June 2, 2009Her job: IT Business Consultant, HP
Describe what you do in your current work situation?
I perform research on new technologies, and elicit and manage requirements for consulting client organizations, mostly in the financial and telecommunications industries. It's a job in which I have to first understand the business problem, and then propose technology solutions to solve them.
Why did you choose engineering?
I was told that engineering school would teach me how to learn anything! Also, Math and Physics were my favorite disciplines in High School, and I like the combination of theory and practice that engineering offers, along with the fact that our profession revolves around problem solving.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
I attended the University of Brasilia, located in Brazil's capital and consistently ranked as one of the top 5 public universities in Brazil (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Brasilia). Later I specialized in external control (financial and computing audit), and got an MBA in IT Management.
What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
Activities typical of a researcher (studying technologies and proposing new solutions), and also of a business analyst working in the software development (data modeling, functional requirements analysis, process modeling, defining metrics and key performance indicators, etc.).
What do you like best about being an engineer?
The opportunity to interact with very talented people, both from the technical and business worlds. Being a problem solver allows you to work along with many people from different areas, and learn from these experiences.
Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
Having two books published in Brazil on the subject of IT management that have had several reprints and are adopted by several high education institutions: www.editoraatlas.com.br/Atlas/webapp/resultado_busca.aspx
Only a few books are selected for publishing by the same mainstream editor each year, and when my first one made the cut, it was the only one not written by a PhD professor.
What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
I can't say I had many challenges. I was lucky to have parents that cared about giving the best education to their children, and showing them the value of studying hard. This helped get me accepted by a prestigious engineering school funded by the Brazilian federal government, and opened many doors in my career.
Please tell us a little about your family.
I'm married to another Engineer (we met at school). He is an accomplished engineer who has won awards for solutions he created for telecommunications companies in Brazil, and is now finishing his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Pittsburgh: www.cs.pitt.edu/~apf75/
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
I tend not to make plans! I thought I would be an electronic engineer working on development of electronic devices all my life, but after 2 years working in this field, new challenges presented themselves and I became an information technology consultant. The only important short- and long-term goals I have are to keep learning about different aspects of work and life.
What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
My husband is my inspiration. Being "part of a team" means that you no longer think exclusively about yourself. For example, I love working and living in NYC, but my husband doesn't, so we are planning on relocating to a place were both can be happy while continuing to work on what we like to do for a living.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
Don't let negative remarks about your gender or abilities affect you. When I was in engineering school, I applied to an internship at an electrical power company and heard from a senior manager that it was not "the right field for a woman". I didn't give up, and had an amazing experience working as an intern for another department of the same company.
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
I play the piano (Brazilian tangos and Tom Jobim), and my favorite author is José Saramago, a Portuguese author.