Today, 23 June, is International Women in Engineering day, a chance to raise the profile of female engineers and highlight the different career opportunities open to women in the field.
Before we hear from some of the women who power Colt and our customers, Robin Farnan, our EVP of Operations & Engineering, has shared what the day means to him and to Colt.
Ambika Rajalabandi, Senior Technical Lead, Incident & Problem Management
As a child, I loved fixing things and I knew I wanted to do something different to others around me – that’s when I knew engineering would be the perfect career for me. I’ve went from fixing my toys to fixing the Colt network. I’m 15 years into my engineering journey and I still get a rush every time I find a solution.
I like interacting with customers to break down their challenges and deliver above and beyond. My career in engineering has given me multiple opportunities to learn new things and be creative in finding solutions That’s what I really enjoy.
Alina Kovalcsuk, Information Security Specialist
My journey into engineering started at school age, reading fiction books about programmers, coders and the world of security. I went to university to study Information Technology Security and that’s when the official journey began. My curiosity drives me, and it’swhat has taken me to where I am now. Currently, I am an Information Security Specialist within Network Operations. My role is to make sure our Colt networks are compliant with security best practices. I am also a volunteer at The Cyber Helpline, where we help victims of cybercrime, and a Trustee at yoga foundation with their information security being my main responsibility.
I admire so many women in the engineering world that it’s really hard to highlight just one. So many have had a big impact on our world, but I’d especially like to spotlight a group of women who were code breakers in Bletchley Park. Bletchley was a central site for British cryptanalysts during World War Two. It was vital to Allied victory and the place where the Enigma machine was decrypted. About 8,000 women worked in Bletchley Park and constituted roughly 75% of the workforce there. I highly recommend visiting the place if you have an opportunity.
My key advise to other women that are future engineers would be to learn something new about the subject every day and to network with peers. There are always people who are ready to help, there is always someone ahead in their career who has gone through the same challenges and can share their experience. Keep your mind open, be curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Shikha Malhotra, Consultant, Incident & Problem Management
My journey to where I am today has been rewarding. From my extensive 15 years of experience, the key thing I’ve learnt is to get comfortable with change. Stepping out of your comfort zone is the key to success.
I am part of the Governance & Compliance team, ensuring we are complaint to all industry standards and that our processes allow our Colties to succeed. My role gives me opportunity to connect with a diverse group of people, which I enjoy the most.
An engineer I admire is Pooja Lamba, a previous manager of mine at Colt. She has been a true source of inspiration to me and she taught me to never stop learning and gaining new skills, and not to shy away from taking risks. I’ve watched her grow from team leader to a senior leadership role in a leading organisation.
Alejandra Salmerón Ntutumu – Specialist, Advanced Technical Services Voice
I grew up in Spain and from African decent, and I first started working as a researcher at a university. All the way through my career I have felt underrepresented, being a black women in the tech industry has been exciting but I can also be lonely sometimes. Currently I’m working as an Advanced Technical Voice Specialist at Colt, and I run my own non-profit association to empower young black children using African stories.
To other women who are going to be future engineers, I say be the change you want to be. What makes you different can be your super power, and the world need the presence and representation of more women as future engineers. Together we can change the world!
Gagandeep Kaur Walia, Senior Engineer , Incident & Problem Management
My journey to being an engineer was full of mixed feelings;excitement and fear. I was excited to get start my career and put the theory to practice, but also scared of failing and worried about how I would adjust to my new environment. I knew if I worked hard, good things come. And they did. I settled in well, and I’m now part of the Infra Event Management team, where I monitor the Colt Core Network for Voice & IP.
Engineering is a creative profession where we need to think “outside of the box” to find the best solutions to complex problems that are always changing. To succeed I need to collaborate and communicate with customers, suppliers and fellow engineers. This creative thinking and working with other people is really rewarding. Each day we learn from our mistakes and keep moving to the next level. As Denis Waitley said, “The essence of life is finding something you really love and then making the daily experience worthwhile”.