Women in Tech

An Interview with Everywoman Finalist ... Deepanjali Goyal, Arm

14th March 2024
Sheryl Miles

Meet Deepanjali Goyal, a Functional Safety Engineer at Arm, who has journeyed from small town roots to an illustrious career through to becoming a finalist for the everywoman Cyber Security award.

An inspiring and engaging story, Goyal exemplifies resilience and a pursuit of excellence in the world of tech.

The childhood influence

Goyal's path to success was very much influenced by her upbringing.

"My career choice was profoundly shaped by my father, who served as the University Professor of Chemistry in the small Indian town where I spent my childhood.”

The encouragement from her parents to engage in science experiments and tackle technical problems laid the groundwork for her career in technology, and she credits her early interest in the tech field to this nurturing environment.

“By my early teens, I had already decided to pursue a career in technology. After completing my Engineering degree, I embarked on my professional journey at Cadence Design Systems in Noida, India. After spending over six years at Cadence, I later worked at HCL Technologies and ST Microelectronics. Finally, I moved to the UK to join Arm in April 2020 as a Functional Safety engineer in the GPU team.”

Diverse experiences in technology

A career infused by adaptability and a drive for learning, Goyal reflects on the varied nature of her projects across different industries, from telecom to aerospace.

"At the onset of my career, I delved into a diverse array of projects … Some of the projects I undertook for clients or mobile applications were characterised by rapid feature enhancements and completion within tight timelines of three–six months, necessitating adaptability and agility.

“Conversely, research-oriented or future-driven projects commenced with meticulous planning but encountered unforeseen challenges along the way. Successfully executing such ventures demanded patience, perseverance, and offered invaluable learning opportunities.

“On the opposite end of the spectrum, aerospace projects adhered to meticulously planned and defined stages, spanning several years to ensure stringent adherence to quality standards, safety protocols, and reliability measures. Contributing to the certification process to meet these exacting standards instilled in me a profound sense of responsibility and achievement.

“These varied experiences deepened my fascination for the specialised realm of automated and autonomous driving, leading me to specialise and acquire expertise in the field of Functional Safety.”

The role of a Functional Safety Expert

Explaining the role of a Functional Safety Expert, Goyal shares: "Automotive Functional Safety (FuSa) is defined as the freedom from unacceptable risk due to hazards caused by malfunctioning behaviour in electrical and/or electronic systems that get used in modern road vehicles.”

Outlining the comprehensive process of achieving ISO certification, Goyal emphasises the importance of safety planning, risk mitigation, and continuous improvement in ensuring the safety of automotive systems.

“The process commences with safety activity planning and the formulation of safety requirements. Various safety analyses are conducted to identify potential design malfunctions, followed by measures to mitigate these. Mathematical analyses are then performed to evaluate diagnostics, and documentation is prepared. The culmination of this process is ISO 26262 certification by external auditors. Functional safety experts also help in providing support regarding functional safety queries and assisting in the integration of FuSa IPs.”

Overcoming challenges

Joining Arm during the pandemic presented considerable challenges for Goyal, nevertheless, owing to her resilience, logical reasoning, and the support from her family and colleagues, the transition to a new country amidst global upheaval was navigated with patience and commitment.

"The People team and Onboarding team supported us for over a year until the situation normalised. Professionally, my team proved incredibly supportive and welcomed me.”

Advise to women

Goyal is passionate about encouraging women to pursue careers in technology, particularly in specialised areas like functional safety.

“Functional safety stands as an emerging and specialised sector, set to redefine the trajectory of autonomous vehicles. With a surge in activity over the past decade, it offers fresh opportunities for newcomers. Within this domain, individuals can actively contribute to crafting safer vehicles that champion the safety of both current and forthcoming generations.

“To women entering the tech industry, I advise perseverance and a steadfast commitment to pursuing the best for themselves. Aim high, work towards your goals, and light the path for others.”

Leadership and mentorship

Goyal's approach to leadership is deeply human-centric, and she shares her belief that true leadership revolves around people, understanding what motivates them, ensuring that their wellbeing is looked after, and enabling them to grow.

Her early experiences as the only woman in her teams have shaped her inclusive approach, and this drives her to advocate for workplace policies that enhance the experience for women.

“Being the only woman in a team can be isolating, however there can be advantages. For example, I soon forged friendships with women in different teams and connected with many others in the business. From a broader perspective, I have also worked with management to provide input into policies to enhance the workplace experience for women.

“One of the challenges of a traditionally more male-dominated environment can be that it may be some managers first experience of managing a woman. This gives us an opportunity to illustrate that we can perform to the same standards as our male counterparts and defy other common stereotypes. At Arm, we believe that more diverse teams deliver better results and, in my case, I found that my empathy and creative contributions to the team drove further cohesion and contributed to a higher level of excellence in what we were delivering.”

An everywoman nominee

Being a finalist for the everywoman award is a moment of great pride for Goyal as it is a recognition that not only highlights her professional achievements, but it also reinforces her commitment to advocating for women in technology. Goyal sees this accolade as a platform to inspire and mentor the next generation of female leaders.

“On a professional level, this award holds significance in recognising the invaluable contributions of women in technology. When I embarked on my career two decades ago, female role models in technical fields were scarce. These awards shine a light on women across various technical domains and I hope will inspire the next generation of female leaders.”

Goyal stresses the importance of creating a supportive work culture for women, acknowledging the multiple roles they often juggle.

"It's crucial for family members and colleagues to acknowledge and support their efforts," she insists. Her advocacy work aims to encourage more women to enter the tech sector and provide them with the opportunities to succeed.

“I will continue my efforts towards supporting other women in technology and mentoring them to believe in themselves and achieve their potential. I also have a 12-year-old daughter and this accolade will inspire her and many others of her age to achieve and accomplish their ambitions.

“Although organisations are recognising the importance of gender parity in their workforce and making efforts to support women returning to work after maternity or childcare breaks, it's essential to actively encourage more women to pursue careers in the tech sector and provide them with the necessary support and opportunities to advance in their careers.”

A mentor's perspective

At Arm, Goyal is involved in mentoring initiatives that reflect the company's values of trust, openness, and individual growth, and she emphasises the importance of mentorship in professional development.

"Arm has a great buddy scheme which helps all new joiners adapt to the team. In addition to the standard on-job training, members may choose to be mentored by experienced colleagues. The company’s core values of ‘we, not I’ and ‘be your brilliant self’ demonstrate Arm’s commitment to all our growth.”

Inspiring the next generation

Reflecting on her sources of inspiration, Goyal draws parallels with figures like Queen Elizabeth II, emphasising the need for persistence and strategy.

"Progressing in what is often perceived as a male-dominated sphere requires persistence, diligence, and a strategic approach. Personally, when I think of women leading by example and inspiring generations, I think of Queen Elizabeth II and how gracefully she led the country for seven decades. The tech industry still struggles with gender imbalance, so as women in this field, continued inspiration is critical. I see gaining recognition in my field as an opportunity to inspire and empower other women like me navigating the tech landscape. It's about smoothing the path for future generations of women, instilling in them the confidence and determination to aim for influential positions. As a woman deeply rooted in the world of technology and a mother, my aspirations extend beyond personal success. My goal is not only to reach new heights in my career, but to inspire other women, both today and in future generations."

Goyal's journey, marked by perseverance, expertise, and leadership, is a source of inspiration for, inclusivity, support, and advocacy for women who want to make their mark in the world of technology.

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