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Ansys Employee Spotlights

Dee Vagholkar

I have the right skills.

 

My Career Journey

My career journey has been quite a self-exploratory one. I completed my bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) back in India, followed by four years working as a mechanical engineer in oil and gas and the home appliances industry. In 2019, I decided to go back to school to pursue more of a self-designed interdisciplinary engineering degree and started as a grad student at Purdue University. My research overlapped mechanical engineering, user-centric design, programming, some level of augmented reality (AR), and electronics. Soon I began exploring opportunities that allowed me to combine my newly gained skills with my prior experience as a mechanical engineer. 

I joined Ansys Discovery as a testing intern in fall 2020. My internship at Ansys was the perfect fit to cater to my experience as a trained mechanical engineer and working on developing a modern user interface (UI). I did an eight-month remote internship with the testing team and joined as a full-time R&D engineer with the development team this year. I have been with Ansys for a little over a year now. 

How I’d Explain My Job to a Kindergartener

Imagine you have a remote-controlled car. The remote has a lot of dials, buttons, and joysticks. My role is to make sure that when you move the stick, the car understands and starts moving based on your command.  

What I Actually Do

Well, I don’t really work with remote-controlled cars (I wish!). I work on the Ansys Discovery product in the features team. Discovery is a one-stop solution to transform physical product ideas to a manufacturable stage. Our team collaborates with user experience (UX) designers and product managers to implement new features into the software. These features are intended to simplify and automate, wherever possible, the complex workflows that go into designing and analyzing products. The motivation for implementing these new features comes directly from customer feedback or is based on user-centric design principles that are intended to make the lives of design engineers easier and more productive.  

Why I Choose Ansys

As a mechanical engineer, I have known and used Ansys products since my freshman year of college. We have all had that moment of awe when we saw the colorful contour plot for the first time and those static diagrams from the books finally made sense. 

It was only after my internship that my desire to work at Ansys was reinforced further. I was lucky to have a manager who allowed me to take ownership of my work and be the point of contact for other teams. I connected with people who were passionate about what they do, and it was contagious and inspiring. The environment encouraged self-exploration and learning by doing which led to two of my side projects. Even in my current role, I see the same work culture that keeps me motivated and excited about my work.  

My Internship Experience

My internship at Ansys was my very first experience in the software industry. Working over two releases of the product, I now understand how a software lifecycle works and have a good grasp of the closed loop system to continuously improve our products. 

Another important takeaway was making new connections and meeting interesting people. Despite being a remote internship, I think I had over 50 people in my Teams chat. It was only through this that I was able to navigate opportunities in other teams and join my current team full time. 

My Best Advice

When you are new, you have the liberty to ask questions no matter how silly they may seem. Use it to your advantage. It really makes you learn faster and be more confident with what you do. 

For interns, I’d suggest that they volunteer and sign up for any events of interest happening across the organization. Don’t think, just do it. I would also highly encourage new interns to spend time in networking at Ansys if you are really interested in a particular role or a team. People here are friendly and always happy to talk about their work. These conversations can help you discover your own career direction and broaden your perspective. 

A Sense of Belonging 

I have always felt comfortable asking questions and putting forth my opinions at work. My work at Ansys is a complete change of industry and job responsibilities from my prior experience and thus comes with its own challenges to quickly learn and adapt. But my team and colleagues have been very supportive along the way. 

Getting Involved 

I am a member of AnitaB.org and participated in the Grace Hopper Celebration last year as a student scholar. I also used to be a member of the Society of Women in Technology group at Purdue University. These resource groups have helped me find people to look up to that went through similar things that I was going through at that point of time.  

Being a passive recipient of these resources back in school, I am always looking for ways to give back to the student community. I recently signed up to volunteer for the Girls Who Code summer fellowship program organized by Ansys. I am also looking forward to some university recruitment events in the upcoming months. 

What You Might Not Know 

I enjoy painting in my free time. My favorite go-to painting ideas are cute and funny animal portraits. I am currently working with watercolors and oil pastels. 

I have been studying Japanese on and off since I was 15. As a mechanical engineer, Japanese design and creativity has had a huge influence on me. I strongly believe in and try to imbibe their principles of minimalism, resourcefulness, and continuous improvement in my life. 

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