1. Tell us a little bit about your background and your life.
My parents moved to Israel when they got married, and I was born and raised in Jerusalem. I am the oldest of 10 children. My father is a Dayan and community Rav, and my mother is a seminary teacher. Our dinner tables and Shabbos meals were designed to engage us kids to think, ask questions and learn… about everything.
After graduating Beis Yaakov high school, I attended Ofakim Seminary for one year, then completed a double major in computational chemistry at Jerusalem College of Technology, Machon Tal.
Anticipating a career in the sciences using programming skills, I furthered my education with an M.Sc. at Hebrew University in Structural and Molecular Biochemistry. For my thesis, I developed a program in C++ to accurately predict protein binding.
I married in the last year of JCT, started the master’s program a month after my first was born, and somehow passed my master’s thesis exam when my third child was a month old.
When I was finally ready to hit the job market, I was fortunate to already have two toddlers and an infant. Eager to bring in more income, I took a temporary job as a technical writer for a technology startup working flexible hours from home. I advanced within the company and earned people’s trust as a capable team player. Three and a half years later, I was working full time in-office managing a small QA team.
When that company chose to move its offices to a different location, I began to job search again. I was unemployed for 4.5 months until I began working for Intel in a completely different role which I never knew existed. I now feel blessed to have found a place that suits my abilities so well. I work with software and firmware architects to ensure solutions are appropriate for the company’s customers, as well as define an enablement plan to ensure smooth enabling.
The aspects I love most about my job are simplifying and presenting complex technological material, driving feature changes, advocating for the customer, and working with people around the world.
I work full time, yet in a very flexible and trusting environment. Some days I work more, some days less. I work evenings when necessary, but I also take off whenever I want to. I am not working in the sciences as I had originally planned, yet my day to day is dynamic, exciting and brings me joy. Maybe one day I’ll bring these skills with me back to the sciences. I believe the tools I have acquired are transferrable to many different domains.
2. Where do you live?
I live in Ramot Bet, a neighborhood in north Jerusalem, Israel.
3. What field of technology do you work in?
Firmware Customer Engineering
4. What got you interested in technology? Did you always want to work with computers?
I was interested in the sciences and aware that the future of science would be very digital. The job market for tech positions is larger and more competitive than the sciences, and I knew that that was where I wanted to be.
I don’t enjoy housework and I don’t want to be overburdened by it. My salary allows me to have someone else take care of the laundry, straighten up the house, and do all the deep cleaning. I wouldn’t even know how to do it even if I wanted to. I still do the cooking and baking, but it is so much easier when someone else cleans up before and after.
5. Were your family and friends supportive?
My parents have been extremely supportive throughout; putting me through school and helping with the kids in the early years.
My husband is my rock and we are partners in running the house and taking care of the kids. Some things are more his department, and some are mine. When I am putting in more hours at work, he takes over more. When I have more time, I do more.
Some may feel it would be cooler and more meaningful if I was working in the sciences. I don’t think they fully understand how interesting, dynamic, and exciting working in “computers” can be.
5. Did you attend a college or study program? If yes, which one and why did you choose that specific program?
Yes, I attended Machon Tal and Hebrew University. It was important to me to be in an all-women’s college while single.
6. What were you looking for in a study program?
I wanted a degree that would help me get hired.
7. Did your study program accommodate your religious lifestyle?
8. Did your study program allow you to have a flexible study schedule?
Hebrew University was very flexible, Machon Tal less so.
9. In what way has your degree/study helped you in your life?
Intel would not have hired me without a degree in computer science.
10. Do you think your degree was instrumental in finding a job and did it impact the level of your salary?
Definitely. Having a degree was the first step in building my career.
11. Describe a day in your life.
Every day is different. If I have an 8am meeting… that is an early day. I put in my best hours at night. During the day I have meetings and get my tasks done. From 3:50pm to 7:30pm, my calendar is blocked, but sometimes I do accommodate a meeting then, when it requires attendees across the three time zones – US, Taiwan, and Israel. Sometimes I get back to work from 8pm and can potentially work until midnight, or even until 1am. Putting in a lot of time at night, gives me more flexibility during the day. Sunday is usually my quietest workday as the rest of the world isn’t working.
12. How do you straddle the work/life balance?
I do what I want when I want. I know what needs to get done and decide when to do it. I set my work hours and determine when I accept work meetings. At the same time, I also feel comfortable telling my kids “Mommy is busy now.” I try to streamline work and life whenever possible. I keep a crib next to my desk so my baby can nap near me and use a wireless noise-cancelling headset so I can walk around and take care of things while working. The mute button is my best friend.
I got a motorized sitting/standing desk, which my work mostly subsidized, and a balance board with a movement/ exercise option. With the click of a button, the desk comes down, so I can sit and nurse while continuing to work. The standing mode enables me to babywear while working, which both my baby and I really enjoy.
Sometimes balancing means getting creative and seeing how work and life can overlap.
Lastly, COVID helped normalize the idea of hearing kids in the background while working. Now it is no big deal.
13. What challenges did you face when you first entered the tech world?
It’s a learning process. I learned a lot about big company culture, setting priorities, and career goals.
14. What lessons have you learned?
The main lesson I connect with was conveyed perfectly in a PragerU.com video I once saw. The message was “Don’t follow your passion, but always bring it with you.”
I believe that if you only follow your passion, you’ll often end up unhappy. You may be doing something you love, but if it doesn’t answer other needs in your life, you’ll grow resentful. If you follow a practical path, yet brings passion along with you, you’ll usually end up happier, because you’ll feel fulfilled, yet still be meeting your other needs. There are always hobbies you can pursue on the side (I have many)…
15. What advice & tips would you offer those entering the tech field?