The Best Thing That Ever Happened: Choosing Engineering


imageWhen I consider what it is like to be a woman engineer, I find myself thinking of what my life would be like if I had chosen a different career. Would I have had all the incredible opportunities that engineering provides, such as financial independence, and career advancement and diversity? Engineers specialize in disciplines: civil, mechanical, chemical, and electrical. But regardless of the discipline, an engineer is taught to be a team leader, a technician, builder, and financier. Unfortunately, engineering is also a predominantly male profession with all the subsequent problems for a woman professional. If I had known at the beginning all the opportunities and difficulties, would I still have chosen engineering? It's hard to say, but I would never reconsider that choice now.

I made my career decision in high school, where the choice would determine much of my future. It seems incredible that I could make such an important decision at that age. I was young and wanted to conquer the world, but I didn't know how. All that was clear was that I needed a secondary education.

Initially, I felt that the four years required by the University would be unbearably long. It seemed that whatever could be accomplished by a four year degree could also be easily attained through a technical diploma. So I made plans to begin a two year program in drafting. I had always enjoyed creating technical drawings and felt that this would be a challenging career. At that time, those subjects that were to be the key to my future - physics, mathematics, and chemistry - seemed boring and useless. My high school drafting teacher intervened by suggesting that I work for a trial period in a local engineering firm as a drafts person. What I found out was that I hated the job after the first week.

Le meilleur choix de ma vie: devenir ingénieure


Kim est ingénieure principale dans une compagnie de pétrole et de gaz a Calgary (Alberta). Elle adore sa profession, et trouve qu'en tant qu'ingénieure elle se doit d'être aussi technicienne, constructrice, négociatrice, chef d'équipe et inventrice. Elle a choisi de faire des études d'ingénieur car elle pensait que ce serait excitant. Mais, elle s'est aussi butée à des difficultés car elle travaille dans un milieu à prédominance masculine.

À l'université elle s'est rendu compte que le travail en équipe était la meilleure façon de s'en sortir, vu le nombre d'étudiants par classe et le peu de femmes inscrites. Aujourd'hui quand elle se sent découragée elle se rassure en se disant qu'elle n'aurait pu faire de meilleur choix professionnel. Chaque jour apporte sa dose de défi et elle ne s'ennuie jamais. Elle estime que davantage de filles devraient se sentir attirer par toutes les possibilités qu'offre l'ingénierie et elle espère que les changements survenant dans sa profession rendront celle-ci plus hospitalière pour les femmes.

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