We have a very personal reason for loving today’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day which falls during DiscoverE Engineers Week to build awareness for women in engineering: Our most-recent past president and current Recruiting Consultant, Linda McDaid, is herself a former engineer! And though she left her job at Honeywell back in 2013 to become South Shore Staffing’s president, her love and knowledge of the field has enabled us to grow our recruitment and placement of engineers to companies all across Southeastern Massachusetts.
According to the Society of Women Engineers, based on a 2019 study only 13% of engineers are women. There is so much room for growth! And though many students study engineering due to their interest in mathematics, science, and technology, some–like Linda–see the opportunity only after they’ve already started down another path of study. But once they how engineers use creative solutions to solve real-world problems, it can be a wonderful career choice with so many different routes to follow.
We spoke to Linda to ask her some questions about her background and to get her advice for women who want to make engineering a career choice.
What made you want to go into engineering?
I didn’t initially pick engineering as something of interest. When you are in high school, I think that a few people know what they truly want to do, but they are the exception rather than the rule. I fell into this category. I spent a year at a liberal arts school watching a good friend who went to a technical college actually work an internship that put her well on her way to an interesting career. After that, I decided to pursue engineering, and I finally figured out why math is so important. Once I could see the practical application of math (rather than the abstract), it became much more relevant.
Was there a particular subject or teacher that made you interested in this field?
The environment had always been interesting to me, but I didn’t really make it a focus while in high school. It became a focus for me much later, and I ended up becoming the company representative for the US Green Building Council.
What do you like most about the field?
Though the engineering field is not diverse enough in terms of the amount of women in it, the career opportunities that abound as the result of an engineering background are extremely diverse. As an example, while I started as an applications engineer, I moved into project management, sales, national sales, and national marketing roles. The technical foundation I gained was essential to making me successful in the other positions. While you don’t have to take that same career track, I had many options available.
How do you think women can benefit the engineering industry today?
I think bringing a different perspective to engineering always helps. It is a collaborative effort, and women typically work well in that type of environment. Having more women in engineering will bring new ideas to some existing and new markets.
What advice would you give a girl who might be interested in studying engineering?
I would say go for it! If you want to have an array of job opportunities to choose from and have the potential to travel to different areas of the country or world, engineering can help to facilitate your dreams. Engineering is a part of everything in your world….whether it is the building itself, a product you love, or travel….engineering is involved in all of these things. It is not a boring occupation. As a career, it certainly will enable you to be self sufficient and successful.
If you are a woman (or man!) who wants to find a dynamic engineering job in Southeastern Massachusetts, get in touch with us! And if you are with a company that is having trouble filling open engineering positions, we can help you as well.