There is a famous picture of Margaret Hamilton posing beside the source code of the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC). The picture is remarkable not just because of the volume of the material, but also because Margaret Hamilton is a woman. We don’t have many female software engineers these days, especially in the Philippines.

I am one of the chosen few. I am the Head of Quality Engineering at Voyager Innovations, the digital arm of PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc (Smart).

This can be a challenge. At first it was intimidating having to sit in software development meetings where I was the only female engineer. Eventually, I realized that I should feel privileged because I’m one of the few who met the standards of the group.

Though I try to prove myself through the quality of my work, I do not shy away from acting womanly. I sometimes act as a mom and sometimes the big sister among our engineers. I also take on young women engineers under my wing. I call on them to live by this maxim: "Throw me to the wolves and I will come back leading the pack."

The environment in which we all work is very fast-paced. We need to produce high-quality applications in a very short span of time. Luckily, we have great engineers, who are not only technically-skilled but are passion-driven.

My passion is trying to make "QE the new QA" (Quality Engineer the new Quality Assurance). By this, I mean that the person who creates the test cases should also be the one who develops the test scripts.

Aside from this goal, we’re also the ones who challenge what the other engineers are doing, whether it be the tools that they use or the processes that they follow. To improve myself, I join technical trainings and tech focuses, watch webinars, and even talk to other QA leaders in the industry.

I begin each day by reading emails to check if there are urgent things that need handling, joining scrum meetings to see if they’re following our scrum practice, attending project cascades to make sure that they are accommodated properly, and orienting new hires about our process and shared tools. I also check on the junior QEs to see how they’re doing with their testing activities.

During the latter part of the day, I chat with other product engineering managers and leads to know what’s happening and where we can improve things. As a Quality Engineering head, I’m not only in charge of application’s quality, but the process surrounding its development as well.

Although many people may be attracted to other areas of engineering, I’d say that QE can be especially fulfilling. As the Head of Quality Engineering, for example, I feel great seeing my QE enthusiastically testing his project and then getting good feedback after a release! What’s even better is when I see a QA bloom into an independent and skilled QE.

When I was in high school, Juan Flavier said that in 2004 the IT industry will boom. And he was totally right! Even until now, the industry is booming. I think it’s because we’re finally seeing how software engineering can make our lives easier, from making applications to help the physically challenged to letting businesses run smoother, faster, and better.

Due to technology adaptation, we’re able to put all different technologies into one powerful device, our mobile phone, and who’s going to create the applications for our different needs? Software engineers!

I would encourage Filipino youth, particularly Filipinas, to consider the world of software engineering. My only piece of advice for them is, ironically enough, not technical in nature: Don’t get a job that you think you can easily do. Get into something that you think can make you even better.

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