This year I got to do two amazing things at Juniper.
1) I mentored 8 young women who were interning at Juniper Networks and
2) I participated in the Grace Hopper conference
Truly amazing things because not only did I have the opportunity to surround myself with other technical women but I got to share my experience with the younger generation. These two experiences taught me a lot… more than I could ever imagine. It taught me that being in this field is a blessing and those joining it need to be warned. Honestly, doesn't every job no matter whether you are a man or a woman require an asterisk. Aren't there always secrets that one needs to know? For instance you need to enjoy the experiences and not take it personally, you need to surround yourself with an amazing network that is built with an array of people, you must not let fear stop you… ever. Be comfortable with uncomfortable.
These last two points are my most favorite. For instance, when I picked Electrical Engineering as a degree, it wasn't something that I inspired for when I was 17 years old. All I knew is that I loved music and my Dad told me that I had to be an engineer… and that's about it. Don't get me wrong, I did "enjoy" math and science but my Dad is the one that did not say "do what makes you happy"… my Dad said "do engineering and you can do anything you want". Without a doubt, this is the moment that changed everything. As much as this was not my first, second, third choice for a degree, it wasn't even my tenth… but it was the best!
Being a woman is wonderful and being in the IT field is even more wonderful because there are so many things we can achieve in life. The experiences are more than I could ever imagine (for instance I have slept in all but two states in the United States… all because I was an Electrical Engineer). I have been a technical support engineer, a systems engineer, a technical marketing engineer. I have worked at networking companies, a security company, a storage company, a virtualization company... and I am just beginning. I don't really "touch" Electrical Engineering anymore. My Dad always said that Engineering helps you think and I truly believe that (although my ex's say I should have been a lawyer). Don't be afraid because no one glorifies it on tv, movies, magazines. Don't question your future because there are not a large array of people telling you to do something. See the bigger picture for what it is worth and believe in yourself.