Soccer team in a huddle

Women at SAP Silicon Valley: Tech Inspires Me with Puzzles Everyday

Blog | July 22, 2015 by Wing Lau

What are you working on? That depends on who is asking. I am in query processing for the folks at my office. I am an SAP HANA developer for others at SAP. I am an engineer for my four-year old daughter. It’s a top business secret for my lovely 90-year old grandmother.

I like solving puzzles and that’s what I do as part of a global innovation team that develops and supports features for SAP ASE and SAP HANA platforms.

Due to a few too many visits to the hospital in my childhood, doctors became my role models. In high school, I took all the science and mathematics classes for my future medical education. I avoided the “computer programming” class since there was never a girl in the computer lab. The lab was always set to very low temperatures, and we joked that the boys liked that class because they needed to cool down after playing basketball.

Taking the suggestion of my academic advisor in college, I experimented with my first computer programming course as a general elective. To my surprise, I did well and enjoyed the experience. I took additional computer courses and eventually applied for an internship with my programming skills. My software engineering career took off without much planning and it has since been both challenging and exciting.

Technology has opened a world of opportunities for me, but I have had to find a stronger voice to be heard at times. For example, I would often be the only woman on the team on business trips. On one such trip, the ladies room at the customer site was locked as no woman worked on the IT floors at the time. A previous manager once wrote to my team, “You guys better use ‘she’ instead of ‘he,’ or she shall not answer any of your questions. ” This simple message was a big acknowledgment for me.

At SAP, I draw my inspiration from a talented cadre of women colleagues, including new hires, developers, senior technical professionals, as well as executive leaders. They show me the immense possibilities ahead given the right support and opportunities. Some of our recent retirees were female engineers. They did not just work a demanding software development schedule for 20 plus years, but also raised families, volunteered in the community, and set a high mark in all that they did. They made working-moms look like rock stars! If my grandmother were to meet these ladies, she would be very proud that I took the engineering path.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

Photo: Shutterstock

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