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Turning The Tide: Angelene Shalni, Manufacturing Technician

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From an early interest in medicine to embracing the world of technology, Angelene Shalni Kumarasan has and continues to flourish as a Manufacturing Technician: defying gender stereotypes and industry norms with grit, earning an array of accolades along the way. Driven by a tireless desire for growth, she’s now at the forefront of the cutting-edge Pelican Project in Penang while juggling a part-time degree in electrical engineering.

 This is the empowering and inspiring journey of a woman who has transformed obstacles into building blocks, proving that anyone regardless of background and gender can thrive in a technical context - and that your future is what you make of it.

 

Flipping the narrative

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“Starting out, it did come across to me as a male-dominated space, but I knew two things. Firstly, I could do the work because I enjoyed it and excelled at it. Secondly, the misconception was largely down to a lack of knowledge and awareness about the role of technicians. In the early years I had a few friends who actually dropped their diploma courses midway to pursue nursing and teaching instead because of this. Looking back, I’m so glad I stayed the course, pushed through the initial barriers, and carved out a space for myself.”

Growing up, Angelene acknowledges having this preconceived notion herself - her father was a technician for the national electricity company, and she knew the work could be messy and strenuous. She actually harboured big dreams of becoming a doctor, but as fate would have it, a diploma in electronics was her only option at the juncture of tertiary education due to family circumstances.

But as she progressed, she started to develop an interest in the world of tech and the industry. She fell in love with the subject, performed with distinction, and started her journey in Intel as a technician. Today, she’s a Manufacturing Technician with 13 years of experience and a multitude of accolades on the belt.


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“I’ve learnt through experience that anyone can be a technician, regardless of gender. And it’s worth mentioning that our workplace environment and culture is evolving for the better.”

 

Learning in the present, priming for the future

 Angelene sometimes jokes with friends that she once wanted to help people by becoming a doctor, diagnosing, and performing surgeries - but she now gets to repair and work with complex tools on the production line.

“There’s always a sense of moving forward, and I think that’s something that Intel gives. There’s constantly something new to learn and to improve on that it hardly ever feels stagnant. For instance, being part of the current Pelican Project with all its breakthrough capabilities is a steep learning curve - but it’s one I’m tremendously proud to be on as it represents a new frontier and game-changer for the business.”

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Over the years, she also has had the opportunity for work trips to Hong Kong, Vietnam and most recently to the US for a year-long training to prepare for her current role in the Pelican Project. And here in Penang, when not busy on the production line, she’s currently pursuing a part-time degree in Electrical Engineering to further expand her horizons and contribution to the field.

“I was encouraged by my supervisor to go out there and explore, with the aim of taking on newer roles to advance my career. Juggling work with three days of night classes per week is no doubt challenging, especially when I work the night shift! But I’m grateful and I know it will be worth it in the long run.”

 

A crucial cog in the wheel

 What does a day in the life look like for Angelene? She often starts off her day with team meetings to align on current deliverables. Technicians work closely with engineers, so she’s constantly on standby to see if anything’s been passed down for troubleshooting. On shipment days when production output needs to be prioritised, she will be present at the line to make sure things flow smoothly and issues can be dealt with promptly.

Whenever there are products that need to be tested, she runs measurements calibrations and is in charge of gathering the required data. This is an example of where a technician’s skillset, attention to detail and problem-solving skills are crucial. She’s currently a Level 1 trainer for new Manufacturing Technicians and when the time calls for it, she also steps in as an acting supervisor on behalf of her manager.

“I’d say technical knowledge would be the most basic requirement to fulfil the responsibilities of this role, but being a quick learner has really helped me to thrive. I find great satisfaction in solving puzzles, and it does help that I love maths too!”

 

Get to know the role

The role of a technician is often reduced to an imagery of performing singular mundane tasks on a production line, but in reality, is much more than that. The work can be complex, sometimes including nonstandard assignments in nature with broadly defined parameters. It also requires a high degree of judgment and initiative to resolve the occasional complex nonstandard problems and developing recommendations, among others.


 

Here’s a summary of a Manufacturing Technician’s role in Intel Malaysia:

 

  • Perform functions associated with all wafer production including operations, equipment, process and training.
  • Collection and evaluation of operating data to conduct online equipment adjustment and ensure processes are optimised.
  • Responsible for preventive maintenance and troubleshooting.
  • May be responsible to train younger technicians and update training manuals.

 

Visit our careers website for Manufacturing Technician job opportunities at Intel Malaysia.

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