“I am a Software Engineer at Intel and also a mentor in the ‘Nowe Technologie dla Dziewczyn’ program. I’m so happy to help other young women launch a successful career in IT.”
Sylwia Wnuczko is a Software Engineer at Intel who says it took a scholarship program and an important mentor to shape the career she has today. As a student, Sylwia was the recipient of Intel’s ‘New Technologies for Women’ scholarship. Through this program, Intel increases awareness and encourages a new generation of high achieving females to take up the challenge of a career in science and technology. For Sylwia, the experience was transformational. Today, she is a successful engineer and gives back by mentoring students. We asked her to share more of her inspirational story.
Your IT journey began five years ago. Can you tell us how it started?
While I was studying, I actually preferred electronics to programming. My first internship involved programming very simple electronic devices with STM microcontrollers. During my studies, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to work with him in a small electronics company. This was my first job in IT. I was an embedded programmer for electronic devices, like testers for car alternators. It was a great experience and I learned a lot.
You participated in Intel’s joint scholarship program with Perspektywy, ‘New Technologies for Women’. Can you tell us more about this experience? What did you learn?
While I was working my first job and studying part-time, I learned about Intel’s New Technologies scholarship. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about a program just for women, but it was a good opportunity, so I applied. I was accepted and the experience changed me! It taught me the importance of soft skills and I met so many interesting people. The most memorable part was a speaking workshop I attended. Olga, who led the workshop, is my mentor to this day. This experience gave me so much motivation and started my interest in self-development. I also began to understand why we need to encourage young women in the IT and tech arenas. The scholarship gave me the opportunity to work at Intel. Now, I am a Software Engineer here and also a mentor in the ‘Nowe Technologie dla Dziewczyn’ program. I’m so happy to help other young women launch a successful career in IT.
What is your role at Intel today?
I’m a Software Engineer in the Infrastructure and Platform Solutions Group. We deliver audio solutions based on an integrated Digital Signal Processor (DSP). I develop and debug the driver for Windows. It’s very interesting, because I’m working on future devices. I’m part of the software team, but we also cooperate with the firmware team the hardware team. This team develops solutions for future devices, like new laptops or tablets, and works on simulation. We use Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) to simulate hardware that doesn’t even exist yet, in order to test our software solutions. It’s amazing! We are creating a new world.
What is the impact of your solutions?
Our team works on audio drivers, which are necessary in our devices to play back music, capture your voice, or for voice recognition. We partner with other big companies, like Amazon, to make voice recognition products like Alexa. Our products are a part of many devices that use voice control—even laptops.
What makes your group successful?
I work with a very experienced team. I am probably the least experienced member of my team, but they never make me feel self-conscious about that. My team members give me confidence. I believe people are the key to success. We partner with our clients, prioritizing good cooperation. Most importantly, we are open to feedback, which makes us successful.
What is the biggest challenge in your current work?
It’s a huge project and very complicated, because it involves so many moving parts. We’re working with software, firmware, new devices, and FPGA, which adds more complications. Our work links a lot of different drivers and requires a broad scope of knowledge. I feel like I’m still learning a lot, but I have team members with experience that help me. I’ve found mentorship to be very important.
What do you find particularly special about working in your group at Intel Poland?
I work with great people from all around the world. I enjoy cooperating with co-workers from other countries—it’s very interesting and one of my favorite things about working for Intel. I think this type of diversity is very important. I love to meet new people and learn about their perspectives and how they see the world!
What advice would you give to people who are just starting their career in IT?
Don’t be afraid. Try new things. If you feel your current job isn’t for you, make a change! Most importantly, ask a lot of questions. Be confident and believe that you can do anything you put your mind to.
Why should young engineers be interested in working at Intel?
Intel is unique because it offers such a wide range of opportunities for employees. You aren’t ever stuck in one area or in one type of job. You can experiment with different styles of work. If your project isn’t quite the right fit, you can look for other opportunities internally. This allows you to try new things and shape your career, which is so valuable.