My journey so far as a female in Electronics Manufacturing

When we are young, we are often asked what we want to do when we ‘grow up’. The books we read, and the television shows we watch start to shape us. They show us that ‘grown up’ jobs include doctors or nurses, policemen and women, firefighters, vets, construction workers, retail workers, dancers, and singers.

Jess Plank

The truth is the jobs we are exposed to as children are a tiny part of what the world has to offer. And very few of us know what we want to do from an early age. It’s not really until we start gaining work and life experiences that things start to become clearer. But even then, a huge amount of people today find themselves working in a job they never knew existed when they were younger.

As a female working for a global contract design and electronics manufacturing company here’s my story on how I got here and some of my personal experiences.

 

The early days

After finishing elementary and middle school, I then had several options available to me. I had already decided that an apprenticeship wasn’t for me, so my options were to choose to go to either the “HAK” (Handesakademie - economics related), “HTL” (Höhere Technische Lehranstalt - technical related) or “HLW” (Höhere Lehranstalt für wirtschaftliche Berufe - cooking/gastronomy related).

I opted for an academic secondary school that specialized in economics (Handelsakademie) as at the time, my favourite subjects were accounting, business administration, and mathematics.

During this time, I was encouraged to get a taste of the working world and spent one month each summer at a company called ESCATEC - the same company I work for today! ESCATEC is a contract design and electronics manufacturer with sites in Switzerland, Malaysia, the UK and Czech Republic and I was first introduced to them by my father who works in the R&D department. My tasks during the summer included data preparation and analysis, participating in weekly internal meetings, and supporting a colleague with administrative tasks while she was on holiday.

Starting out after school

After graduating from secondary school I applied for several office jobs and even though I had spent time there before, I didn’t consider approaching ESCATEC. At the time all I knew was that I wanted to make a difference to any company I worked for or help create something new and exciting. Whether my role would end up being in human resources, accounting, marketing or whether the company would sell cosmetic products, offer financial services or be in manufacturing was all still unclear to me.

I received my first job offer and I was employed as a Human Resources clerk at a temporary employment agency. I stayed there for 2 years and then in my second job I was employed as an accountant at a trust office. During this time, I also completed a Bachelor degree in business administration at the Hamburger-Fern-Hochschule which is a privately financed distance learning university in Germany.

Although both jobs gave me useful work experience, they didn’t give me the creativity or career development opportunities I was looking for. I was then made aware by my father that ESCATEC were growing as a company and recruiting for a role within the Business Development team. As I had worked there in the summer for several years and already knew some of the people, I decided to go for it!


Finally arrived

Finally, I arrived back at ESCATEC. On my first day of work, I had a welcome card and chocolates waiting for me at my workstation and I knew I had made a good choice. My first position was as a Lead Generation Expert which helped me get an overview of the Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) industry which was completely new to me.

During the first three months, I followed an onboarding plan which included all the different pieces of training I need to complete to do my job – like understanding more about who our customers, suppliers and competitors were as well as the design and manufacturing services we offer. Working through the training plan was very pleasant for me as I already knew many of the faces from my summer vacation jobs.

When I started working full time at ESCATEC there were lots of new things to learn. These included communicating regularly in English (German is my first language), learning all the company standards and procedures, the software programs we use, working with different cultures across different manufacturing sites, and most importantly building up a technical understanding.

The two challenges I was worried about the most were communicating in English and building up my technical understanding of things like Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA), Micro-Opto-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MOEMS), Plastic Injection Moulding and other services we offer. I’m pleased to say these two personal learning challenges for me are getting easier as I am constantly in contact with the English language and exposed to technical projects daily. It also helps that my work colleagues are very helpful and always happy to answer any questions or uncertainties I have!

After one year of working at ESCATEC I was offered a new job role and now I am working as a Marketing Coordinator. I am very happy that ESCATEC gave me this chance and that they continue to support me. It’s a great company to work for and it is very exciting to be at the forefront of how technology is developing in the market. As an EMS provider, we get to design exciting new products alongside our customers that don't even exist yet on the market which I find really cool.

If someone told me when I was young that I would work for a design or electronics manufacturing company, I would not have understood what they meant. I never read stories or saw these types of jobs on television shows when I was younger. In fact, they still don’t exist! But, these jobs are available on the market and so are many more like them. My advice to someone that is now considering a new job that they might not have heard of before is to go for it. You have nothing to lose, and it could end up being the best decision of your life!

A seamless transition from med tech design to manufacturing

 

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