What do you do?
My job as a software engineer is to plan and implement software projects. This means communicating with other people and doing research to understand the scope of the project, the main goals, limitations, and the actors involved. A good part of the time goes into coding and testing those projects. The coding part combines understanding what others have done before you and designing elegant solutions on top of that. The testing involves making sure the code you wrote does what other people are expecting it to do.
Why did you choose this field?
It was a bit of luck for me if I'm being honest. When the time came to pick a university degree I was quite lost, I liked dozens of things and my grades were good in all of them which didn't narrowed it down.
But I knew I wanted a topic intellectually stimulating and a university with a great level. My brother was at university studying mathematics at the time and spoke very highly of his whole department, which included Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science and Astronomy. As I wanted a logical field, I liked maths, and I was impressed with the level of the department I decided to study there.
I was between the degree in Mathematics or the degree in Computer Science, but career opportunities seemed much better for computer scientists and I'm quite pragmatic so I chose that path. And I'm very happy I did!
I want to emphasise that neither I knew any programmers or computer scientists before I went to university nor I had written a single line of code, so if that is your situation and you're considering Computer Science I can tell you: just go for it, you'll make it work regardless.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
My career has given me the possibility to live in 4 different countries thanks to scholarships, internships, and jobs! My younger self, a little girl that was born in an agricultural and rural town in the depths of Argentina could only dream of a life like this.
Why do you love working in STEM?
I love that STEM is a blooming field, more in demand each day. I do look forward to a world where technology will be used to help us preserve our planet and ease people's lives so they can have quality time for themselves (not only the wealthiest but everyone).
Best advice for next generation?
I would just invite you to consider it.
There are countless messages flooding you from everywhere saying you don't belong in STEM, saying it would be more natural for you to do something else, saying this is a field for "geniuses" and genius always has a picture of a man next to it, etc. As studies are starting to show these messages affect how girls perceive their abilities as soon as the age of 6.
It's hard to fight against these omnipresent messages, but it starts with one step: just consider it. These are incredibly interesting fields, full of possibilities and the potential to make our planet and societies better. You could help us so much in this journey by joining!
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
Fun fact - during my Masters, I did an exchange in the USA and I had a student visa that only allowed me to work on campus. I applied to the Starbucks on campus for a waitress job and never got called. Having nothing to lose, I wrote to an emeritus professor I admired asking him if I could be of help. He wrote back offering me to be his research assistant! And to this day, he is not only one of the best computer scientists I've ever met, but also one of the kindest humans I've been lucky to meet.