Feb. 21 marked the beginning of National Engineers Week, calling attention to the important role that an engineer plays, and to attracting the next generation to the profession.
In order to celebrate the week, let’s hear directly from the lead engineer for mobile solutions at Axxess, Shradha Aiyer, whose work within the organization and in the community has had a significant impact on both.
Here’s her story:
Engineering is an industry of change. New technologies constantly force engineers to adapt and create methods to solve new challenges. I love to tell my story — how I got to where I am today, and how I see the industry evolving.
I was fortunate enough to be introduced to computer science at a young age. When I was 10 years old, my father, who also was a computer engineer, asked me to help him build a server. Until this point in my childhood, I had been frustrated with my lack of creativity, which seemed rather abundant in my family.
After several weeks building the server with my father, I quickly saw that engineering could be just as creative as painting or composing.
After several weeks building the server with my father, I quickly saw that engineering could be just as creative as painting or composing. I went on to learn HTML, and with the support of my father, continued to focus on science, technology, and math. Early on, I often was one of the only females in the classroom, but I’m glad to see that changing as I progress in my career.
A Reaffirming Experience
While I was at The University of Texas at Dallas, I had the opportunity to intern at Axxess. This was in 2013, and not only was I impressed with the work the company was doing, I was just as impressed by the diversity of my co-workers. It wasn’t like college, where I was the only female on my team, or one of the few born outside the United States.
I had always known that I wanted a career in engineering, but interning was an important step in determining what specific path within the profession I wanted to pursue. There are so many specialties within computer science, and I think it takes an internship to truly determine which is the best fit for you. Internships are even more important as new specialties are created every day, and the industry becomes more varied.
Within only a few weeks of my internship, I knew that I wanted to focus on building mobile solutions, and that Axxess was where I wanted to do it. It’s a company that nurtures talent, which is critical for interns and employees at the beginning of their careers. I had ownership of my projects, and I contributed directly to the long-term goals of the organization. I had a voice at Axxess. And the company embraced change.
The Next Generation of Diverse Engineers
Interning and then working at Axxess also showed me how important diversity in engineering is. Computer science is all about finding solutions, and I see that every day. When people from different backgrounds analyze problems, the solutions are often more creative thanks to their different perspectives. And while my co-workers represent more than 27 nations (in a company of almost 200), I am also lucky enough to work in an environment where there is diversity in gender.
I’m not sure I would have been afforded the same leadership opportunities at any other technology company, or even in another city.
I’m not sure I would have been afforded the same leadership opportunities at any other technology company, or even in another city. Dallas is a city that supports and cultivates its minority engineers. Because of my background in mobile development, I lead the team that created the home health care industry’s first device-agnostic mobile app — an achievement I’m very proud of. And every day, I continue leading the mobile team and learn new approaches from my colleagues. Our work is fun, challenging and fulfilling.
I’m also proud to play a role in showing the next generation how important diversity is, especially in technology. Participating in the Axxess mentorship programs gives me the chance to take young engineers under my wing. We work with young professionals and students from my alma mater University of Texas at Dallas, Kennedy-Curry Middle School, and the Dallas Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program. I love the opportunity to answer their questions about the industry, listen to their fresh perspectives, share my experiences, and expose students to potential careers in engineering. I hope to inspire more young people of all backgrounds, and especially women, to enter engineering, much like my dad did for me.
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