On International’s woman day, Ms. Piyali Goswami, Software Applications engineer, ADAS at TI India spoke to Vaishali Umredkar of Electronics Maker about women’s talent in technical field and how they can be great engineers and managers by bringing in different perspectives technically.
As far as I remember, I always wanted to be an engineer. My dad worked in space research and he had a big influence on me choosing this path. He would buy me electronic toys, and I was happy to pull them apart to figure out how they worked. Engineering is so much about getting under the skin of the problem. What I love most about this field is the opportunity to come up with practical solutions to real world problems. I am excited to come to work every day because I know what we do will make life better for millions of people.
In your opinion, why is it important that more women engineers join the workforce in the near future?
We need more women engineers simply because we are missing out on great talent otherwise. It’s like a significant part of the workforce, which is equally capable, equally smart, deciding to opt out. The reality is we need more good engineers and engineering managers, and women can be great engineers and managers by bringing in different perspectives technically and while building a team and collaborating. But if they don’t choose this path, how can they realise their potential? How can you win a game if you don’t even play?
What do you think is the biggest challenge/hurdle you think women face at the workplace? How can it be handled better?
Speaking from my own personal experience, I haven’t faced any additional challenges at work simply because I am a woman. I really enjoy working at TI because it doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman, a new college graduate (NCG) or experienced talent – all of us have the same opportunities and all our ideas are considered on the strength of their merit. I’ve seen so many NCGs come up with very creative solutions. I would encourage women to give this stream a chance – they will come to love it!
I have always believed technical leadership is a journey. My advice to both women and men who aspire to build a career in technology and aim to be technical leaders in their respective organizations is to start early. Look for opportunities where one can share ideas and their work with experts and peers. This would give an opportunity to articulate the problem and solution, start being recognized as an expert in your field and most importantly would give opportunities to reflect and improve upon your understanding and ideas. Seek opportunities where you can showcase your work beyond your organization –conferences, workshops, seminars are great places to connect and get inspired by other technical leaders in the industry and academia. Seek opportunities where you would be able to help grow technical talent with in your team or even beyond your team. As always, enjoy the journey rather than worry about the destination.
Do you think the technical role has a lot more opportunities than a conventional role of being a manager?
Each role – technical or managerial – comes with its own opportunities and both are equally important for a technology company. If you choose a technical career path, then your work is rooted in creating innovative solutions for challenging technical problems. You get the opportunity to work on diverse problems, and over time, the breadth and complexity of problems you’ve addressed, helps you build technical expertise and recognition in the industry as a “go to” person in that domain. It will be good to see more women ‘technology gurus’, and women should be aware that a technical career can be as exciting and rewarding as a managerial one.
What does it mean to be a technical leader?
Technical leadership at Texas Instruments is a peer reviewed process where other technical leaders in the organization elect an individual based on the impact of their technical contributions/innovations and the contributions to grow technical talent through mentorship. Being recognized as a technical leader is a great honour and responsibility to continue to spearhead innovative solutions, foster an environment where teams can showcase greater thought leadership to solve challenging problems and mentor the next generation of technical leaders.
If you believe technology can help find new and better ways to solve problems the world is facing, then this is the career for you! The industry (especially the semiconductor industry) is going through a critical phase as more everyday equipment are integrating greater electronic content with the aim of becoming smarter, safer and greener. There are many exciting and challenging problems yet to be solved in automotive, industrial, communications, enterprise and personal electronics. What are you waiting for? You might just be the next Hedy Lamarr, Ada Lovelace, Edith Clarke, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw or Indra Nooyi!
Piyali joined TI in 2010 after graduating B.Tech. She started as an Application Verification and Validation (AVV) engineer. Piyali then moved through multiple roles – Software developer, Silicon validation and AVV engineer etc. She currently works in the ADAS team, leading software development.