Women In Engineering – Swati Rana, Actemium Automation

Meet Swati Rana, Control Systems Engineer for Actemium Automation. Swati’s role involves programming the brain and eyes of machines used in factories to enable their automation for process control.

Can you share your journey and what inspired you to pursue a career in the engineering industry?

I have always been interested in science and have a curious mind. I ask a lot of questions and like to find answers to them, so I pursued a Bachelors in Electronics & Telecommunications and wanted to join a core field in Engineering. I got my first job in the industrial automation industry as a Graduate Automation Engineer & have progressed and enjoyed working in this field since.

What are some of the barriers you’ve faced, and how have you overcome them?

I would say doing sitework and commissioning, which is an important part of my job has been challenging as a female in my field. Not because of lack of skill, but for me it was changing people’s perspective to get them used to seeing a female engineer on site. There is an initial barrier of shock & worry on their face if they don’t know me, but it all falls in place when I start working with them and give them confidence. There are still instances where I am the only female software engineer on site, but I have got used to it over the years and enjoy the sitework.

How can we encourage more young girls to consider engineering as a career?

I think getting young girls who have an aptitude for problem solving involved in small hands on engineering workshops can be a great motivator. Igniting the engineering spark in them early on is very important. It will give them a flavor of what can be achieved and that engineering is a viable option for anyone who wants to make a difference regardless of gender. It is all about perseverance.

What changes would you like to see in the engineering industry to make it more inclusive for women?

I would like to see more women taking up more positions and more space in various sectors of the engineering industry. And for the industry to provide support to them across various stages of their career, to give them a sense of belonging and help in retaining them.

How has mentorship played a role in your professional development?

I have been lucky enough to have been mentored and supported by my former managers and colleagues who have taught me a lot of things I know today. I have always practiced the preaching – “there’s no silly question”. I try to learn a little from everyone I work with. I have recently been assigned a formal mentor from the VINCI Energies Elevate program and I’m excited to see where this will take me.

How has your business unit supported and empowered you to reach your full potential?

My BU has given me the opportunity to utilise my skills by putting me on some good, challenging projects and providing training to help improve my skillset. They have supported me both professionally and personally and I look forward to adding more value and advance my career with them.

VINCI Energies UK and RoI launched an all-female programme called Elevate, can you tell us about your experience on the program?

I appreciate VINCI Energies for organising the Elevate program. To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive at first on what I would gain out of it. But right from day one of attending it, I found myself getting so many useful insights, tools & techniques and shared experiences from the other wonderful women in the Elevate cohort who are thriving in the industry in their own way. I’m glad I was given a chance to be a part of it.

What advice would you give to women entering the engineering field today?

I would just like to tell them to be inquisitive and not to be afraid to find answers to difficult questions. Try and try again if you fail but don’t give up. It’s your field and you are meant to be here. Don’t let anything or anyone fade your light!