Keissy Guerra Perez is a deep learning data engineer with the Intel Movidius team in Leixlip, Co Kildare. She is a former research assistant at Queen's University Belfast, where she studied for a PhD in electronics engineering and computer science and, for her primary degree, she studied telecommunications engineering at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

​International Women in Engineering Day, which is celebrated on June 23, is an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to women and girls in this exciting industry.

Keissy Guerra Perez: A deep learning data engineer with the Intel Movidius team

Engineers play a vital role in the Intel workforce, operating at the heart of its manufacturing and design activities around the world, and the company says it is proud to “celebrate our many female engineers on ​International Women in Engineering Day”.

To coincide with International Women in Engineering Day we caught up with Keissy Guerra Perez.

At what age (or stage of your life) did you start to think about becoming an engineer?

I really enjoyed STEM subjects at school, and it helped me to decide on my career preference. But for me, the key deciding moment was when I was about nine years old, when my father let me help him do his job. He worked as an electrician and allowed me to help him with calculations and wiring.

What skills do you need to become a good engineer?

In my opinion, a successful engineer is somebody who is creative, and able to solve complex problems. I also consider a good engineer to be able and open to learning new things and adapting new skills often. Working well in a team is also especially important for daily work life, and career progression.

What can be done to encourage more people, and in particular young girls, to explore careers in engineering?

Allowing students to approach technology as a subject in school might impassion a new generation of engineers without any gender bias normally associated with this industry. I think the ratios are already changing for the better and the number of females in the sector is growing.

In my last year of university studying telecommunications engineering, there was a 50/50 split between the genders. The growing number of high-profile women in engineering can be a great inspiration, and they can act as brilliant role models to the younger generation.

What for you are the most interesting aspects of engineering?

The broad range of types and disciplines in engineering. Engineering covers many fields, I learned that being an engineer means that you have to possess many different skills, and knowledge from within your specialty and beyond.

Intel has numerous examples of people that studied different engineering disciplines and ending up working in another area. For example, some of my colleagues working as electronic engineers studied industrial engineering.

How has the career differed from what you expected, particularly initially?

My initial expectations of working in the semiconductor industry were that I would be working on many different parts of the product process and releasing products quickly. However, the reality is not like that.

The scale involved means that you work in a specialised area, and the load of work on a single area is huge. Achieving high quality work requires much time, concentration and specialisation.

What has surprised you the most during your career as an engineer?

During my career I realised that engineering is about working well in teams, with different people perspectives. I thought telecommunications engineering would be a career where you would spend all day in front of a computer, but this is only one part of the daily job of an engineer. You need to interact with colleagues in meetings, discussions, and to work through problems together.

What inspires you about your work?

The idea of learning something new every day is my main joy and inspiration in work. We design products that are booming, and you must innovate and improve every day to keep the product quality and stand out in this competitive market.         

Are you working from home at the moment? If so, how do you find it? 

I have been working from home since mid-March. In this period, I find advantages in working from home, such as the ease to focus and the extra time that I have after work by not commuting.

Personally, I value the time that I spend with my family and for myself. All of my team are working from home, which happened quite suddenly. There are challenges, especially for people with children.

Sometimes, I need to schedule meetings to solve problems, while in the office, I could just go to somebody desk and ask. It is a challenge to keep the same level of work efficiency but, despite everything, the team have managed to do it very well and continue to deliver on time.

What do you miss about being in your normal working environment?  

Of course, I miss the colleagues. We do virtual coffee breaks and have a chat. I am also doing classes via Virtual Fitness Classes and other online activities. Indeed, my department has organised a fun team training every Tuesday via Microsoft Teams.