Now in its ninth year, International Women in Engineering day (INWED), brought to you by The Women’s Engineering Society, is a time to recognize the outstanding achievements of women engineers throughout the world. INWED, celebrated on June 23 every year, is also an important opportunity to raise awareness around the need for more women in engineering roles. Although many strides have been made globally to improve the gender disparity in engineering, it continues to be a male-dominated profession. According to a recent report published by Engineering UK, women make up a mere 16.5% of engineering talent.
ThoughtSpot is committed to nurturing a company that is more diverse and inclusive. An effective way for us to get there is by providing Spotters with platforms and communities where they can express themselves and feel welcome. The ThoughtSpot Women’s Group (TWG) was created to encourage and support the women at ThoughtSpot to reach their full potential, both here and beyond. TWG helps open multiple opportunities and potential career paths that many women may not have considered before.
We need more women in engineering
This #INWED2022, I spoke with ThoughtSpot’s women engineers to understand first-hand about their experiences and the advice they have for young women who are considering a career in engineering.
“In school, I always enjoyed and took a keen interest in subjects where a concept could be applied. This was a major reason for pursuing a degree in engineering - the practical and application-oriented nature of the course. A common misunderstanding is that engineering is about numbers when in fact it isn’t. Math is something that scares many young girls away from engineering. Math is not evolutionary and it's a skill we have to work and develop, it cannot be easily visualized. It just requires diligence and practice. This is for all the young girls - when you cannot understand something you read or when someone teaches, the fault is not yours. Do not personalize it.Take it as a challenge, take more time to work on it and you will do extremely well.”
- Hema Magesh, Senior Director of Engineering, ThoughtSpot
“My dad helped expose me to engineering. I had never really considered it as a potential career path. But because my dad worked in tech, one day he took me to work to meet with engineers, product marketers, and product designers, and that was a window into possible career opportunities if I studied engineering. I started my career as a software developer. Now, I build and lead happy and successful teams in the data and analytics space and if I’ve learned one thing that I’d like to pass on to aspiring women in engineering, it’s that it is totally okay to fail. We as women often are scared of failing or not being perfect. In engineering, you have to be ok with failing! It's how you learn and this helps you get so much stronger as a person.”
- Gabi Sicher, Director, Professional Services, EMEA
“I was initially drawn to computer science and software engineering because of its relevance in such a wide variety of industries. I also really enjoyed the logical and problem-solving aspect of engineering. With software engineering, I knew that I could be part of creating a meaningful impact in basically any field out there. In college, through research, internships, and classes, I was able to experience computer science in a variety of contexts, from fluid mechanics to computer vision to data analysis and data science, which ultimately led me to ThoughtSpot! If you have any interest at all in engineering or computer science, regardless of how early or late, definitely go for it and further explore that interest. Take a class, read a paper, work on a project - there will always be so many cool things in engineering to learn about and work on.”
- Christine Yu, Software Engineer, ThoughtSpot
“In a world ruled by those who can dominate with data, society needs diversity of experience and talent so that we can all enjoy the most successful outcomes. Women are obviously half the population yet make up a small percentage of engineering talent. Across all STEM fields and physical and software engineering, such proportions mean that how we design and build simply cannot account for the distinct needs of half the population - nor take advantage of their skills. We need inventors and innovators who can #ImagineTheFuture from all angles.
As someone who began her career in tech assembling computers, administering a local area network, and coding reports on a mainframe, I’d like to see more women in tech overall, but also more in leadership positions deciding the future of tech for a better world.”
- Cindi Howson, Chief Data Strategy Officer, ThoughtSpot
“My dad and I worked on math problems together at home when I was young. I loved learning math and it was often my favorite class in school. When I was considering what major to choose in college, I told my dad I liked math and he suggested I look into engineering. Once I began taking engineering classes in college I found that I really enjoyed them, particularly problem solving and figuring out how things worked. This led me to continue pursuing my career in engineering.
My advice for young women looking to pursue a career in engineering is to take the time to really understand what you want in your career and in your life - what gives you joy and energy and gets you up in the morning. Fill your life with as much of those things as you can. Knowing what I enjoy about work has also helped me to make several career decisions when I wasn't very sure what the right move was. Stay open to what the future might hold, and don’t be afraid to take risks!”
- Kirsten Stark, Staff Engineer, ThoughtSpot
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