We are excited to introduce a new series called Women in Tech, where we will be interviewing inspiring women who are making strides in the tech industry and working to bridge the gender gap.
In this interview, we have Tiffany Hu, a Solutions Engineer at Aircall, who has been in the software journey for over 20 years. She shares with us her journey from being a Software Engineer at Thales to her current position at Aircall.
Tiffany also talks about the valuable insights on how her educational background prepared her for her current role, the challenges and barriers she has faced as a woman in tech, and the changes she has witnessed in the industry.
Hey Tiffany, thanks for joining us today! Can you describe your journey from being a Software Engineer at Thales to your current position at Aircall?
I have been fortunate enough to be able to steer my career in different directions and industries depending on my interests at the time. My first roles were very technical, but as I progressed, I had the opportunity to hold more business-driven positions, and therefore learn about both aspects of the software ecosystem. My current role is business and tech hybrid, which brings a good balance and diversity in my day-to-day and I’m really enjoying it. Overall I have valued all my experiences so far as I have learnt something different in each role and industry.
You have a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Computing from Macquarie University and a graduate certificate in Information Technology from the University of Sydney. How has your educational background prepared you for your career as a Solutions Engineer?
My education has mostly prepared me for the technical and logical aspects of the SE role. The rest was learning on the spot and gaining more experience and knowledge as I went.
You have held a number of technical roles at high-profile companies such as IBM, Alcatel-Lucent, and the Nasdaq. Can you share with us some of the most valuable lessons you have learned throughout your career, and how they have shaped your current role at Aircall?
The ability to always look at the larger picture has been instrumental in my career. Technical people tend to focus on the details rather than the purpose, but when you manage to take a step back, it helps develop critical thinking and think out of the box. It allows us to communicate at the same level as other technical and more importantly non-technical people in the organisation, and helps align on and work towards the same end goal. Ultimately, it helps better establish trust with everyone, which can go a long way in progressing one’s career.
As a woman in tech, have you faced any challenges or barriers in your career, and how did you overcome them?
I believe many challenges remain for women in tech. The competition is fierce for jobs and recognition, not only with male counterparts, but also with younger and fresher minds as you age. I think the most challenging time is when women decide to get married and have children. There’s a need to perform at a higher level to prove your worth, but also keep a healthy work-life balance.
As a working mum, my way to achieve this is by staying healthy, exercising a lot, and socialising with friends or doing what I love as soon as I have a chance.
Can you tell us about your role as a Solutions Engineer at Aircall, and what your day-to-day responsibilities entail?
My main responsibility involves partnering with the APAC sales teams to discover and assess potential client concerns, map their requirements to Aircall capabilities and develop strategies to increase the value they get from our platform. In doing so, I also participate in achieving more revenue for Aircall. I also work closely with other APAC teams including our channels and alliance team, customer services and support, or participate in processes such as customer onboarding with the same objectives, which involves cross-functional collaboration globally.
With over 20 years of experience in the software industry, what are some of the most significant changes you have seen in the industry, and how have they impacted your work?
I have seen our industry significantly change in the space of two decades. Nowadays, pretty much all organisations have a degree of exposure to digital or technology, which triggered the emergence of many tech start-ups like Aircall, offering solutions to transform industry processes and operations. This has offered solutions specialists like me more opportunities to work in different industries, and on a wider array of solutions.
A consequence of this is that ways of working have been completely transformed. Not only with remote working, but also with new applications and tools, and new methodologies that everyone had to learn to use.
I think someone who doesn’t embrace change probably isn’t thriving in the software industry, because the pace of technology change is such that it requires us to stay on a continuous learning journey.
What motivates you to continue growing your career in the software industry, and how do you stay up to date with the latest advancements in technology and customer needs?
A good segue to the previous question. While the pace of change is intense in tech, it’s also very stimulating to witness it from the inside, and see the future of work, business or society unfold before our eyes. This is a motivation in itself. The software industry is for unique beings with the right mindset to love and embrace changes and grow as the industry develops. Beings with an inquisitive mind, a passion for learning, and always asking why/how. This is exactly my nature and how I stay motivated.
What advice would you give to young women who are interested in pursuing a career in technology, particularly in technical roles?
It can be difficult to develop a strong voice in male-dominated teams, and I’ve found that self-confidence is your biggest ally. Women who want to progress in this industry should find a way to build and nurture it, which then helps be more inquisitive and develop that critical thinking I mentioned.
Other aspects are about being hands-on and keeping an open mind, which both help adapt to the constant pace of change. In the end, knowledge is power, so those who manage to stay ahead of the curve and bring knowledge to the table will eventually thrive.
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