of Customer Success at AI, I can maintain a greater work-life balance, something which is genuinely and sincerely promoted here, whilst still furthering my career and skills development. There is an incredibly supportive SLT that encourages process improvement, automation, and technological enhancements to better serve our clients in the pursuit of both our service excellence and their user experience.
For any woman or girl considering a career in engineering, I would strongly advocate for this career path. There are countless opportunities, the industry is ever advancing, and if you are fortunate enough to work for a company as empathetic and appreciative as AI, then you will achieve the job satisfaction and career development that true hard work can manifest. Know your value and aim high!