Inspirational Woman: Ayesha Iqbal | Senior IEEE Member & Lecturer in Engineering, The Bedford College Group

Ayesha IqbalAyesha Iqbal is a senior IEEE member and lecturer in engineering at The Bedford College Group.

She has a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Engineering & Technology, Lahore, Pakistan, and served as a lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Management & Technology, Lahore, Pakistan for nine years.

During her ten years professional experience, Ayesha has produced seven publications including a book chapter, served as a reviewer for various international conferences and organisations, and as a judge at engineering project competitions, as an external examiner for Thesis Evaluation, and as a Subject Specialist in various different organisations.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

Besides teaching a number of theory and lab courses to engineering students, I have supervised a number of final year projects, two of which were published as research papers in international conferences. I’ve published three conference papers, four journal papers and one book chapter, and have also been awarded with a research travel grant by the higher education commission of Pakistan.

I’ve served as a reviewer for various organisations, such as Telecommunications and Signal Processing Conference (TSP), Elsevier, IEEE Communication Surveys and Tutorials, and Wiley. Additionally, I’ve judged at engineering project competitions within a number of universities while serving as an external examiner for evaluation of master’s thesis.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I think many of us set goals and plan our future, but it doesn’t always go to plan. Although my career plan has taken several turns, I have always wanted to be a high achiever. Therefore, I have remained determined and consistent, somehow finding a way to achieve goals in a career which I’m passionate about.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

I’ve faced a number of challenges since starting out, both career-related and personal. However, I’ve remained steadfast, consistent, devoted, and never lost hope. It was only with the help of strong willpower, faith, and enthusiasm, that I was able to overcome all obstacles and made a way for myself.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

There are many achievements in my career, and it is difficult to choose the biggest! Probably, being known as the ‘best teacher’ by my students is the best feeling in the world. My research contributions, especially presenting my research paper at a conference in London, was a proud moment for me. Currently, working in the UK and representing “Women in Engineering” is a great honour for me. Also, being elevated to the Senior Member of IEEE last year was one of my biggest achievements.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

Hard work, commitment, strong work ethics, honesty, consistency, and self-motivation.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

An individual trying to excel in their career in technology should indulge themselves in research, with a particular focus on new research areas.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

Yes, there are still barriers for women working in STEM. They can be overcome by promoting and providing equal opportunities regardless of gender, so that women can feel confident enough to step into this field. Young females should be encouraged to join this industry and the success stories of accomplished women in STEM should be shared with wider communities so that more women can be inspired.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Companies should provide equal career opportunities for both women and men. Selection and promotion criteria should be fair; it should be solely based on capability, talent, and the skill of a person. There should be no difference in salary based on gender.

There are currently only 21 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Encouraging young females.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

For women working in tech, the resources I would recommend are networking events and conferences, as well as professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn.