For International Women in Engineering Day 2022 we’re excited to bring you a series of interviews with some incredible #OurJacobs women from around the world. In this article meet Neeru Katyal and learn how she got to where she is today, why she was attracted to a career in STEAM and what she thinks is the best part of working at Jacobs.
Let's talk with Neeru:
Tell us what you’re working on these days.
I’m leading work for an intelligence agency to provide mission owners with data analytics, modeling and simulation, agile engineering, development and test capabilities, so they can make real-time decisions with data at lightning speed. I’m blessed to lead a team of technical and motivated engineers, who plan and deliver solutions with agility and true partnership with the agency counterparts.
What led you to this point on your career path?
I started my career as a data analyst and worked in a range of areas including technical delivery management, testing, operations and sustainment, while learning program management skills along the way. I think it’s important that program managers learn about technical delivery and operations and can be the integrator between growth and sales and operational management.
I obtained a master’s degree in Program Management and Information Systems and then a strategy-focused Executive MBA, both from The George Washington University. I’ve always had a career mentor outside of my organization to guide in my technical delivery, as well as my professional growth. These mentors allowed me to think outside the box. They’ve taught me to take risks and grasp professional opportunities that allow me to add new skills to my toolset.
What inspired you to pursue a career in STEAM?
I pursued a career in STEAM because I wanted to provide women from historically disadvantaged communities with a platform to collaborate, encourage and inspire the younger generation to learn technical skills that can be used in various ways like running operations, growth and sales and executive management.
Tell us about a memorable project you’ve worked on that has helped build a brighter future.
I once worked on a program where the team and I were responsible for writing our own decommission plan. This taught me the importance of collaboration, not only within the internal team, but also across community partners. I had the opportunity to build new partnerships and facilitate employment continuity for my staff during and after the transition period. Being challenged with such a role allowed me to learn more about my personal strengths and understand the importance of putting people first. I firmly believe that the dollar and cents will work itself out, but our most important asset is our people and taking care of them goes a long way.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date?
Don’t immediately react to anything! Everything is temporary and there is a solution to every problem!
“The future of engineering is agile and competitive. We have young talent that’s learning at a much faster speed and with a new mind set. As leaders, we need to understand the importance of listening, be allowed to take risks and execute with new and innovative ideas, some which have never been tried before. ”
What does the future of engineering look like to you?
The future of engineering is agile and competitive. We have young talent that’s learning at a much faster speed and with a new mind set. As leaders, we need to understand the importance of listening, be allowed to take risks and execute with new and innovative ideas, some which have never been tried before.
If you could tell your 18-year-old-self one thing, what would it be?
Hard work always pays off.
People would be surprised to know that I…
Struggled in coding classes in college, but now lead multiple technical software development teams.
What do you enjoy most about being part of #OurJacobs?
Creating what feels like a small family (my division and specific programs) within a larger company. Our work is an integral part of our daily routine, so I make it a point to treat everyone like family, thus listening, being transparent and allowing folks to share new ideas in a safe forum.
About the interviewee
Neeru Katyal serves as Jacobs Geospatial Program Office Division Director and Vice President. A proven senior leader, Neeru brings 12+ years of operational experience on delivering enterprise software and integration capabilities to an intelligence agency. Supporting the agency since 2009, as both program manager and technical lead on multiple contracts, Neeru plays a vital role in program operations, technical delivery and coordination, with both the team and mission partner, to ensure sensor delivery is tested and delivered at high quality and on schedule. Most recently, Neeru has been supporting an open data storage contract, managing both integration and test deliverables. She received her Executive MBA and Masters in Information Technology from The George Washington University. Neeru brings a unique talent of both technical and programmatic expertise, allowing her to engage with CIO-T IPD leadership to further plan software deliveries, automate deployments, and track financials, staffing and schedule milestones.
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