Interview with Astrid WANG, 2004 Epita graduate currently working in an IT security company in Singapore.
Gemalto is an essential player in the domain of IT security and particularly in the sector of smart cards like SIM cards, Bank cards, Insurance cards, Electronic Passports etc.
At the Singapore office, I am a project manager in banking and I manage a team of developers. Our team develops applications for VISA, MasterCard, American Express etc. that can be found in the pockets of millions of users in Asia as well as in Europe, Canada and around the world.
The time between development and distribution can be very short. It is both exciting and a little scary because you have to meet deadlines and ensure an excellent quality: the consequences of any failure on the ground can have a major impact.
Tell us about your journey after graduating from EPITA?
I did my graduation internship in the research department of Intel in Beijing on the theme of compilation for multi-core processors. It was interesting, but I realized that I preferred to work in an industry where results are visible quickly, which is rarely the case in the areas of research.
In 2005, I came back to France and joined Gemalto. At first, as a R&D Engineer in France, then in Germany where I stayed for three years. I started with the development and testing of applications on credit cards. Then, wishing to stretch my legs, I took advantage of the national project of Gesundheitskarte in Germany (German Carte Vitale/National Health Care) for a complete change of position and occupy a role of pre-sales and technical coordination.
The work involved a lot of traveling through Germany, to find potential partners and distributors for the health card reader that we developed. The second role was participating in specification committees to understand the technical requirements (infrastructure, data storage, information security) related to this project, and ensure that our product be certified. At the end of my expatriation in Germany, I was sent to Singapore.
Why did you choose another country?
From a personal point of view, being abroad is quite exciting for me because I like exposure and cultural pluralism. No need to go far to be out of place: I enjoyed Germany for its quality of life!
From a professional point of view, I am equally sure that having accepted my first assignment in Germany made me stand out and gave me some visibility within my company, when I had spent only six months there. This is a distinct advantage in an international company with ten thousand employees.
However, it is certain that being abroad is a major decision. In Singapore, my team is multicultural, consisting of Chinese, Indonesians, Filipinos, Malaysians and Indians. I realized that my usual method of communication will not necessarily work with many of them who have different habits. It is therefore necessary to adapt!