Lisa Anderson, Senior Project Engineer, Macdonald, Dettwiler, and Associates Ltd.
Lisa Anderson works for MDA Geospatial as a Senior Project Engineer. Read on to learn about Lisa’s path to software engineering and her thoughts on challenges in STEM.
When I was a kid, the father of one of my friends was an engineer with BC Rail. For the longest time I thought this meant he drove a train. He was in fact an electrical engineer and that was my first introduction to the concept of engineering as a profession. Engineering was never actively discouraged, but neither was it really discussed as a career option.
I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but a few years after leaving high school and working miscellaneous jobs I decided to try going back to school. It took me a while to get there because I’ve always been a lousy student and I had to re-take several high school courses to qualify. But, eventually, I was accepted into the computer systems program at a technology institute and two years of student loans later, my career as a software engineer started.
I’m not going to say there are no challenges for women in an engineering field. But I do believe that adapting to those challenges and learning from them just makes you better at what you’re doing. Going into an engineering profession will give you some amazing opportunities and you’ll meet some really fascinating people along the way.
Probably the most valuable thing I’ve learned is that you don’t need to be stuck in a specific role. Get started. Get your foot in the door and then make your career what you want it to be. I started in software engineering but have moved into different roles through the years. Some technical, some management, some involving a whole lot of dirt under the fingernails. Don’t believe that you can’t do something because you don’t fit the stereotype.
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