Europe, Interviews

Victoria Navarro – Software Engineer at Siemens

People need multiple qualities for everything in life, but one of the most important, would be grid. The will of keep going, the determination of not giving up so easily, and the ability of learning from other mistakes but most importantly from our personal mistakes.

Victoria Navarro is a Software Engineer at Siemens, developing multiple IT solutions for trains, subways and trolleys around the world. She is also the Co-founder of The Mexican Professionals in Germany, a platform that offers a network and advocation for Mexicans. As an experienced professional, she has been participating in projects promoting and teaching technological and scientific knowledge to young people. Find out why is grid the most important thing to have in tech and how she got to where she is now.

In a nutshell, tell us a bit about your journey, and what role does technology plays in it?

I work as a software developer at Siemens Mobility GmbH, in the Software Factory Department. We develop multiple IT solutions for trains, subways and trolleys around the world, so technology is pretty much the basis of everything we deliver.

We work in an environment where technology has the biggest impact, while creating Applications and Systems to be used not only by the driver or the control system for the train, but also for the passengers. At the same time, having access to information and process data in real-time would just not be possible without technology.

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?

I still remember how overwhelming was for me as a kid to have access to all possible types of information on the web.

Through the years, surfing in the web was getting faster, people were craving for sharing and getting more information loaded in less time, and then the mobiles appeared (without forgetting the short life of the pagers, of course).

Mobiles introduced hardware improvements by providing the power of a computer into even smaller devices (something that actually took way longer, considering computers used to occupy full rooms regarding their sizes), but software improvements came a little bit later, providing even better user interfaces for multiple devices, or improving the loading times for web sites.

Hardware and software for mobile devices are, however, still an ongoing work, just like everything else in the Tech Industry, where everything has to work better, faster and processes have to be optimized to reduce delay times the clients could experience.

The growth of social media has had also a huge impact in everybody’s life for the past few years, as well as the evolution of online services that before would only be available by visiting a certain store or a certain person who was qualified to do customer service.

Nowadays, it is possible to control, organize and complete a big amount of tasks through technology, and that will probably increase in the following years.

I believe that the younger a kid is involved into the processes of learning and creating, the more fascinated will they be by all the possible things we can develop in the world.

Women in the field of technology are definitely a minority. How are you helping to attract more women to tech?

I try first to influence the members in my family by sharing opportunities in Tech areas, or by sharing DIY tech projects that kids might find interesting. I believe that the younger a kid is involved into the processes of learning and creating, the more fascinated will they be by all the possible things we can develop in the world.

During the past few years, I have been participating in multiple groups focused on promoting and teaching technological and scientific knowledge and projects to young people. And for the last three years, I have been a member of the global network of Mexicans around the world, where we promote the talents of all the Mexicans living abroad as well as help those who just emigrated so they could settle and develop professionally in their new host countries. This network involves as well a group dedicated to Mexican women.

There is, however, still a lot to improve in order to not only bring more women in tech areas, but also to impulse them so more women can occupy more management or higher positions in the work hierarchy.

What skills do you need for a career in tech (aside from the actual tech skills)?

People need multiple qualities for everything in life, but one of the most important, would be grid. The will of keep going, the determination of not giving up so easily, and the ability of learning from other mistakes but most importantly from our personal mistakes.

As Technology is constantly changing, I would say that an important skill for this area would be the will of learning something new everyday. If you enjoy fixing problems, optimizing solutions, and learning, then you are more than capable to work in tech and probably in many other areas.

By accepting our errors and learning from them, chances are we would find multiple solutions so we do not repeat them again.

Who are your tech influencers and why?

Honestly, I do not follow any influencer at the moment, but the question made me look for possible tech influencers that are quite renown at the moment, so I would say: @Estefannie, a software engineer based in Texas (from Estefannie Explains It All), because she is Mexican (like me), and because I just loved the video tutorials she creates on Youtube with all types of projects. Another very good influencer is Laura Medalia (@codergirl_), a software engineer based in NYC or Adrienne Tacke (@adriennetacke), a software engineer working in the Philippines. The last two share very good tips regarding jobs in tech, productivity and remote working.

What would be your message/advice to women trying to get into technology?

The process of learning always comes by hand with trials and error, which might feel overwhelming but you should not feel bad for failing. By accepting our errors and learning from them, chances are we would find multiple solutions so we do not repeat them again.

If you could host a dinner party with 3 influential people in tech, who would you invite and why?

I think I would like to sit next to Susan Wojcicki, and discuss how the evolving process of youtube has been working out since sixteen years ago, and what challenges she faced while working in a, back then, start up (Google).  Sheryl Sandberg would also be on my list, because I find very interesting on how making ideas profitable, specially from an economist point of view. Another person would be Marissa Mayer. All women have an impressive curriculum, but I somehow find the story from Mayer fascinating: from being, if not the first, one of the first women engineer in Google, achieving an executive director position in Yahoo and going through the selling of the company, sounds like a life full of anecdotes, experiences and learnings from which I definitely would love to hear.

Victoria Navarro is a Software Engineer at Siemens, developing multiple IT solutions for trains, subways and trolleys around the world. She is also the Co-founder of The Mexican Professionals in Germany, a platform that offers a network and advocation for Mexicans. As an experienced professional, she has been participating in projects promoting and teaching technological and scientific knowledge to young people. Find out why is grid the most important thing to have in tech and how she got to where she is now.

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