Career Quick Look
Mechanical Engineering Technology
"Know yourself and what you do best. Be strong and
don't let what people say affect you. Believe in yourself."
"Don't think of yourself as the only female, you've all
chosen to be there. If they don't accept you, it's their
loss and your gain because you're there proving yourself
right beside them." Getting Started: Malyphone
Khamsyvoravong had always planned on pursuing an education,
but didn't know right away which career to settle on.
She had been running her family jewelry business, working
at additional odd jobs and taking elective courses at
CCRI, but Maly wanted to develop a career to earn more
money to care for her infant and toddler.
Education: Following her family's wishes, Maly
started a nursing program at CCRI but soon found that
she didn't like it and began exploring different options.
Maly's assessment exams showed that she had a proficiency
in mathematics and science and she had always had a fascination
with robotics and liked taking things apart and putting
them back together. The Mechanical Engineering program
at CCRI caught her attention and she decided to pursue
it. Maly is currently in the process of completing her
degree, but has already gained enough experience to wet
her feet in the industry. She now works full-time as an
ISO Quality Auditor at Coto Technology earning approximately
$28,000 per year, and she hasn't even graduated yet!
Greatest Professional Achievement: Maly's greatest
professional accomplishment at Coto Technology is achieving
a complete quality audit as a brand new employee while
correcting numerous mistakes left by her predecessor,
and achieving that goal in half the projected time. She
completed what was thought to be six-month project in
only three months. Maly is also proud of succeeding so
well in a difficult educational program and earning the
acceptance of her classmates.
Barriers: Emerging from a traditional Laotian family,
Maly faced some cultural barriers in pursuing her education.
While her family encouraged going to school, they did
not support her choice to major in Mechanical Engineering
Technology. They preferred a traditional female path,
such as nursing. Furthermore, as the oldest child in her
family, she was also expected to focus much time and energy
caring for her grandparents and other family members,
not to mention raising her own children. While this put
a strain on Maly's schedule and emotions, she was certain
about her career choice and didn't let these difficulties
Working with Men: Working with men and attending
classes as the only female has not posed a problem for
Maly. While she notices that her male counterparts are
usually skeptical about her abilities at first, she minds
her own business and works to prove her abilities to herself.
When they see this, they accept her for what she is: a
woman in technology who is great at what she does. For
other women finding themselves in predominantly male environments,
she advises, "Don't think of yourself as the only female,
you've all chosen to be there. If they choose not to accept
you, it's their loss and your gain because you're there
proving yourself right beside them. Being the only female
just makes you more special."
Advice for Women: Maly feels that the most important
factor when exploring a career is knowing yourself well
and what you do best. She states, "Explore your options
to see what you're comfortable with and stick with that.
Don't let what people say affect you. Believe in your
self. And don't force yourself to do something you don't
like because it will be harder in the long run."
Typical Workday/Environment: Maly's job as a quality
inspector is very detail-oriented and involves a high
volume of paperwork. As the only quality inspector in
the facility, she must maintain all component records
and make sure production meets quality standards. Maly
tours the facility daily and converses with technicians
and engineers to troubleshot problems. In a single day,
Maly may communicate with over 200 people as well as correspond
with the company's facility in Mexico via e-mail. In addition
to this, she schedules meetings with other departments
to solve problems. Maly reports to upper management necessitating
professional dress on the job. She says that problem solving
and the ability to think independently are the two most
important skills in this line of work.
Career Ladder: As an entry-level quality auditor,
you can expect around $25,000 per year to start. Obtaining
Quality Engineer Certification may raise your salary to
around $40,000 or $50,000 per year. With several years
of experience, a management position could earn $60,000+
per year, depending on your level of experience and where
you work. Coto Electronics will pay for better certification
and training to help employees succeed while remaining
at the same company. Researching this option before you
hire on with a company could be an important step in advancing
you skills in the future.
Professional Associations: American
Society for Quality
Hobbies: When not at work or school, Maly likes
to spend time with her kids reading, drawing, watching
movies or spending time at the park playing or walking
for exercise. Maly also enjoys de-assembling her computer
or doing Internet research to further explore her career
*Annual salary number is not the role model's actual salary. Salary for Technology Inspector based on the latest salary information from Salary.com