Ani Tumanyan is a passionate mathematician from Yerevan, Armenia with a Ph.D. in Mathematics and a Lead R&D Engineer at Siemens Digital Industries Software. She juggles her role at Siemens while also teaching Numerical and Functional Analysis at the Russian-Armenian University. Recently, she welcomed a two-month-old baby boy into her life along with a new hobby, writing. A mathematician at heart, her pregnancy and maternity leave allowed her to delve into technical writing about algorithms and solving problems.
Keep reading to hear all about Ani's journey into coding and technical writing!
What does a day in your role at Siemens look like?
“I am a Lead Engineer and I work on design and implementation of Electronic Design Automation software. I own the core competence of our application. So, coding is about 50% of my role. As a Lead Engineer, I mentor junior staff and provide technical knowledge and assistance. I try to answer all of their questions and I guide them on the technical aspects and functional requirements they need to collect. I also work with the quality assurance and marketing teams to meet functional requirements.”
What motivates you in your role as a lead engineer?
"I am motivated by the technical aspects. In the recent year, I found that leadership skills and working with people are very important for me. I want to be useful for the company and my team. I particularly like sharing knowledge, which is something I enjoy when doing presentations and during discussions."
Do you work in person or remote?
"After COVID, we mostly worked remote. Now, we are in hybrid mode, so we can choose to work in the office or in person. Currently, I am on maternity leave (I have a 2-month-old baby boy) and I plan to return to work in September."
Do you prefer working remotely or in person?
"Since I have a very little baby, I prefer working remotely; but, overall I like the hybrid structure. I think it is the most productive model because we can have in-person communication but also the flexibility to work from home."
Do you think working from home will help you juggle having a young baby while also doing your work?
"Yes, most definitely."
I noticed on your profile that you studied mathematics.
"Yes, I have a Ph.D. in mathematics. I completed my Ph.D. about 3 years ago. And now I am a member of the Armenian state scientific committee that awards Ph.D. in Mathematics."
What aspect of mathematics interests you?
"I defended my Ph.D. in pure mathematics, functional analysis, and differential equations. At Siemens Digital Industries Software, I mostly work on applied mathematics projects and developing various algorithms and data structures. The skills and mindset from my education are foundational for my role at Siemens."
When did you first take an interest in coding?
"In high school, I was interested in solving mathematical and programming puzzles. This pushed me to continue my education in applied mathematics and informatics. I enjoy solving puzzles and algorithmic problems. I also participated in some conferences and contests which helped me to see that I wanted to continue my career in this. When I made it to university, I started working at the university laboratory. Then, after that, I was able to get a job at a tech company where I improved my technical knowledge and soft skills."
How did you juggle being a university student and working at the same time?
"It was difficult, but the desire and interest in the subjects helped me. I love creating something new, whether it's knowledge, a software problem, or an article in mathematics. This motivated me during that time."
Why did coding as a career path appeal to you?
"It appealed to me because I started from technical subjects such as mathematics and physics. Once I jumped into programming, I saw that there were many connections between my interests. Coding provided a lot of interesting understanding for me because I like the creation of something new, such as a software program or some piece of code."
Was it challenging to make the jump from mathematics to coding?
"No. Since they were both interests of mine and I felt that mathematics and programming were connected; I felt that an academic career and a career as an engineer were also related."
How do these two interests relate for you? What are the similarities?
"Both of these interests fulfill me because they each have a specific beauty about them. While I am always juggling both, for certain periods of time, I tend to concentrate on one more than the other. They both need high concentration and precision."
Is there a specific coding language that is the most engaging for you?
"Yes, in my current role, we work mostly with C++ and scripting languages such as Python and TcL. These are very common in the Electronic Design Automation field. I personally prefer C++, Python, and Java."
What do you like about those languages?
"I like the object-oriented part of C++. The latest features and standards of C++ are very valuable in our field. I also work on the core competence of the system (core algorithms and data structure designs) which works very well with C++."
I read on your profile that you are a university professor. What is your favorite thing about teaching?
"I love sharing techniques and approaches that are helpful for my students in their careers as professional programmers or engineers. I enjoy seeing the different interests among my students."
What classes do you teach?
"I teach Numerical and Functional Analysis at the Russian-Armenian University. My subjects include the mathematical foundations of computer science and programming. We often use the tool Mathematica for our calculations and exercises."
How do you juggle teaching and being a lead engineer?
"I have about 2-3 lessons a week, which is around a 4-hour commitment. My company and my team motivate me so much to teach and they understand my desire to teach. My company is very supportive and they encourage me to pursue this passion."
What have you learned from being a teacher?
“I have learned how to track an audience and provide them with information that would be most interesting to them. The students want to learn, so I try to concentrate on their needs and passions. I have learned to be more flexible and have improved my communication skills. It can be challenging to attract the attention of students because they have so many interests outside of the classes. So this can be challenging, but I have improved a lot.”
How did you hear about Educative Answers?
"I knew Educative from the Grokking Modern System Design Interview. I completed the course and then saw some author links on the website. So I decided to try technical writing with Educative Answers."
How long have you been an Educative Answers contributor?
"I joined in January 2022, so I am a new contributor. I really enjoy it so far because I like sharing knowledge."
Is technical writing a new hobby for you?
"Yes, I actually started to write when I was pregnant. I was motivated by the baby and my background in writing mathematical academic papers helped me get started quickly."
Do you enjoy technical writing?
"During my pregnancy and maternity leave, I have been enjoying writing, and I love the review process on Educative Answers. The notes that I received from the review team were very useful. I like the idea of sharing knowledge with a larger audience and getting feedback. What attracted me the most to Educative Answers is that it brings together a worldwide community. There is a wide range of interests and topics available on Educative Answers."
Do you feel that technical writing is helping you in your career as an engineer?
"Yes because I think that sharing knowledge will make you more precise and the topics will help readers with technical aspects and soft skills. It also connects you to a wider audience and gives the writer more visibility."
Is there an aspect of technical writing that you enjoy the most since starting?
"It's very exciting to pick a topic. The first thing I enjoy is writing the schema of the article; the details take more attention. There is a wide variety of topics that I want to write on, but I try to pick what would be the most engaging for the audience."
Do you still code for fun while you are on maternity leave?
"Yes, I love solving algorithmic challenges and designing complex data structures. Anything related to mathematical aspects allows me to combine my two interests in coding and math. It is part of my daily routine. I am currently working on some mathematical papers. I am so grateful for my baby because he motivates me and gives me energy. But he also takes a lot of my time."
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Do you have any passions outside of coding?
"I love traveling! I used to participate in conferences which allowed me to visit other cities. My other hobbies include yoga and exercising."
While you were traveling for conferences, did you have a favorite destination?
"I like Hanover, Germany. There are many beautiful parks there. I also enjoy visiting Austria. Additionally, I was very excited to visit Tokyo, Japan which is quite different from European cities."
What do you envision for your future in coding?
"I hope to develop my technical skills further and drive bigger teams. My team right now is 5 people."
Do you have any advice for aspiring engineers?
"Find the most interesting thing, identify it, and go ahead. Don't be afraid to choose something unpopular or difficult. Just find the most interesting thing for you and success will come."
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