Stories of Women in Engineering – Samridhi Langer

Interview with Samridhi Langer

My name is Samridhi Langer. I work at ALTEN in Stuttgart, Germany as a Senior Software Consultant.
I come from New Delhi, India, where I did my engineering degree in computer software. I came to Germany to do my master’s degree in automotive software engineering and then worked as a developer for about six years, after which I moved to ALTEN as a Senior Consultant. I have been able to take on many roles: developer, integrator, project leader and product owner.

Can you describe your role and your responsibilities? What are the main skills you need?

As a Senior Consultant, you must fill a lot of different shoes, and work in diverse roles. The last project that I worked on was as a product owner, acting as a bridge between the development team and the customer. My role was to check that the customer’s requirements were met, according to the specifications that they had provided. For this, not only good communication was needed to understand the needs of the customers but also, technical knowledge to deal with the team and explain to them what they need to do.

How did you develop your interest in engineering? What factors prompted your decision to pursue a career in this field?

Since I was a little kid, I always liked solving problems of any kind – maybe a puzzle, maybe a game. I loved knowing how things work and why they work the way they do. This is the main reason I entered the field of engineering.

In what way are the projects you work on innovative?

Until last month I was working with an important player in the automotive industry to develop an innovative instrument cluster – doing something that has never been done before, coming up with solutions that didn’t exist. This means contributing to the future in a way that can only be done through innovation.

What role has ALTEN played in your professional development? How has the company supported your growth?

I still remember the day I came to ALTEN for an interview. The business manager asked me how I saw myself five years down the line. This is a question that everybody asks in an interview, and so I thought nothing of it. I answered that apart from the technical things I was already doing, I wanted to explore the managerial side of things as well. As the months passed, to my surprise, he began to help me move into a more managerial side of things, supporting me with all the necessary training. It felt good to know that my opinion and my aspirations were taken into consideration – to feel heard and valued as part of the company.

What are some of the most inspiring projects that you have worked on at ALTEN?

The working environment at ALTEN is very dynamic. You work on all different kinds of projects and in different positions. In a recent project, working as a software integrator, I had to learn more about hardware, which was inspiring for me because I had never worked on hardware before.

What are your career goals?

There are two goals that come to my mind when I think about the future. The first would be to improve the skills that I need in my current role – to work on communication and leadership. The second is to inspire kids, especially girls, to join the STEM field because I don’t see as many women in the STEM field as I would like to.

What do you enjoy most about your day-to-day job?

The thing I enjoy the most about my day-to-day is the dynamic nature of my work. I get to do different things and learn something new every day. Apart from that, I love working in a multicultural environment. There are a lot of people from different backgrounds, and that’s amazing.

What are the emerging technologies and trends that will have the greatest impact on future engineering projects?

Some of the technologies that come to mind when I think about the future are artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics, and the Internet of Things. Specifically, talking about the automotive sector, I would say connected cars and self-driving cars will have a huge impact.

What role can women in engineering play in inspiring and empowering others to make a positive impact in the world?

Women in this field can support other women by becoming mentors, helping them to achieve their dreams. This should start very early on, with girls who are in school. I think this would have a huge impact on women joining engineering.

What are some of the challenges you face in trying to achieve a healthy work-life balance?

Achieving a healthy work-life balance has been a journey. It’s something that I have learned over the years. The three things that I swear by are to be very good at time management, to set clear boundaries, and to engage in activities that rejuvenate your mind and your body so that you are ready and can focus 100%.

What advice would you give to other women engineers in navigating a male-dominated industry?

Apart from the things I’ve just mentioned, I think it’s really important to reward yourself for every small step you take – give yourself a little pat on the back. It’s very important to keep yourself motivated. One of the main challenges I have faced is the lack of women in leadership roles. But I believe that if you do your best, apply your style of working, hone your skills, you can achieve anything you want. So, I would encourage women to focus on their strengths.

What, in your opinion, sets ALTEN apart?

I think the thing that sets ALTEN apart is the focus on the individual and their strengths, and on working together to improve things.

What would you say to someone who’s looking into working at ALTEN?

I would say that if you’re thinking about working at ALTEN, don’t think anymore. Just come. You’ll get to learn a lot of new things, to work on a lot of innovative projects, and you’ll receive the support you need to develop your career.

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