Growing up, Judy Amanor-Boadu had no idea about what engineering was—and no STEM programs at school that could help her cultivate an interest. But after graduating high school, her skills in math and science prompted her to explore college degree programs that use both. “There were many engineering programs, and my thought process was ‘what is that one engineering field everyone needs?’ I settled on electrical engineering because everyone needs electricity and that is how I started my journey into the technology industry,” she explains. And thus, a remarkable career was born.
Below, Judy shares insights into her work at Intel, learning how to overcome microaggressions in a male-dominated field, and the five things she wishes she’d known before embarking on a career in engineering.
Tell us a little bit about what you do and what a typical day looks like.
I do power delivery modeling and characterization of Intel® Xeon® CPU processors for data-center products. I also provide implementation guidelines, perform feasibilities studies and design verification of current and future generations of Intel Xeon processors. In addition, I do measurement-simulation correlation to improve pre-silicon modeling and prediction.
On a typical day, I attend team meetings and work on crossing out items from my to-do list which usually involves doing design and assessment of Intel Xeon CPU platforms to ensure they meet their target design specifications.
Many women in the tech industry feel that their gender has affected the way they are perceived or treated. Have you also felt this and how did you handle it?
I had a great mentor in this regard, Shawna Fletcher, Ph.D., director of the Women in Engineering Program at Texas A&M University. She taught me several ways of dealing with these circumstances, such as having male allies, how to respond to microaggressions, and knowing my strengths. With these tools in my kit, I can handle any perception or treatment based on gender.
What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?
The best parts of being a woman in the tech industry are the diverse and creative thinking brought to the table and the opportunity to serve as role models to the next generation and encouraging the next generation of girls to pursue tech careers.
Do you notice a lack of women in technology? If so, why do you think that’s the case?
The percentage of women in technology is low and that stems from the low number of women graduating from college with technology degrees. This tracks back to girls in grade, middle, and high school being interested in STEM-related fields. If there are limited programs to spark the interest of girls in STEM-related programs in their early schooling, this affects the pipeline down the road, resulting in a lack of women in technology.
It is one thing getting women into the technology industry and another thing retaining them. Toxic workplace culture, non-equitable pay, lack of mentors, career progression difficulties and lack of work flexibility are some of the reasons why women eventually leave the technology industry, also leading to lack of women in technology.
Many women in the tech industry consider themselves introverts. Are you an introvert and if so, what is the most difficult thing about being an introvert in the tech industry? How did you overcome it?
I consider myself an introvert and the most difficult thing about being an introvert is networking because “you have to talk to people” and make conversations. To overcome this, I read books like “Think on Your Feet: Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Impromptu Communication Skills on the Job” by Jen Oleniczak Brown and “Always know what to say - Easy Ways To Approach And Talk To Anyone” by Peter Murphy. Reading and learning about improv are some of the ways that have helped me overcome the difficulty of networking and meeting new people.
Is there a female technologist you admire who has influenced your career journey and choices?
When I started my career at Intel, a female technologist, Farzaneh Yahyaei-Moayyed, senior principal engineer, rtd., influenced my career journey and choices. She gave advice on how to navigate the workplace, how to approach any problem like an owner and taught me the importance of collaboration, mentorship and coaching.
What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry? What do you wish you had known?
- Speak up
- Do not be afraid to ask questions
- Trust the information given but verify it and understand for yourself
- Find opportunities to learn new things
- Always look for opportunities to innovate
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