Next in our new series of conversations with friends of Cambridge Wireless, award-winning engineer Yue Wang shares her 2020 experience, including the new conference norm, winning the CW award, and the importance of 5G.
In my role at Samsung, we travel a lot and – in previous years – we've worked remotely where needed.
That could be calling in from home, meeting with other businesses or partners outside of the office, or liaising with different locations out of 'normal' hours, so 2020 hasn’t looked that different from a workplace point of view.
Video dial-ins and conference calls are something that we're relatively used to.
However, conferences and in-person meetings (if any) have been very different this year.
The sheer number of back-to-back video calls has meant zoom fatigue; they are, of course, slightly different to conference calls or in-person meetings. The audience engagement and reaction is so important in a presentation to be able to bounce off that in real time.
I've presented at several conferences this year and it is quite strange because you can't see the whole audience, you don't know the reactions to your presentation. Something we would get more used to over time, perhaps.
I was very pleased to have won the prestigious CW Technology & Engineering Award for Outstanding Woman Engineer of the Year. Even more pleased to have received great support from colleagues and friends, and to see CW, a well-respected organisation, create a positive impact on Women in Engineering.
It was a shame to not be physically at the awards event, as it would have been so nice to meet peers, and network with new people. I did like the conference break out area [at CWIC], where you could 'join a table' and have a quick chat with people. It was as close to the real thing as I’ve seen, virtually.
Over the past number of years working as a woman engineer, I have realised there are common workplace challenges for women engineers. Many can be brilliant at the technical work they do, but struggle to advance in their career, because what is required to move up, are often not encouraged by the gender-norm of being a woman - for example, often we can be too modest, "nice", and to some extent, too shy to be a leader.
This is why we need more women in engineering, even more so in senior management. Only when women engineers, as a group, feel that they are represented, their perspectives are understood, and they have role models to look up to, they can be more open to challenges in workplace and to thrive in the tech field.
Please help support female engineers in your team, your group, your company. I look forward to helping empower and promote more women in engineering - if it helps to break down some stigma and barriers, inspiring more women to get involved in engineering, I'm behind that.
I live on the outskirts of a town, so internet connectivity is usually OK. However, I am sure everyone reading this has experienced being cut off, and the challenges that come with that!
Pandemic has made lots of changes to our life, good or bad. In a way, it has certainly accelerated the acceptance of technology and boosted innovative ideas of using it - seeing how the school's technology has moved during the first few months of lockdown #1, shows how more accepting people are of technologies, not just shoving the iPad in front of the kids to keep them occupied!
As someone who works on 5G and AI in 5G, I truly believe that technology will help make life better. At Samsung, I am leading a team tackling some real challenges in the network. I am proud that my day-to-day work is creating business and societal value, and I’m really keen to see how the wider adoption of 5G connectivity impacts workplaces (remote or otherwise), healthcare and education - not just as a consumer, but also as someone who is taking part shaping it.
Connectivity will certainly gain importance in 2021, because of the pressing need for higher data rate, better connection, and the desire for more intelligence in everything. That's my 'one to watch'.
Yue Wang is Senior Technology Manager at Samsung Electronics.