International Women’s Day – Esther John

Women in Big Data is spotlighting 8 amazing women on March 8th, International Women’s Day.
Esther John is Director System Stacks Engineering in the Intel, Architecture, Graphics and Software Organization at Intel Corporation.

Our World*

I wake up every day blessed to be working as an engineer. The prospects that technology holds in solving difficult challenges energizes me daily. I grew up in Nigeria, West Africa, and from an early age, I had a strong interest in mathematics and science. I remember looking forward to going to class and learning new theories. I was also fortunate that my mom was an educator. From an early age she instilled in me the importance of constant learning and hard work.

Most of my birthday presents were books, which provided me the opportunity to become an active, lifelong reader. To this day, I am constantly intrigued by reading new books, articles, whitepapers and publications.

After graduating from Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, I moved to Folsom, California to start my career as a software engineer at Intel Corporation. What have stood out to me throughout my career have been strong engineers and leaders (men and women) who have made the time to mentor or sponsor me. These mentors provided me the freedom to shape my own path, but were always there providing guidance when needed. I am grateful to have known such strong colleagues who continue to support me as I navigate my career even to this day.

My Interests

Over my career at Intel, I’ve engaged in several roles, including software engineer, program manager and people manager and others. Currently, I am director of the System Stacks Engineering team, delivering full software stacks that are optimized for Intel platform features and lead to performance benefits for developers and Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). Thanks to our efforts, developers can focus on software differentiation, with stacks targeting segments such as Deep Learning/Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Analytics, Databases and others.

What truly excites me every day is working with engineers tackling difficult problems in groundbreaking areas such as Deep Learning/AI. I am excited to be part of the evolution and impact that Deep Learning/AI makes in our everyday lives. My hope is that we continue to innovate in this field, while creating rules and regulations that keep these solutions safe for humans.

My Guidance to Women in STEM

As an African American female engineer, it hasn’t been easy navigating the world of tech. I’ve found the key to perseverance is knowing what you want, having the drive to leave a positive legacy that paves the path for others to come, and never giving up, no matter the situation. You need to surround yourself with people that build you up and have similar goals. Always ensure that whatever project you are working on excites you. Constantly ask yourself the question, “How does my project/work impact the world?” You’ll find that once you are able to answer that question and identify the positive impact of your efforts, you become stronger and able to face any situation.

Future Looking

In our day-to-day lives, we can truly influence this world through engineering and science. Ideas and innovations are endless! Every day introduces a set of problems that needs to be solved to make this world a better place. Almost every engineer I’ve met is driven by the need to tackle problems and architect solutions. My hope is we as humans continue to challenge ourselves, see the best in people (however difficult), impact this world positively, have a growth mindset—and most especially, continue to be the best engineers we could ever be!

*This blog expresses my personal views and not the views of Intel Corporation.

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