It’s been a while since we’ve posted a Wednesday’s Women in STEM interview! Meet Mishel Sikder, a Software Engineer working at Microsoft in their security space.
When did you first become interested in STEM?
I’ve always had an affinity for learning, and while exploring all the subjects, something about the problem solving nature of math had appealed to me like no other. I was also awed at how STEM subjects requires individuals to use critical thinking to solve real world problems – big and small. Being able to think critically and knowing about the impact STEM can have in helping the world is what got me very interested in STEM.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I went to school at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts for my undergraduate degree. I double majored in Computer Science and Mathematics. When I started my major my first year, I was one of two girls in my computer science class of 20. By my final year, number of girls in my class were close to 50%!
What is your current profession and how do you use your interests in STEM on a day-to-day basis?
I’m currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft in their security space. Software engineers work on creating many of the tools we use everyday to make our lives easier. My day-to-day involves critical thinking and collaboration at every step to solve problems, and having a background in STEM that encourages that manner of thinking has been very beneficial.
What do you like most about your current job? What do you find most challenging?
At my job, I get to brainstorm ideas and solve unique challenges in the cyber security space to ensure students and educational organizations using Microsoft can have a safe and seamless experience. I really enjoy diving into a new challenge every few weeks, and the impact that my work has on the large number of users of Microsoft products.
The most challenging part of my job is having to constantly having to learn and keep up best practices in the tech industry which are rapidly evolving, and also always staying on top of security practices to prevent hacking attempts.
What advice would you give to young girls who are interested in pursuing STEM activities or careers?
The most important advice I can give to young girls in STEM is to not be afraid of seeking out opportunities to learn and get involved as much as possible. You never know how what might spark your interest until you give it a try.
Anything else our girls would be interested in knowing about you?
I love to paint and sketch in my spare time, and have been doing so since I was 8!