This year marks Yet Foon’s twentieth year in Intel. As a young computer engineering graduate from University Teknologi Malaysia, she joined the company as a junior engineer. She was introduced to the field of silicon engineering, with projects largely revolving around chipsets. From there, she journeyed from verification to design before progressing into management and leadership roles. Today, she is the Engineering Director of Hardware Design.
Making it all work
Yet Foon leads a team of engineers that are constantly creating, innovating, and improving what she considers the heart and soul of a PC, i.e. the Chipset.
“If you say the CPU is the brain of a computer, I would say the Chipset is the personality of the system. It defines and controls all the user interfaces from the audio to the display. With just the brain, it wouldn’t work—you need all the personalities to come together as a system,” she explains with a grin.
Her daily responsibilities are split between the technical and managerial: brainstorming solutions, developing products, removing roadblocks for her engineers, while also enabling individual career and skill advancements. It’s always: how are we adding value? There are often technical limitations to tackle, and Yet Foon emphasizes the importance of an environment that allows different ideas and perspectives to be expressed and perhaps lead to magic.
Reflecting on her team’s successes, she says she’s often surprised by her engineers’ ingenuity. “They always come up with creative ideas that often surpass expectations.”
And, as she knows from experience, for young engineers just launching their career: “Intel’s a great place to start with, engineers/experts in the country and the world. And the exposure of working with people from different countries and cultures enriches the experience.”
Inspiration, balance, and investing in yourself
Apart from being an example for her own children, she also draws motivation to inspire others as a woman in a male-dominated field. “If you look at the young engineers today, they have a lot of male role models to look up to. I’m trying to be someone the ladies can relate to and say: ‘Hey, there is a strong career path for a female in tech.’”
When it comes to work-life balance, Yet Foon sees it less as a 50-50 equation and more as something that balances out over time. A long-haul commitment matters, especially in a highly technical field that requires at least two years to fully grasp.
For the aspiring engineer, she has this advice: “Not everything you do comes with immediate returns. But it sows the seeds for a long time to come, so do what you believe in instead of thinking about immediate returns.
Be bold, raise your hand and put yourself out there. That’s how you stand out.”
Interested in the kind of work Yet Foon and her team are doing? Discover how you, too, could make an impact by pursuing engineering careers at Intel Malaysia.