It’s an exciting time for school girls to be interested in engineering careers, as there is currently a huge spotlight on this field as a career choice for women. While the career stats for women currently occupying roles in the engineering industry are very low (one in 20 – just 5.7%), this does open up huge potential for improvement, and a massive global campaign is underway to promote engineering careers as appealing to women – just Google the hashtag, “#ilooklikeanengineer”.
The idea that engineering is a man’s job is perpetuated by the patriarchal society we still live in today, however, with the help of organisations like WISE (promoting women in roles in science, technology and maths) and the Fawcett Society (promoting gender equality) in the UK, the focus is slowly changing. In South Africa and Africa, organisations like Women in Engineering (WomEng) have helped “to develop the next generation of engineering leaders in society” by “developing strong female engineering talent pipelines”.
Some of the most recognised women in the field of engineering include:
IBM’s CEO and Chairwoman – Ginni Rometty
With an early career start as a systems engineer at IBM, having graduated with in computer science and electrical engineering, Ginni Rometty may have a huge hand in the sales and marketing divisions of IBM, but her main focus is how technology influences lives. IBM is currently involved in a massive AI programme – “IBM Watson” – that Rometty says “will radically change healthcare”.
AMD’s CEO – Lisa Su
With a PhD in electrical engineering as well as being a fellow at the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers, Lisa Su has been praised for her work on semiconductor and chip making. She spent 13 years at IBM before joining AMD as Senior Vice President and General Manager in 2012. In just two years, she rose up the ranks to COO and then CEO.
VMWare Co-founder and Tech Entrepreneur – Diane Greene
With her legacy as “one of the smartest female tech founders ever”, Diane Greene has many accolades to her name. Not only did she co-found VMWare and sit as its CEO, but she has also invested in, advised, and been responsible for the successes of many tech start-ups. Since 2012, Diane Greene has sat on the Google Board of Directors, and she is currently working on a stealth start-up which, appropriately, no one on the outside knows much about.
Google’s VP of Engineering and Product Management – Jen Fitzpatrick
Jen Fitzpatrick recently took over the reins of Google Maps – this after having worked on a wide variety of Google’s products like AdWords, News, and on a large portion of Search in the long 16 years that she has worked at the search giant.
Apple’s VP of Hardware Engineering at Apple – Kate Bergeron
Not only has Kate Bergeron harnessed her skills as a mechanical engineer to work on Apple’s manufacturing process, but she has moved into design of mobile products and has also joined the prestigious Mac design team. At present, Bergeron is responsible for the building of new Apple products; but she also extends her engineering influence to include teaching at D-Lab at MIT, which involves the design of solutions to lift people out of poverty.
Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Research – Jeanette Wing
Having worked at the National Science Foundation and teaching Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, Jeannette Wing is now responsible for running Microsoft’s research laboratories, which run on an annual research and development budget of $10 billion.
NASA’s8 Program Manager at the Goddard Space Flight Center – Aprille Ericsson
Engineering careers extend far beyond IT engineering, and Aprille Ericsson is a highly celebrated aerospace engineer, starting as a systems engineer at NASA in 1989. Heralded as the first African American woman to receive a PhD in Engineering at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Ericsson is also working hard to get business and NASA to partner in the development of new technology.
If you are looking for a new career opportunity in the engineering industry, no matter if you are male or female, we can assist. Communicate Personnel is an Engineering recruitment company with consultants that specialize in civil engineering, structural engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering. Check out our vacancy page and apply today.