Andrea is a Product Engineer at John Deere. Learn more about her work with agricultural software development and how you can #BeThatEngineer!
Andrea Lima- Agricultural Engineer
When I was younger, I never knew about agricultural engineering. Growing up in a big city, I was far from anything related to agriculture. I grew up playing around in a garage, where I worked as a car mechanic with my father, brother, and mother. I worked on the administrative side, but I really enjoyed fixing cars. I wasn’t really interested in the administrative side of the business, and I was always looking for an opportunity to do something I was passionate about. From this, I started my degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Paulista University in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
During college, I had exposure to many different subjects related to things I had already worked on. I also had a project during my last year of college which was very time-consuming and felt like working for a company. Our team had five members and we needed to adapt to the different methods and attitudes of each team member. We spent over a year working together. It was a good experience to learn about day-to-day life for a future at a company.
I also had my first experience with computer programming in college. I had contact with programming at my internship as well. Based on these experiences, I was sure that programming was what I wanted to do. I had equal opportunities at my internship since the beginning, something that made a huge difference for me at the start of my professional life. Programming changed my professional life and led me to agricultural engineering. I was introduced to agricultural engineering through electronic codes and precision agriculture, which involves delivering information from the field to the Cloud. To me, agricultural engineering connects the farmers and the fields with technology.
Today, I am a PI Product Engineer who develops software used in agricultural machinery like harvesters, tractors, and sprayers. Nowadays, the customers in the field need information about the machines in real-time. For example, sometimes, a message must be sent to the operator to notify them if a machine needs to stop or be fixed. My job is to provide the data to the farmer so they can make better decisions for the future. This is called rural connectivity. The challenges of my job are what motivate me. For each new feature or issue, I need to come up with a solution. An engineer is hired to deliver solutions, so it is important to like this part of the job. When finding solutions, I am developing software and learning from other people about agriculture, business rules, and new technology. I have a new challenge every day. I am always learning something new and I love it.
For girls interested in agricultural engineering, my first piece of advice is to look for smart industrial technologies in the field. The field has many different areas you can work in. Look at how smart technology can help farmers in the fieldwork more efficiently.
I also currently work with SWE Outreach teams at schools and universities in Brazil. I discovered many of them are engaging girls in STEM activities. All of them are on platforms like Instagram or Linkedin and they are open to everyone who is interested. If your school does not have groups like that, you can find them online. When I was in school, I did not have groups like that. Today, we have the internet. My second piece of advice is to look for these groups. There are many different resources online for outreach. Enjoy every technology project at school, college or anywhere.