An increasing number of women continue to enter STEM occupations, but a gender gap remains.
In 2022, according to the Society of Women Engineers, women held less than 27% of the jobs in computer and mathematical occupations.
Today (June 23) is International Women in Engineering Day. Cyderes celebrates our many female engineers who bring their talents, perspective, and experience to serve our clients and power our cybersecurity organization. To recognize the day, we asked a few of them about their experiences as a woman in Engineering and what advice they would give to girls and young women. We’d like to share their voices with you here.
What’s the biggest challenge of being a woman in Engineering?
Kayla Scott, Machine Learning Engineer/Data Scientist on the Threat Analytics Team
“I think the biggest challenge is that there are very few of us, and without numbers, it’s harder to make change. Change is still possible and there are strong, empowered women making the engineering community a better place every day.”
Lauren McGinnis, Security Engineer, Vulnerability Management on the Cyber Defense Team
“The intimidation factor. I entered the field at 17 as the only female on the team. It is fast-paced and I was absorbing so much information daily. It was exhausting but I found some awesome mentors who saw my potential and my abilities. They guided me to where I am in my career today.”
Tiffany See, Senior Analytics Engineer on the Managed Services Team
“Getting a seat at the table and communicating clearly! I have been in meetings where I was the only female in the room. When I know my stance on a subject makes a difference, I make sure I speak up and I am heard.”
Vagini Maruthaiyan, Analytics Engineer on the Data Analytics Team
“Finding the right mentor to ask questions, learn about their career path, and to give guidance when we feel lost in the work.”
What’s the best part of being a woman in Engineering?
Kayla Scott: “I love to solve puzzles and that is what I do all day. With engineering, every task, every day, every second you’re working on debugging, writing a model, writing a new algorithm, solving a math problem, you’re working to solve a puzzle. Each little solution that you come up with is a part of a bigger picture that can help a ton of people. Engineering empowers people to be innovative, creative, and bold, and that’s why I love it.”
Vagini Maruthaiyan: “You can voice your opinion which makes you feel heard and respected.”
Tiffany See: “The challenge. I’m never bored. I enjoy pushing myself to learn new technologies and skills. Engineering has many paths and ways to enhance your skillset.”
Lauren McGinnis: “The community. There’s something special about the engineering community. Everyone is so supportive. We all love solving problems and figuring out the most ideal workarounds. And finding other women in the field is the icing on the cake. It’s like a niche little community, a family.”
What is your advice to women/girls hoping to pursue a career in cyber/tech/engineering?
Aubrey Nilica, Telemetry Engineer on the Parsing Team
“Never let self-doubt get in the way. Women only make up about 20% of the workforce in this field, so it can be easy to question yourself. I faced this challenge throughout my schooling and in my career. But I reminded myself that I am here for a reason. Remember your past success and be confident in your skills. While this feeling might not go away, you cannot let it hold you back. Celebrate the small wins, be confident, and NEVER stop learning.”
Kayla Scott: “Listen to yourself. A hundred people will tell you that engineering is not the right field for you before you even make it out of undergrad. Go for it, don’t look back, and blow them all away with your inventions. Stay curious. Continue to go down paths that others have counted out or haven’t even thought of. Ask the tough questions, and continue learning throughout your career, being naturally inquisitive. Lastly, math is super important. If you understand math on both the theoretical and technical level, you can then apply it into everyday solutions that make other people’s lives easier. Be bold, be different, and let your mind wander and lead you down the rabbit holes that others haven’t.”
Lauren McGinnis: “Just jump in! It doesn’t matter where. Just try something. You’re young–use this time to experiment. If you don’t like something, try the next thing. You can pivot out of pretty much any position in this field, you have so many opportunities to learn. Just go for it!”
A Day in the Life of A Female Engineer
See “A Day in the Life” of a woman engineer as Kayla Scott takes you along for a part of her day working in her remote office.