Be curious, be proactive: How this Uptake engineering leader makes oceans of data more manageable

by Alton Zenon III
October 4, 2018
Matilda Jayakar and her Uptake team posing at outing
image via uptake

Finding the perfect career can be a challenge, but it helps if you know what you want to do from an early age.

Matilda Jayakar, a senior engineering manager at Uptake, discovered her professional calling as a teenager spending time with her father, a retired mathematics and computer applications professor in India. 

Uptake provides predictive AI and IoT tools to companies in industries like manufacturing, oil and gas, energy and transportation — with the central goal of increasing efficiency, enhancing safety and reducing environmental impact.

We spoke with Jayakar about her work at Uptake, how she launched her career in tech and what advice she has for other women looking to do the same.

 

What kickstarted your interest in the tech industry?

As a kid in high school, I worked with my dad on a computer science project to do graphics with a programming language called BASIC. I enjoyed it so much, I knew from then on that I wanted to work in technology.


And what has your career track at Uptake been like?

I have been with Uptake for more than two years and worked as an engineering manager within various teams. I’ve had the opportunity to build and evolve teams to solve numerous technology challenges and build products that deliver true business value.

We’re taking industrial data that is messy and irregular, and making it clean and digestible.”

 

What’s the most interesting challenge your team is taking on right now?

We are building a highly configurable, scalable platform to onboard internet of things data and apply data science. This comes with some of the most interesting technology challenges around developing capabilities to stream, persist and compute high-frequency, high-volume data. In other words, we’re taking industrial data that is messy and irregular, and making it clean and digestible so we can extract important insights about how each customer’s equipment is operating.

 

How do you work with your team to take it on?

By providing clarity around the end goal and empowering the team to be creative in establishing the path to achieve that goal. I strive for transparency and openness in this process. It’s critical to me that everyone on the team knows what they’re responsible for and enjoys what they’re working on.

 

What do you look for in new team members?

I look for engineers who are curious and who enjoy the learning and discovering aspects of problem solving. I also look for engineers who see technology as a passion, not just a job. 

It’s critical to me that everyone on the team knows what they’re responsible for and enjoys what they’re working on.”

 

As an industry veteran, what advice would you give to women who want to work in tech?

My recommendation is to find something you’re passionate about and then work on acquiring the skills. This is an ever-evolving industry, so it’s key that you are informed on what’s changing, what’s new and where you want to fit into that. 

 

Are there any particular resources you would recommend that they seek out?

Coding boot camps are great if you want to jump-start your career in technology or steer toward a different one. Technology meetups and conferences are also great resources if you want to stay updated on what’s new and stay connected through networking opportunities.

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