Women in Networking – IP Engineer

Ela Iwańska

IP Engineer at Gamma Telecom

In our Women in Networking series we interview every week a women in the industry about their career. We spoke to Ela about how she got interested in a career in technology and networking, her daily activities at her current job and asked her what she would advice to other women in the networking industry.

How did you first get interested in a career in technology?

At school, I would say. Right around the time of final exams when we had to choose what we want to study at Uni I had a look around and one course specifically made sense to me – Electronics &Telecommunications. It was a calculated decision based on my general interest and what opportunities it would open in the future.

How did you end up getting into networking?

I tried a few different things: I had a go at programming, at electronics, at systems and networking and the two I enjoyed the most were systems and programming. My first role ever was a sysadmin role, but I am all about trying things out therefore I decided to focus on networking too – those two go together and for now I am sticking with networking.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The fact that I can see the outcomes straight away, that there is a clear goal and a clear way of getting there. I like how organised you need to be to do this job well. Working in IT is a commitment where one needs to resolve to continuously improve their skills and expand their knowledge and I think that kind of drive is helpful in other parts of life – being able to stick to it and persevere, prove to yourself that you can do it. Real confidence booster!

What is your role and what are your main daily activities?

As of now, my role is in the design realm where I will be taking customer requirements and transforming those into solutions that will ultimately produce the outcome the customer is looking for. In my role, I am required to be up to date with current technology, understand how it works, what the dependencies are, how different protocols etc. work to be able to advise and provide best suited design of a solution for a customer.

What accomplishments in your career you are most proud of and why?

I am still early in my career and I hope the best is still yet to come. There isn’t a single event I am proud of – I am just happy I get to do the job I like, working with amazing people on cutting edge technology. My goal is to try and get better at what I do and keep developing new skills, learning new technologies.

Based on your personal experience and in your opinion, what are 3 characteristics that will make you successful in the networking industry?

  • Motivation
  • Perseverance
  • Keeping a healthy work-life balance

 

Technology is a field mainly dominated by men, what steps should be taken to attract more women to tech?

I would say making young girls understand why it is dominated by men and that it doesn’t have to be. Historically girls were taught that certain careers are reserved for men for various reasons. We live in times where spreading such rhetoric is, thankfully, no longer acceptable. I believe the highest number of women is discouraged to pursue certain careers in their early age, therefore, workshops like Greenlight for Girls organised by different companies (e.g. Cisco, Akamai etc.) and imed at young girls are a going to, slowly but surely, change it and in a few years’ time the numbers will increase.

What do you perceive as being the biggest barrier for women entering the tech industry and what would be your message/advice to women trying to get into the field of networking?

I would say being undermined – even unconsciously. I did notice that sometimes, not always, women are assumed to not know the answer to a question, not considered for a project etc. That will start changing as soon as the numbers increase, I am sure of it.

But in general, whether you are a woman or a man – put yourself out there, go out of your comfort zone, push for it, be assertive and learn how to provide constructive feedback and how to receive it.

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