ALTEN’s Ebba On Podcast About Embedded Systems And Being A Woman In A Male-Dominated Industry
ALTEN’s Ebba Lindgren is featured in the latest episode of DataTjej’s Podcast about Embedded Systems and being a woman in a male-dominated industry. We got curious and had a chat with Ebba to hear a bit more about what the episode has to offer.
First of all – how did you get invited to participate?
— I met Gabriella, who hosts the podcast, at Women in Tech‘s conference earlier this year. I’ve not been a member of DataTjej before, but I’ve been active in Pepp during my studies and I’m familiar with their important work. We started chatting and she mentioned that she wanted to record an episode on Embedded. That’s it, really.
Ebba is currently on assignment at Tobii as a Developer and Scrum Master, where she works with Virtual Reality, more specifically with Eye-Tracking Technology. The work is evenly divided between developing and leading the team, which makes for a rewarding balance: being able to keep up with the technical detail discussions is important when streamlining the work for the whole group.
“If there are more women (in the industry), we can develop better products for everyone in the end.”
Without spoiling too much – can we have a little teaser on what you talk about in the episode?
— We had time to go through a lot of useful stuff! What the days as a developer look like, what’s around the corner and how we got to where we are. For example, I took a slightly different route to where I am today: I come from a Hardware Development background where I studied Mechanical Engineering first. Then I felt before my master’s that I wanted to be able to go both ways, which led me into Aerospace Engineering and a first job as a Developer in Signal Processing. I like being a bit in between Hardware and Software, to be able to squeeze and feel the bits we rely on while getting to program as well.
— Then, of course, there’s a lot of problematizing and discussing about what it’s like to be a woman in a male-dominated industry. I’m glad I was able to participate, since I want to contribute more because of the problems I see that need to be highlighted. It’s good to give visibility to the women who are already in the industry, but it’s just as important to inspire those who are not here today.
So, what’s it like to work in a male-dominated industry?
— It’s challenging sometimes to feel that you need to fight to earn respect. It almost makes you feel like you must “represent the whole sex” in many situations, which can lead to a bit of “Imposter Syndrome”. It was also very interesting to compare my experience with Åsa’s, who has worked for more than 20 years in the industry. To hear her thoughts on what has changed and what may not have moved forward as clearly was very rewarding.
The episode is available (only in Swedish) on Spotify, the Podcaster app and Google Podcast.
Daring to Move Forward Outside your Comfort Zone
What are the benefits of being involved in a network like the one DataTjej offers?
— It’s nice to have a confirmation that there are others with the same dilemmas as you. Many problems recur for people in the minority, in industries that were created for someone else. That sense of community is nice, that there’s someone going through the same things you do and that we can share experiences.
“I’m very proud to be at ALTEN, and specifically to be a woman at ALTEN. Our team works really well, we exchange ideas and learn a lot from each other. That’s how a good community should work!“
What is your biggest motivation?
— I love solving problems! I think all Engineers have that in common. In particular, I find it interesting to work on how we can solve problems together. We have to make use of our differences; we solve problems so much better when in heterogeneous groups. Previously, when I worked in the Defence Industry, I felt it was easy for us to get stuck in the old patterns, like ‘this is how we’ve always done it’. Today, we are five different nationalities in a group of eleven. There are more angles of approach, which makes us much better problem solvers.
— Ultimately, it’s about the user’s perspective. Things tend to be developed for the people who create the products, so the point of view and representation is important. That’s why we need to get more girls into the profession: If there are more women, we can develop better products for everyone in the end.
A rewarding part of consulting life is the opportunity for new knowledge. This is one of the most important aspects of being a consultant, but the new can also be daunting – though not for Ebba. She’s not afraid to seek out new ways to learn, leaving safe routines behind.
— Security is not where we grow. I’d rather do seven different things in one year than do the same thing for seven years. There has to be a balance, for example, before my current role, I had already worked as a Developer and Scrum Master, but not in that particular area. One foot in the security of previous experience and one foot in the challenging suits me best.
— I’m very proud to be at ALTEN, and specifically to be a woman at ALTEN. Our group works really well, we exchange ideas and learn a lot from each other. That’s how a good community should work!
DataTjej is a Swedish Nonprofit Organization that aims to encourage girls and non-binary of all ages who are interested in Data and IT.