Sometimes, it seems as though tech workers have been placed on pedestals. How do you get to know the people behind the tech?
In the current climate, tech workers can seem so celebrated that it’s hard to see them as real-life people with backgrounds and opinions. Obviously, that’s not the case.
Here, Aine Munroe, a process engineer at Intel, talks us through her career path and the variety that comes with working in the STEM community.
What drew you to this career area?
I had completed an internship in Intel while doing my undergraduate and enjoyed it so much I came back. I always enjoyed maths and chemistry, and working in Intel as a process engineer is a daily mix of both!
What’s the best thing about working in this area?
Every day, I get to work on cutting-edge technology. There are lots of opportunities to solve complex problems and make improvements.
What’s the most exciting development you’ve witnessed in your sector since you started working in it?
Moving from 65-nanometre (nm) manufacturing to 14nm manufacturing at the Intel Ireland site has been very exciting.
What aspect of your job did you struggle to get to grips with?
Working in a 24/7 manufacturing environment means I work with four different shifts. It took me a while to get to know all the shifts in my area, but I attended the shift-to-shift pass-downs in the fab [plant] and gradually got to know everyone!
What’s been the hardest thing you’ve had to face in your career?
I had to relocate to Arizona as part of the technology transfer of 14nm technology. It was like starting a new job all over again, but getting involved with the new group from day one really helped integration into the Arizona site and it was a great experience.
If you had the power to change anything within the STEM sector, what would that be?
I would like to see more secondary school students considering a career in STEM.
Which of your personality traits makes you best suited to your job and this sector?
I like solving problems and that helps.
Is there something in your personal life that helps you/has helped you in your job?
I really enjoy baking, which is a science in itself. Baking is its own process, which I use a lot to compare to some of the processing we do in Intel.
Need to bake your cake faster? How would you do that? You are cleaning up post-baking. Is it harder if you leave the bowls hanging around for hours? Why?
How do you make connections with others in the STEM community?
With so many people working onsite in Intel Ireland, I get to work with lots of people from different STEM backgrounds daily. In the morning, you might be working with a statistician on a technical paper. After lunch, it might be an environmental engineer about chemical waste.
Has mentorship or coaching been important in your career?
Yes, mentorship is an important part of my career. I have a mentor and I also mentor new engineers and a college student.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career in your area?
Go for it!