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Thinking of a career in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) field? The information we collected during interviews with four of Lam’s women engineers working in our Asia offices just might help you decide. In talking with them, we discovered why they chose engineering, how Lam has helped advance their professional goals, and what advice they have for young women considering a similar career path.
The women sharing their stories with us here launched their careers with Lam in the exciting area of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, which is part of the hardware technology industry. Chaitra at Lam Research India is a senior software manager. Fallon in our Singapore office and Catherine in South Korea are both field process engineers and help customers at their workplaces. Yukie at Lam Research Japan works with colleagues around the world in her role managing the logistics of a refurbishment program.
You may relate to some of the reasons these women became engineers, such as job opportunities, intellectual challenges, and connecting academic interests or aptitude with a profession.
“I chose a career in engineering because I didn’t fancy a deskbound or routine job,” said Fallon. “Engineering jobs tend to have very challenging environments and on a day-to-day basis, you have different problems to troubleshoot and think about. You’re constantly on the move and investigating, which is what really excites me about engineering.”
A couple of the women cited motivations for pursuing engineering that resonate with young people around the world – expectations during childhood. “In India, education and job security receive a lot of emphasis. Most kids, regardless of gender, are encouraged to be doctors or engineers,” said Chaitra. “Since I was inclined toward math and the non-biology aspect of science, engineering was one of the main options for me, and growing up, electronics and computers were quite intriguing.”
Yukie found inspiration in her education and sought to continue learning by exploring something new and different in her vocation. “I studied mathematics through college and graduate school in Japan, and I wanted to try a field outside mathematics, within science specifically. Also, I had a dream of working at a global company and communicating with people from other countries.”
While the four engineers we interviewed brought a diverse set of motivations for choosing Lam, they had one in common: a hiring manager who recognized their potential and helped launch their new careers.
Fallon chose Lam because it provided her with the opportunity to gain expertise in the semiconductor industry. “Working at Lam allows you to really understand the nitty gritty of each tool and how each component directly affects and impacts a process,” said Fallon. “You’re given much more exposure than at other companies and are expected to be extremely independent, which allows each individual to grow and learn fast.”
Catherine’s background had been in materials for mechanical engineering of equipment such as airplanes and boats. Lam was the first company to offer her a job in the semiconductor equipment industry. What drew her to Lam was how the company supports its employees. “I chose Lam Research to experience its special culture as a global company with a great benefits package, including training for new college graduates (NCGs),” said Catherine. “I think our training is so strong that any college student who learns about it will want to work here immediately after graduation. That NCG training led me to expect that Lam would focus on training and caring for our employees.”
Based on their experiences at Lam in Asia, these engineers offered some helpful advice to women considering similar careers in technology.
“Some of our pioneering scientists and inventors have been women,” Chaitra noted. “Passion and hard work always shine through. All it takes is for us to be a little more assertive and have a lot more self-confidence.”
“I’d advise any young Japanese woman considering a career in a STEM field to learn English,” Yukie said, based on her experience engaging with Lam employees around the world on a daily basis. “I’ve worked with people who are great engineers but whose limited English holds them back.”
Catherine advises, “If you’re thinking about a career in engineering, you should do it. Although it is a less common choice among women, which can add some challenges, it is well worth the effort. Engineering is a highly respected profession and an excellent option for women who want to do something special.”
At Lam, we value the contributions of our employees, especially recognizing the important role diversity plays in a global marketplace. With this in mind, we hope that the inspiring stories and advice of these four successful engineers will help encourage more women and others to study and work in STEM fields.
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