Girls in ICT: Tania’s journey in STEM
Having commenced a role on the AVEVA graduate scheme in January 2019, I’m now well into my third rotation in the company as a Technical Graduate. What has been so impactful for me is the flexibility AVEVA has given me in terms of my personal development and training. I’ve had the opportunity to rotate around the business and pick the departments I want to explore further, and I’m learning so much on the job including programming. However, throughout my experiences to date, I have realized the importance of female role models in the STEM sector and how much they have influenced my own journey.
What has been so great about the STEM sector is the flexibility it offers. At university I completed a year in industry placement at a company in Bristol which focused on composites and materials in manufacturing R&D. Yet while undertaking this placement I soon realized that I needed versatility in my own knowledge to benefit from the flexibility offered by a career in engineering. For example, my work in Bristol made me consider that I needed some sort of programming knowledge to bring an added depth to the work and insights I was delivering for clients. Luckily for me, commencing the graduate programme at AVEVA has given me the chance to learn programming from scratch.
My own experiences in the STEM sector to date have proven the importance of having and celebrating female role models in the industry. A few years ago, I attended an event where I met an industry spokeswoman and she was incredibly strong and her dedication for change struck me. She spoke honestly about her experiences, the flexibility of a career in STEM and her wealth of experience, and I soon found myself following her on LinkedIn. Soon enough, after seeing an advertisement about AVEVA’s Technical Graduate Scheme, her praise for the sector encouraged me to take the leap and apply.
So much is now being done by organizations to increase the number of women in the STEM sector and it is promising to see. To an extent, I count myself as a part of this revolution and I certainly praise AVEVA’s extensive work on the issue – encountering a female spokesperson at that event certainly sparked my own interest. However, now as a woman in STEM, my personal journey has in fact unveiled two possible challenges that women must overcome when embarking on such a career. Not only has the lack of role female models naturally discouraged women, but for some, there are other challenges to be faced including the personal attitudes of friends and family.
My own journey made me work on the perception I had of myself. When deciding to embark on a career in engineering I certainly suffered from Imposter Syndrome as a woman wanting to enter a male-dominated field. Was it for me? Was I the right person for the job? Coming from an Asian family, I also had to hear such doubts come from my loved ones. As the first female in my family to go to university, my relatives couldn’t understand why I was sacrificing immediate marriage for a career in engineering. For this reason, I believe that part of encouraging more women into STEM is giving them the confidence to approach these difficult conversations as well as tools and knowledge they can use to help educate family.
Even so early on in my career, I’m already aware of the ways in which I can encourage more women into the sector. STEM is an engaging, innovative and flexible career and I have certainly become more aware of my role as a woman in engineering. Celebrations such as International Women’s Day are highlighting the importance of placing women at the forefront and are offering a platform to be totally transparent about their experiences. I’m looking forward to helping drive awareness and I’m pleased to be able to do so in partnership with AVEVA.
Tania Mahmood is a Technical Graduate at AVEVA.