What’s your job like?
I started at Carl Zeiss a couple of years ago as a continuous improvement engineer and was recently promoted to Process Engineering Manager. In this role, I oversee three teams that work on continuous improvement, data analysis and technical improvements. Our job is to improve efficiency in our plants, which make scanning electronic microscopes.
Our main purpose is to find technical solutions to day-to-day challenges and improve the quality and productivity of the manufacturing process. We work directly with the R&D team to make suggestions on what solutions could improve the manufacturing process. For example, next year, we’re going to be implementing new procedures and technology to improve the work experience for employees by making their jobs less repetitive.
How did you get into this career?
I got my Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering and two Masters of Science in Manufacturing Engineering. In my research, I found that efficiency improvements were what interested me the most. I enjoy mapping processes and finding opportunities to reduce waste in office or manufacturing processes.
What do you enjoy about working in manufacturing?
Manufacturing is really practical. You can actually see and feel what you’ve made and the value you’ve added to the customer.
My favourite part of my job is the problem solving. Even now that I’m a manager, I still enjoy the process of finding solutions to manufacturing challenges.
What challenges have you faced?
Of course there are still stereotypes about what an engineer looks like and that women aren’t assumed to be able to do practical, technical work. Some people have certain expectations from you as a woman, so you feel like you have to prove you can do that job.
However, I haven’t found this has been an obstacle to my career and progressing in my job.
What advice would you have for young women thinking about manufacturing as a career?
Focus on what you enjoy about engineering and make it your own. You don’t need to like certain things, like cars, or be manly to do engineering. Ultimately, engineering is about problem solving and manufacturing is about making something for the customer.
Young people should think about visiting local companies that offer tours of their factories to see what it’s really like to work in the industry. That way you can see if it’s the career for you.