We’re highlighting the wonderful contributions of recent award winners recognized by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). In this series, these women share how Intel supports their careers, offering them flexibility alongside opportunities to create amazing tech.
Suriya Ramalingam, an engineering TD manager in Assembly Test and Technology Development (ATTD), was recently awarded the Patent Recognition Award by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). This award recognizes SWE members who have been awarded a patent within the previous three years. Read how Suriya got her start in tech, how she feels about being a woman in the field, and how her confidence has helped her succeed.
Q. Could you tell us about what you do and what a typical day looks like?
As an engineering TD manager in ATTD, I am proud to manage a team of highly talented technical engineers. My days are full of technical problem solving related to manufacturing excursions, challenging process development, and continuously engaging and motivating my engineers—and supporting their career growth.
Q. Tell us about your recent patent (what you can divulge) and the impact your patent may have.
I have about 11 patents but the two patent awards I applied for and received from SWE are very impactful to Intel’s assembly materials technology implementation for high volume.
Q. Did you always know you wanted to work in technology? How did you decide to go into engineering?
I came from a small village in India where girls were underprivileged, especially on getting education. I am proud to be the first graduate from my family and my village. I am proud to say that I am a role model to many girls in my village. My favorite subject was mathematics, so I was highly driven to earn an engineering degree. Since my career was not feasible without the many people who supported me all my life, and I always feel it is my time to payback—that’s one of key reasons I became a manager.
Q. Many women in the tech industry feel that their gender has affected the way they are perceived or treated. Have you felt this and if so, how did you handle it?
I thought that it was challenging growing up in my village and constantly fighting inequality in my everyday life. But when I faced challenges growing my career as a female in technology in the U.S., I saw that this mindset exists across the world, no matter how developed it is. But my life taught me how to be strong and challenge those who challenge my career growth from a gender perception. I am still growing stronger. At the same time, I am thankful to many male managers who strongly supported my career growth.
Q. What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?
Women bring diverse thinking to technical discussions and problem solving.
Q. Do you notice a lack of women in technology? If so, why do you think that’s the case?
Yes, I do agree that there is a lack of women in technology. One of the key observations from my perspective is that it is highly challenging to balance work and family, especially with younger kids. Since I grew up in a village where basic facilities were not available, I am well trained in multitasking. Also, I cannot compromise my career for my family, so I made many bold career decisions during some critical timeframes, like being a mom to a newborn.
Q. Many women in the tech industry consider themselves introverts. Are you an introvert and if so, what is the most difficult thing about being an introvert in the tech industry? How did you overcome it?
I am not an introvert. My biggest confidence is my smile and my nature of being calm and composed. I grow up in a society where I was not allowed to talk, laugh, or even stand in front of men without being called to greet them. But when I got the opportunity to stand up, I stood stronger and taller in front of many highly talented and competitive males.
Q. What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry? What do you wish you had known?
My motivation to all technical females is: “Aim high if you have confidence in you.”
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