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Workforce Diversity For Engineering And IT Professionals Magazine, established in 1994, is the first magazine published for the professional, diversified high-tech workforce, which encompasses everyone, including women, members of minority groups, people with disabilities, and non-disabled white males. to advance in the diversified working community.

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 Telecom’s Light-Speed Evolution

Today’s telecom and networking opportunities facilitate communication, innovation and connectivity, thereby creating a career cache that’s growing at light speed.
According to the Telecommunications Industry Outlook 2017 issued by Deloitte, telecom will continue to be a critical force for growth and innovation.
Most recently that growth has been evidenced in the wireless sector. Deloitte’s latest Global Mobile Consumer Survey (GMCS), in fact, indicates that U.S. mobile users look at their devices 9 billion times a day, up 13 percent from a year ago.
As a result of the smart phone evolution in the last decade, opportunities for all telecom sub-sectors are growing at light speed. And not only is increased smartphone usage spurring these opportunities, the increased environment for mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are, as well.
Additionally, with full, mass-market, 5G coverage anticipated by 2020, the consensus is that the high-tech telecom arena can well be cited as the career place to be. Find out why these telecom and networking professionals concur and see where they think this vast sector is heading.
TDS’ Grandjacques Interacts with Business Stakeholders
Now in her third year with TDS Telecommunications Corporation (TDS), Melanie Grandjacques, came to this 3,400-employee, Madison, WI-headquartered telecom company with start-up and small company experience.
“At previous jobs I acquired a holistic view of how a company functions and the critical elements needed for success. Today I continue to maintain a sincere and on-going interest in the business side of a much larger national telecom company,” the information technology, solutions architect states.
With a bachelor’s degree in information systems from Penn State and certification credentials from George Washington University, Columbia Leadership Institute and the Baldridge National Quality Program, Grandjacques currently interacts with business stakeholders to obtain solution requirements for projects. These projects often include deployment of a new technology, launch of a new product or organizational automation/efficiency projects.
She provides documented recommendations aligned with the company’s strategic technology vision, which impacts the selection and use of technology, and also works with development and implementation teams to ensure delivered solutions meet business value expectations. Having worked for tech-enabling companies throughout her career, Grandjacques continues to ask questions, to seek others for overall guidance and to always say yes to challenging projects.
“Reading industry and technical articles further widen my possible solution perspectives,” she remarks.
TDS values a diverse workforce, a fact that Grandjacques believes increases the availability of STEM careers. “At TDS there are jobs in networking engineering, cybersecurity, data analytics, software and infrastructure engineering, to name a few.”
She points to a recently formed Women in Technology employee resource group (ERG), with a mission to mentor and network with women interested in STEM careers, noting, “I’m excited to see what this group can do to attract more people into IT careers.”
As for attributes she contends are critical to success, she identifies the ability to listen, curiosity and a willingness to adapt. “Don’t be afraid to learn new ways of doing things or take on new challenges,” she advises.
Regarding hiring practices, Grandjacques explains that TDS CIO and vice president of information technology, Leslie Hearn, advocates promoting jobs in telecom for people who might not necessarily identify as high-tech folks. She encourages sharp, curious thinkers with a willingness to work hard to visit the careers section of tdstelecom.com for a list of job openings.
Active in professional and community organizations, Grandjacques particularly enjoys the process of collaborating with others to reach a common goal.
“Moments of synergistic energy that are engaging, inspiring and fulfilling make hard work and challenges worthwhile,” she concludes.
To learn more about careers at TDS, information can be found at tdstelecom.com/careers and on social media sites including Facebook and Twitter @tdstelecom.
Connectivity Check: TDS
TDS Telecommunications Corporation (TDS Telecom/TDS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Telephone and Data Systems, Inc., provides 1.2 million connections to high-speed internet, phone and TV entertainment services in nearly 900 rural, suburban and metropolitan communities.
Juniper’s Naim Continues to Challenge the Status Quo
As senior director of enterprise business operations and transformation at Sunnyvale, CA-headquartered Juniper Networks, Saura Naim has, over her 11-year tenure with this 9,500-plus-employee company, worked across a variety of operational roles in supply chain, IT/business transformation and engineering.
“I currently work in the office of the CFO, driving enterprise transformation by facilitating a more accountable and disciplined approach to enterprise program and robust change management to drive efficiencies in how we do business internally and make it easier for our customers and partners to engage externally,” explains Naim.
“I’m also responsible for incubating and expanding operational capabilities in licensing and cloud marketplace operations,” says Naim, who joined Juniper with a wealth of prior experience.
“Over my 30 years in operations, I’ve gained experience in a number of different technical areas,” notes Naim, who holds a Master of Science in management from Boston University/Ben Gurion University and is a graduate of Stanford University’s executive program.
What initially led Naim to Juniper was her desire to join (what was then) a mid-sized company where she could add value to the operations team. Drawn to the company’s culture and goal to connect things and empower everyone, she began as a director of supply chain operations, responsible for the manufacturing footprint that supported approximately 50 percent of Juniper’s routing business revenue at that time.
