Nicaise Ishimwe is an application specialist for Emovis Technologies. Nicaise grew up in Rwanda, and always had a passion for science. Her passion led her to where she is now, we digged into her motives to work in the field of digital technology. Next week the second part of this interview will continue, with Nicaise explaining why it is important that other women get inspired to work in digital technology.

role model in digital technology

Can you tell us more about your work

I work as an application specialist for Emovis Technologies, which is the  ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) branch of Emovis, a subsidiary of Abertis group.

Emovis designs and operates all-electronic tolling systems as well as smart mobility solutions for toll collection. Emovis is international company, operating in different countries across Europe (France, Ireland, England, Croatia) and America (USA, Canada, Puerto-Rico). Emovis is a global leader in free-flow tolling.

I work on two main projects:

  • The Dublin M50 eflow toll point back-office and end-user web and mobile applications;
  • The Electronic tags Interoperability hub for all Ireland-based toll providers

Besides that, I am leading the Ireland chapter of Women in Tech Africa. I am also a member of Women in Tech Africa 2017 operations board.

How did you end up in digital technology

My interest in digital technology finds its roots in my earlier years of school. I loved Science fields. I have had the chance to get supported academically by my teachers and parents which allowed me to perform well and excel in those fields, especially in Mathematics.  From there I developed not only a passion for problem solving and finding solutions for complex challenges, but also some curiosity to understand how things work.

I was growing up at that time in Rwanda, a country that had suffered a genocide and been completely damaged in many ways. But which was at that time (years 200x) and is still growing and developing at an incredible pace. I grew up seeing the country beginning to develop, in particular the telecommunication infrastructures, and embracing new internet and mobile communication technologies. Although at that time those technologies were available only to a few.

After finishing high-school, I remember how I cherished those moments when I wanted to practice computer skills courses or look for information on internet. I had to travel to a cybercafé, but would always find those moments short because the internet was slow and the costs per hour of surfing were still high for us during those times. I felt then a calling to later work on finding a solution to help get those communications to many, although at that moment in my mind it was not yet clear to me which area of Science I would chose a career in.

I got an opportunity to obtain a scholarship to pursue Science and Technologies studies in Algeria, where I did undergraduate studies addressing different courses of science and engineering. And I would say that, it is through how I performed in those courses and the lecturers’ advice that it became clear, obvious and confirmed to me that I wanted a career in Information Communication technologies. I had a conviction to continue my studies in either computer science or telecommunications engineering.

I had the privilege to get accepted in INSA Lyon engineering school in France, where I had the opportunity not only to gain skills academically  in areas of computer networking, wired & wireless telecommunications as well as software development, but also through internships to get the first practical and professional experience in areas of web and mobile applications development.

Six years ago I completed an engineering degree in Telecommunications at INSA Lyon with a double master in Electrical engineering with a focus on Systems and Images.

That educational journey forged my route into digital technology /IT. I started my career in France in a company called AVISTO Telecom as an IT consultant, which allowed me to work for clients such as Motwin as a software developer and ALSTOM transport as a Validation and Verification engineer for a train communication GSM-R Cab-radio and also for train remote communication systems.

I continued my career in that area of Intelligent Transportation Systems and joined Emovis Ireland where I am working now.

That is how I ended up with a career in digital technology/IT.

What are your current work activities

As an application specialist – Quality Assurance analyst at Emovis technologies Ireland, I interface with software development teams as well as the Operations business department to make sure that our back-office,  business operations and end-user web and mobile applications are delivered, used and maintained with high quality and reliability.

My activities can be classified as below:

  • Leveraging off applications knowledge and expertise to provide technical support to the business operations, being in terms of applications installation, use, maintenance and issues-troubleshooting & resolution.
  • Ensuring applications quality improvement supporting applications testing and validation, by making sure that new change requests, evolutions and corrections are implemented according to technical specifications and customer requirements.
  • Deploying new software releases and updates on live production systems and maintaining User acceptance test environments up-to-date.

Is or was working in this field a conscious choice you made?

Yes working in the field was a conscious choice and an informed decision. I always like to consider input and advice from others but always decide consciously what is the best for me based on my passion and conviction.

I do believe that passion drives motivation and motivation drives engagement and success. And I believe that if someone is not consciously convinced of the direction they are taking, then it is hard to perform well in that direction. That is why I consciously chose to work in the field, because I am passionate about  STEM.

Additionally, the academic and first working experiences I have had, reinforced that firm conviction I had of working in technology.

I have also had the chance of working with colleagues and managers who supported and encouraged me in that field, making working in the field comfortable for me and comforting me in my choice to continue and advance in that career direction.

Next week we continue this interview with Nicaise. How would she like to inspire others to work in this field? And why is it important that other women get inspired to work in digital technology?