I have always wanted to be an engineer, mostly because I was and still am curious about the world around me, and I was inspired by my aunt who is an engineer as well, writes Gabriela Balas of Crookes Walker Consulting.
I always admired her power and ambition to achieve her goals in a man’s world; she believed engineering was for everyone. I realise not that much has changed over the years but back then it was even more difficult to become an engineer and be respected as one. Sharing her stories helped me become more confident in what I do and determined to be successful in my career.
I studied Electrical & Electronics Engineering, one of only five women out of my class of 250 students. My lightbulb moment came in my second year at university. Whilst on placement with an engineering consultancy I realised that building services are about more than designing services installation, they are about truly giving light and life to buildings.
I always assumed that engineering was a profession filled with men in hard hats, but after my placement I knew I had to make a conscious effort to ensure my gender didn’t limit my opportunities. I can’t say it was or is easy to work in a field where we constantly feel the need to prove ourselves, but I love my job and get to pursue my passion for innovation and technology every day.
As electrical engineers we are constantly changing the world with new inventions and solutions that affect everyone’s life, and we get to see buildings rise from nothing, which gives me the greatest satisfaction.
In this field you learn something new every day – they say you stop living when you stop learning and I don’t intend to stop living. I love ‘filling in the blanks’ in my brain and the more you learn, the more possibilities open up.
There are multiple organisations that support women in engineering; just having someone to talk to is very helpful and communities like IET Women Network and WISE can help you through difficult times and encourage you to follow your dreams.
My motto is “carpe diem”. Even if you’re in a minority within engineering look on the bright side, millions of people enjoy the results of your work every day.