“I’ve now broadened my exposure understanding of the E2E (end-to-end) business in all of its complexity to assure operational excellence and business agility at a $4.5B corporation,” she says.
Today Juniper continues to challenge the status quo with products, solutions and services that are the backbone of our digitally connected world.
“Juniper co-innovates and partners with its customers to deliver automated, scalable and secure networks with agility, performance and value,” underscores Naim.
Currently responsible for driving consistent, cross-functional alignment and engagement to deliver strategic and efficient capabilities, she and her team, among other charges, assure organizational efficiency by streaming work flow, aligning access across multiple cross-functional teams and incorporating automation where possible.
“Working in Silicon Valley with likeminded coworkers with business and technical skills is an exciting workplace environment. It offers the opportunity to join forces to design and deliver new technologies, capabilities and innovation across the entirety of Juniper’s businesses and services worldwide,” says Naim.
She says she finds the people she works with, and the challenges she encounters, to be an inspiring backdrop for many career opportunities. Her advice for those considering the telecom arena is not to be afraid of taking on challenges and seeking opportunities that inspire.
In her case Naim enjoys the challenges of transforming and enhancing business processes and methodologies. She cites attributes such as hard work, strategic thinking, trust in yourself and others, as well as the ability to collaborate and partner in the process of attaining common goals and objectives, as particularly necessary for success.
A busy and devoted wife and mother of three, she’s also active in Watermark, the Tech Women Mentoring Community, mentoring individuals from Cameroon and Kazakhstan and soon Pakistan, and serves as a board member of Habonim Dror’s Camp Gilboa.
More information about Juniper Networks is available at juniper.net/us/en/company/careers, and follow on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Connectivity Check: Juniper
With 92 offices in 43 countries, Juniper Networks co-innovates with its customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure networks.
Skyworks’ Srirattana Works to Develop & Advance Tech
At Woburn, MA-headquartered Skyworks Solutions, Nuttapong Srirattana, senior manager of engineering, epitomizes the company’s determination and achievement of empowering the wireless networking revolution.
“Our highly innovative analog semiconductors are connecting people, places and things, spanning a number of new and previously unimagined applications within the cellular infrastructure, smartphone, tablet, medical, industrial and numerous other markets,” he says, noting that 8,000-employee Skyworks Solutions is a global, S&P 500 company with engineering, marketing, operations, sales and support facilities located throughout North America, Asia and Europe.
With 12 years of industry experience in radio frequency (RF) and microwave integrated circuit (IC) designs for cellular and wireless applications, he’s been at Skyworks for eight years.
“Joining Skyworks fulfilled my long-held desire to be a part of a leading RF company where I would have the opportunity to help develop products that enable the growth of wireless communications,” relates Srirattana, who holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Having achieved that goal, he now leads the RF switch, antenna tuning and RF coupler product division, working with company leaders and engineers to develop and advance technology and product portfolio to help customers solve complex product design issues.
With wireless communication one of the fastest-growing high-tech sectors, he sees that growth continuing, propelled by the never-ending demand for faster speed, higher latency, large data transfer and communication.
“There’s huge potential within the wireless communication industry fueled by the movement toward the Internet of Things (IoT) and progress toward the 5G standard,” he states, urging those interested in problem-solving and advancements in wireless technology to consider a career in this sector.
Emphasizing the need for skilled employees, Srirattana further stresses the industry’s evolution: “Now is a great time to be educated in wireless and RF technology. New hires should strive to study quickly and be willing to spend extra time to get up to speed. The more experience you have, the quicker you learn.”
He’s also of the opinion that success in the wireless communications field requires hard work and a passion for learning the new technologies vital for this extremely quick-paced environment.
For Srirattana, one of the best aspects of his job is seeing Skyworks devices and customer products succeed in the marketplace.
“I love when my team members accomplish their goals and enjoy what they do,” he says, often reflecting on his grade school years when his uncle, a director of operations at the state-owned phone company in Thailand, taught him to build simple electronic circuits - an endeavor that inspired him to continue learning more about this field.
More information about Skyworks Solutions, Inc. can be found at www.skyworks.com and social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Connectivity Check: Skyworks
Empowering the global wireless networking revolution, Skyworks Solutions, Inc. produces cutting-edge analog semiconductors that connect people, places and things, and has engineering, marketing, operations, sales and support facilities in Asia, Europe and North America.
Ciena’s Finn Assists with Expanding Diversity
With 25 years of industry leadership, Ciena is a network strategy and technology company and supporter of more than 1,300 of the world’s largest networks. It’s also recognized for ensuring a diverse workforce - not only in the traditional sense, but also for recognizing the need to seek people with diverse skill sets.
“We’re at an inflection point in the technology industry,” says Angela Finn, for whom that commitment is relevant, professionally and personally.
