How I became a techie: Yoona Kim

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How I became a techie: Yoona Kim

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Yoona, senior engineer at @Qualcomm_GA, enjoys working with the latest #tech before it hits the market. http://bit.ly/2aM91Zz #STEM
Monday, April 11, 2016 - 12:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Inclusion and Diversity

CONTENT: Blog

“I really enjoy learning about new technology before it’s released. It’s always so rewarding.” —Yoona Kim

I’m pretty late in joining tech, compared to some people. My parents really wanted me to be open-minded. They wanted me to have as much of a chance as I could. My uncle recommended me to get into electrical engineering, and at first I didn’t have that much interest. But when I went to school, I joined a club and was on the wireless communication team. Through that, I began following the latest electronic products and started searching through every newspaper for wireless and tech news.

I knew about Qualcomm and that it had a college program which took 30 students from Korea and brought them to the San Diego headquarters. I applied and luckily, I was accepted. I got to visit Qualcomm, and we were [divided into] three teams. I was the presenter for my team and got to present our ideas on Next Generation Mobile Phones to Paul Jacobs [Executive Chairman of Qualcomm]. Also, I got to see a lot of new technologies before they reached the market and tried some demos. I was so impressed. Before that I was thinking about engineering, but I wasn’t that passionate or enthusiastic. But the people I met at the Qualcomm College program—those guys were really smart and had good ideas. They impacted me a lot.

I remember asking my mom to buy me LEGOs instead of dolls. I still have LEGOs on my desk. There’s an exclusive LEGO of women engineers and scientists—I bought them and it made me really happy. I’m the only girl on my team. Almost the only girl in my building. It means a lot to me, because while I don’t know the names of all the male engineers, most of them know mine. I felt like I was under more of a spotlight and sometimes that made me feel a lot of responsibility. I think of it more in a positive light—it gives me momentum and motivates me to work hard, be better and give more support to others.

I really recommend students interested in tech to have fun. Gender perception doesn’t matter. Just try as much as you can. When I volunteer for STEM education programs, like maker classes, I see more boys than girls. I want more girls to be curious [about STEM], but first they should play more with this stuff.

Yoona Kim is a senior engineer at Qualcomm. She still loves working with wireless technology and getting to work with the latest tech before it hits markets. 

Keywords: Diversity & Inclusion | Careers | Innovation & Technology | Qualcomm | STEM | engineering | women

CAMPAIGN: Inclusion and Diversity

CONTENT: Blog

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