Sevcon's Danielle Walsh

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What’s your job like?

I develop code that goes inside motor controllers for electric vehicles, which are used to control things like the battery and motor. It’s like the brain of the system. It involves programming, electronics, logic and creativity. I’m faced with big issues and problems, where I have imagine how the system might be used, like thinking of the most elegant way of doing something in a time critical situation.


How did you get into engineering?

I attained a Bsc (Hons) from Northumbria in Ethical Hacking – yes that’s a real thing! It’s about the legal form of hacking, where it is used for defence. I just loved the challenge, feeling like we were solving a genuine problem – cybercrime. It was a very cool degree.

While I was there, a lecturer told me Sevcon was looking to recruit someone in the North East for a scholarship. I applied and was chosen, so they paid for my schooling and I went to work for them once I graduated.


What do you enjoy about engineering and manufacturing?

You get to think about different ways of doing things and how computers can help us do that. In my job I create prototypes and I like to name the products after Star Wars characters, but then they go onto get a number designation, which is funny to me. Currently I’m working on C3PO, which is actually a part of the new Gen5 platform Inverter.


What challenges have you faced?

I found in university I kept getting told it was unusual for girls to work in my field and engineering. Then when I got into the workplace at Sevcon, I realised that wasn’t the case and they don’t really care that I’m young or female.

I found in the workplace that I didn’t know as much about electronics as I would have liked, but I’ve been learning on the job.


What advice would you have for a young woman thinking about manufacturing as a career?

I lead two coding clubs – Coder Dojo – in the North East so I meet lots of young women interested in this field. One of the things I try to tell them is that even though engineering isn’t perceived as glamourous, you can bring your own methodical, creative ways of doing things to it. Don’t go along with the assumptions about the industry as every person has something amazing to bring to the table.

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