With a degree in English, she acknowledges being somewhat of a rarity in the telecom and high-tech arenas. “Telecom is a world within itself, and people need to understand the variety of career options within this sector. From accounting to research and development, sales, engineering, human resources, marketing, operations and IT - telecom needs it all.”
Prior to joining Hanover, MD-based Ciena 11 years ago, Finn led multiple sales teams across a variety of telecom companies in addition to working in academia and advertising.
“My thirst for learning, embracing change and being in awe of technology and its advances led me to this industry,” she says. “When recruited into telecom, I was trying to figure out how best to leverage an English degree in the business world while seeking a career that addressed my passion for learning and for dynamic environments. Sales and telecom fit the bill. Both required critical thinking, problem-solving and breaking new ground.”
According to Finn, the movement to involve more diverse backgrounds in the telecom arena requires building an environment where people are encouraged to offer new perspectives, as well as unique, innovative solutions that include considering new options when hiring.
For example, she mentions looking at software development and coding boot camps, as well four-year degrees, actively recruiting in diverse socio-economic environments and evolving STEM into STEAM to encourage diverse thoughts within organizations.
“Left brains working with right brains lead to new innovations, so why not hire for the who - not just for the what,” she suggests.
Currently, as director of strategic sales, Finn works with one of the largest global network providers. Her responsibilities include supporting new product introduction, merger and acquisition integration and the company’s channel, government and enterprise programs.
“Global connectivity and access to information is how our world continues to evolve, and the telecom industry is the underlying platform to make that happen,” asserts Finn, a member of the International Advisory Board for Global Minded, which promotes comprehensive education, access and career preparation for underserved populations, and the U.S. lead for Women@Ciena, a network of women and men dedicated to encouraging awareness and appreciation for diversity and empowering growth via professional development.
“The continued growth of bandwidth demands and required connectivity is becoming both a challenge and a responsibility for all those - people, businesses and societies - who depend on it.”
Finn attributes her success to staying true to her company, her customers and her principles.
“I continue to be in awe of the technology Ciena produces, the incredible advancements it’s made and the amazing people I work with. I feel great satisfaction in making things happen that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. As long as I feel empowered to do the right thing for Ciena and its customers, and continue to be challenged and grow while helping others, I’m in the right place,” finishes Finn.
Further information about Ciena can be found at ciena.com/about/careers and social media sites such as Twitter @Ciena, LinkedIn, Facebook and the Ciena Insights blog.
Connectivity Check: Ciena
With a drive to create exceptional experiences measured by outcomes, Ciena is a network strategy and tech company celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017, #Ciena25.
U.S. Cellular’s Decker Finds Tech Careers Not Just about Technology
As the fifth largest, full-service wireless carrier in the U.S., Chicago, IL-based U.S. Cellular provides national network coverage and innovations designed to elevate the customer experience.
According to Stephanie Decker, senior manager of network deployment for the central region, U.S. Cellular offers coverage where other carriers don’t, in addition to a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations.
Now in her 10th year at this 6,200-employee company, Decker holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Northern Iowa, as well as an MBA with HR emphasis from Ambrose University.
“When I reflect on the experiences that best prepared me for my present position, I view it in terms of finding my passion for ‘jumping’ into a situation and learning along the way. For me that passion was the field of telecom and, more specifically, wireless,” she says.
Having joined U.S. Cellular as a senior program manager a decade ago, Decker held several positions prior to assuming her current role leading a team of program/project managers and group of engineering administrators within the company’s central region.
With that region covering mainly Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois, Decker and her team are responsible for new cell site construction and deployment of new technology such as VoLTE (Voice over LTE).
Regarding the future of telecom and wireless, Decker says: “It’s a primary career field both now and in the future. This industry connects people to people with an ever-increasing appetite to communicate and receive information faster and with better quality, requiring a greater need for engineers, project managers, testers and other professionals to support on-going advancements in this industry.”
According to Decker, “technological careers are not just about technology, but rather about translating the needs of people into technological solutions for efficiency and quality of life purposes.”
Because of this, she says, “it can be beneficial to pursue marketing, psychology and interpersonal relationships to help communicate with, and understand, the wants and needs of people and how those wants and needs can be translated into technologically based solutions.” She further regards the ability to adapt and embrace constant change as a necessity in the wireless industry, and believes accelerating tech advancements make keeping pace a must.
With U.S. Cellular committed to expanding the number of students, of all ages, in STEM programs, Decker takes pride in participating in technical demonstrations at local Boys & Girls Clubs and 4-H Clubs. She’s also active in Iowa Women Leading Change (IWLC), an organization that supports the advancement of women leaders.
“I love my job,” she notes. “Every day is new and exciting due to constant change, new technology and the necessity to adapt in real time. There’s never a dull moment in the wireless industry, and that makes it a joy to come to work each and every day.”
For more information about the exciting wireless industry, go to uscellular.jobs or facebook.com/uscellular.
Connectivity Check: U.S. Cellular
Part of the TDS family of companies, U.S. Cellular Corporation provides a comprehensive range of wireless products and services and a network to customers with 5 million connections in 23 states.
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