“To be successful at Intel, you need to cooperate, collaborate in a true and transparent way and mentor those who are coming up behind you. Ultimately, anyone with a passion for technology can be successful on this path.”
Since 2012, Paulina Gorska has been responsible for building an Intel strategy that fosters innovation culture. In 2016, she launched a pioneer scholarship program called ‘New Technologies for Women’. For the last three years, she has been engaged in accelerating technical leadership development. She is the trainer, facilitator and coach. Paulina is valued by clients and peers for her openness to challenges and changes, straightforward communication style and can-do attitude. We asked her to tell us more about the opportunities available for career development on a technical pathway at Intel.
What is your role at Intel?
I’m a Human Resources Business Partner here. My role is divided into two areas: Firstly, I support leaders, managers and employees, working closely with their teams to address everyday challenges and plan their organizational future. Secondly, I help to enable business strategy. This includes a focus on accelerating technical leadership development in Poland, which is a critical part of Intel’s growth strategy.
What career paths are available at Intel?
There are many paths available at Intel—it’s one of the unique aspects of starting a career here. Depending on your focus and aspirations, there are at least ten paths, each comprised of different roles across various technical domains. A technical career at Intel might begin while you’re still a student, as an intern. From there, you could graduate to the position of Junior Engineer and grow step-by-step to become a Senior Engineer, Technical Leader, Principal Engineer and Senior Principal Engineer. At this level, you are responsible for an entire piece of technology. Finally, you could be promoted to Fellow and, ultimately, Senior Fellow. These roles give you the opportunity to influence world-wide industry standards. Within a technical career, Intel employees specialize in many different domains, such as software, firmware, hardware design and validation, as well as solutions and architecture. You might also take responsibility for lab infrastructure. The journey looks different for everyone and all depends on your own passion and potential.
What skills make for a successful Intel employee?
There are three broad characteristics that we look for. Firstly, technical expertise, passion for innovation and going to the edges of technology. Next, and just as importantly, is the candidate’s ability to contribute to strategy by listening to customers and translating their needs into successful products. Lastly, we are looking for candidates who role model Intel values. To be successful here, you need to cooperate, collaborate in a true, transparent and inclusive way and mentor those who are coming up behind you. Ultimately, anyone with a passion for technology can be successful on this path.
What are the advantages of pursuing a technical career at Intel?
As often cited in our employee engagement surveys, the main advantage of a technical career at Intel is the opportunity to contribute to and design the technologies of the future. In these roles, you are driving research and development projects, while being supported by Intel’s vast resources. As a technical leader here, you can contribute both to Intel strategy and that of the industry as a whole. The products you help to design and produce are used by millions of people around the world. This is extremely motivating for our technical leaders. Finally, you’ll continue to grow and develop as you work with and learn from the top talent in your domain. At Intel, you often work with industry experts from all over the world, the best of the best!
What are the challenges of this career path?
I think there are three main challenges with a technical career. Firstly, you must find a way to link your passion for technology directly to your customer’s needs. We are working in an extremely demanding market. This is a challenge, but also makes the job exciting! Secondly, our tech leaders need to constantly adapt to fast-changing business priorities and competitors’ activity. Rapid market changes mean we sometimes have to re-prioritize and alter the roadmap. This requires our engineers to be flexible and adaptable. The last challenge for those in a technical career is work-life balance. When you are passionate about technology and work in a global organization, you must take special care of this balance in relation to your passions, family, friends or whatever makes you happy—aside from work—if you want to succeed.
How does Intel support engineers who want to excel?
We ensure our employees are aware of opportunities and programs that support their work and ambitions. Career progression is structured here, without being limiting. Managers are expected to drive career development conversations with you several times a year. They ask what makes you happy or frustrated and what your aspirations are for the future. We help our team members to identify goals and determine what steps they need to take in order to progress. Additionally, you have the opportunity to be mentored by senior tech leaders and learn from them daily. Plus, you won’t ever be stuck in one area here. As there are so many technologies being developed at Intel, you can always try new things and decide where you’d like to deep dive.
What’s the difference between working for Intel and a startup?
When you work at Intel, you can have a far-reaching impact by creating world-changing technology and influencing the tech of the future in a comprehensive way. Our engineers touch solutions on a huge range of technologies and products, while startups are often focused on one solution or product. At Intel, you really can impact the life of every person on earth. Also, our organization spans the globe, employing over 100,000 people. We are a diverse bunch that boasts top experts. Because of our open culture, you are invited to contact any other employee, which offers an amazing opportunity for technologists to network with some very influential people. Lastly, Intel can provide career growth across a whole range of technologies. You can transition to a totally new domain with an internal move. In addition, while working at Intel, you can apply for a rotation to work in a start-up in which Intel has invested. This program is appreciated by engineers who want to try working in a start-up environment.
What can engineers do to progress more quickly?
Focus is very important. If you find your north star, you can continuously move toward that goal and make adjustments along the way. Also, be flexible—if you keep your eyes open, you might come across opportunities you never even imagined. Being curious is important, too! Lastly, look for people who can help you and try to help others along the way. Collaborate and build your network and your career will accelerate.