Diana discusses her journey through education, her career, and her experiences as a woman coming up in a male-dominated industry. In case you missed it, find out more about our diversity-building partnership with Condense, including a 12 week study programme and scholarship right here.
I’m Diana, I’m 24 years old and I’m Serbian but I grew up in Malta. I’ve been interested in science and technology from a young age, and this was especially highlighted when doing my Maths and Physics A-levels. I decided to do an Electrical and Electronics Engineering degree, due to its focus on mathematics, programming, innovation and that it opens doors to a wide range of industries.
After completing my degree, I studied a Masters in Engineering Maths, because of the unique combination of mathematical modelling and programming that it offered. I completed the Masters and then saw this opportunity at Condense.
I really enjoyed my undergraduate thesis which was heavily based on image analysis and computer vision - in particular the localisation of the iris and pupil centre in images, so when I saw the description of the computer vision team’s mission, I was instantly interested! My Junior Software Engineer role at Condense has provided me with the opportunity to improve my programming skills and deepen my understanding of state of the art computer algorithms, as well as familiarise myself with the tech industry.
A large part of my role is programming, implementing computer vision algorithms and using maths to solve complex tasks. My average week also includes meetings with my colleagues, line manager and our Chief Scientific Officer, as well as cross team meetings to work with people from different departments.
I feel really supported at Condense and there’s a big focus on individual development here. I work in an empowering environment and I feel like my voice is heard. Everyone is always respectful of new ideas and open to exploring different approaches to solving something. I have developed my technical skills, working with C++ and CUDA, and my knowledge of how the hardware and product works from start to finish. I feel like I’ve definitely grown as a person and improved my confidence and communication skills!
In terms of industry equality, I haven’t experienced discrimination in the workplace but looking back at my university days, I now notice that men are looked at differently to women in engineering and obvious that there are so few women. I remember always feeling nervous when it came to choosing groups for projects as I felt at a disadvantage. Various men were surprised that I wanted to do engineering because it’s “full of men” but that’s an outdated mentality which will hopefully decrease with an increase in women in engineering positions.
There are a number of reasons for a lack of women in engineering but I think, primarily, it’s due to the outdated stigma that it should be a male-dominated industry. From a young age, everyone should be encouraged to explore and learn things which interest them. More girls should be encouraged to take up STEM subjects in school, as engineering is definitely where we belong too. The more women that there are in engineering and science classes, the more will feel comfortable to join and pursue careers in these fields. This can lead to more women in positions of power which would inspire future generations of women to take up space in tech-based professions.
I would definitely like to stay in engineering - particularly software engineering. I read a statistic that said around 40% of women who have a qualification in engineering don’t end up pursuing a career in it. This is quite disheartening as it shows that people who are qualified don’t feel comfortable in the industry or something puts them off. This could be correlated to the fact that women aren’t equally represented in the industry - which highlights how important it is for more women to be encouraged into tech/engineering, and made to feel welcome and comfortable by the people already in these roles.
My message to women that may be interested in an engineering career is to apply regardless of your academic background or qualifications and don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel you fit all the criteria! It will be a great learning opportunity as you’ll get to work with state of the art tech and it’s really fun! The Condense team is really welcoming and everyone is there to help and make your time here as beneficial and exciting as possible. There is space for everyone who is passionate and interested in developing their technical skills.