Ana Luisa Mendoza

Ana Luisa Mendoza

Systems Engineer
Northrop Grumman
Curtis Bay, MD, United States
Ana Luisa Mendoza
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Answers by Ana Luisa Mendoza

Thanks for sending the question Aneish.  I love being a system engineer mainly because I get to work on high level design and work on the conceptual make up of all the products we work on.  So in reality, the first thing you need to tell yourself Is that “you can do it”.  Believe deep inside of you that your are capable of doing anything you set your mind to and specially as a women, you have a tremendous skill (multitasking) which is one of our main strength.     
The skills that I consider you need as a system engineer are: Organization, Coordination, great communications skills as you are the main interface between teams, process oriented, thinking about the big picture, thinking about what is required for your system to meet all of its requirements, definitely thinking outside the box.  In most cases, thinking outside the box is the most important quality because you will need to think about solutions to problems in a totally different way.  Another key skill needed for this type of work environment is the ability to influence others since you will have to interface with customers with various personalities, being able to influence their decision making process to your advantage is very useful.  Influencing your team is also something that I have found very useful, especially as a woman.  
Let me know if you have any more questions or need to talk some more.


Maria, I can understand your concern and believe me, I have been in your shoes.  I got a C in the same exact class when I took it in my undergrad career as a Electrical Engineering major, and I am still very successful in my current career as a System Engineer.  Getting a C will not preclude you from doing well in your career because you can still come back from that situation.  Keep yourself with a positive attitude and think that you are investing in your future now and will be done with this in a few years. 

As far as Higher level education, I can tell you that in my opinion, I would actually go ahead and graduate and get a Job with a company that would pay for your Masters Degree.  Wait to gain some experience first and then time will determine what expertise you need to go and pursue.  This is what I did and I have no regrets.  I didn’t pay a penny for my masters degree in System Engineering.  

Ana Luisa

Haley, I myself am an electrical engineer and always had interest in other fields. One of my interests was always dancing and translating from different languages. I also knew that there were other careers that I wanted to explore, like engineering. I just never knew what type of engineering field I wanted to pursue. I did some research and figured out that either computer or electrical engineering were the fields for me. Definitely it sounds by what you are describing that engineering is something you should explore. The fact that you like math and are good in science is a good indicator that engineering is for you. The type of engineering good for you is something you have to explore based on your likes for the gadgets and things around you. For example, are you good with computers or do they even interest you? Do you like electronics and knowing how they work? If you answer yes to these two questions then you should think of either computer or electrical engineering or even computer science. Sometimes even If you are not curious of how things work, or if you don't want to take things apart, that doesn't determine whether you will be good at engineering. There are lots of engineering fields which don't require you to take things apart. If you like bridges and architectures and how they are built or how you can make them stronger, then you should consider architectural or civil engineering. If you like Chemistry and how to mix components, or are interested in how make-up is made, then you should consider chemical or industrial engineering. If you like biology there are lots of options for you in the engineering field, like bio-engineering and other fields related to this area. The best thing for you to do at this point is to do some research online about the different engineering fields available out there and you will see there are so many options for you to consider. I do advise you to look into engineering as a career. It is a rewarding career and also an investment in your future. Thanks Ana Luisa Ramirez

Ellie, Definitely a lot of people go through that same state of mind. Sometimes they wonder what it is that they are going to do once they enter college. A lot of people struggle with Math and Science and definitely if that is something that comes easy to you, then take advantage of it. You are fortunate to be in this position and I know a lot of people that I mentor who have a hard time understanding math and Science or sometimes one or the other. Engineering is definitely not easy but I will tell you this, nothing in life comes easy and you are going to have to sacrifice your time while in college because all of us do it and it pays off great rewards. While I was in college, I was working full time. First I worked at a bank as teller and then I worked in a real estate company. I was also taking a full load in school and volunteering a lot helping other people like you and encouraging them to enter the engineering field. Through my work, I have also met some high school students who maintain a perfect GPA and still have time to do sports and volunteer and even work. This is a very heavy load, but I have full confidence in you and know that you are going to do great and will be able to manage it. We need lots of engineers so that our technology doesnt paralyze and we have creative people making the world a better place for all of us. Dont hesitate to ask me any questions when in doubt. Thanks Ana Luisa Ramirez