“Never think of yourself as unqualified. You just need to go beyond the fear of trying.”
Ely Zeng’s early interest in people, politics, and policymaking led him to pursue a bachelor’s degree in public administration. But along the way, he discovered a passion for technology, and opted to pursue a master’s degree in science as a springboard into the STEM industry. An avid gamer, Ely finds joy reading about innovations in the tech world, geeking out over new gear, and connecting with people around the world—be it at tech expos or through video games.
An unconventional path
He recalls impressing the hiring manager during an interview for his first internship at a tech giant. “I had just spent about 2 months researching the internet to help me decide on a new PC—and then I was asked by the hiring manager to talk about my PC knowledge. I impressed her, even without an education background in tech!”
That moment marked the start of his journey in the world of tech and laid the foundation for his move to Intel in 2018. Today, Ely is a technical marketing engineer. The duality of this role allows him to interface between two worlds: mingling with end users at tech events and sitting down with the company’s business units. He learns, understands, and processes consumers’ needs and conveys these insights to the company.
On his role, he says, “It involves asking questions, defining problems, and finding the right contact for resolution. Customers always find something that we don’t know—and that’s why their perspective is crucial.”
As someone who loves tech, enjoys solving problems, and basks in the rigors of research, Ely’s role certainly speaks to him. And he thrives in the independence and learning resources afforded to him in the Systems Product Group.
Lessons along the way
While Ely’s career is very much only just beginning, he’s picked up a few lessons and reminders that will accompany him along his journey.
“Being proactive is one of the most valuable things I’ve learnt here. Everyone has lots to do, so if you need a hand or to have something given attention, be proactive in speaking up, sending that email, or making that call,” he says.
He shares that he used to hesitate to ping others for help, but he’s learnt to just go for it and not take things personally. The worst-case scenario is that the person says no or that they’re busy.
To those considering growing their career in tech, especially at Intel, Ely advises, “If you’re curious, there’s lots to learn and improve on. If you only do what others ask of you, there’s no real room for improvement and learning. Which is why it’s also important to take your role seriously. Because this will generate insight, broaden your perspective, and who knows, you might discover ways to do it better.”
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