Conohana-san of the Month April edition (Part 1)
In ‘Conohana-san of the Month’, we discuss the experiences of senior female researchers who have successfully managed to balance their research/work with life events such as childbirth, child care and family care.
Today’s interview is with Mrs. Nami Yamoto, who graduated from the Department of Computer Science and Media Engineering (Department of Computer Science and Engineering of today), Faculty of Engineering, University of Yamanashi.
She is a charming graduate who majored in Information Technology, whom we met at Home-coming Day held last year. She participated as a role model in an event titled “Come Together Rike-jo! -Let’s talk about the future for the girls in the science major” at Pyua Sogo, Yamanashi Prefectural Gender Equality Promotion Center on March 1, 2014.♪
◎Introduction of Mrs. Nami YAMOTO
Education: Department of Computer Science and Media Engineering (Predecessor of Department of Computer Science and Engineering of today), Faculty of Engineering, University of Yamanashi
○Thank you very much for your cooperation for the event “Come Together Rike-jo!”!
Looking at you, those junior and high school students must have thought “What a cool senior she is!” (^^)
The pleasure was mine. I’m not good at public speaking, so I was a little nervous. It had been a long time since I had talked with young students as a private tutor, so I was not sure if I could interact with them well, but I enjoyed it very much. I wish I had more time to have casual talks with them.
○When I first heard that you were working for a corporation, YSK e-com, I simply imagined that your work place was composed of elite groups of computer science-related specialists, like you from the department of Computer Science and Media Engineering. Is it true that not all the members are computer specialists?
Yes, it’s true. Our colleagues are not only from the engineering faculty, but also from faculties of law, education, economics, and there’s a person from a music college, too.Isn’t that interesting?
○A colleague from a music college! It’s unbelievable, but why in the world…?
Our work cannot be achieved just by having expertise in computer science. For example, system development customers can be a cram school operator whose system will be education-related, or a publisher of an economics-related magazines, or a musical instrument retailer who specializes in music… the business categories and the markets of our customers are very varied. In order to understand those varied needs, our staff must be diverse.
○Well, I see! But are they really able to work with computers without acquiring special knowledge at technical schools or colleges?
Yes, they can (lol). There’s no need to be afraid because a training system is fully prepared by our company, and the posting is based on individual aptitude determined during training time. The most essential thing to engineers, in my honest opinion, is “communication ability”, not “computer-related knowledge”. Knowledge can be acquired any time, and when it is necessary, you can gain it rapidly, but communication ability cannot be acquired so easily.
○Now I understand. Communication ability is more important than knowledge. It could be true in other work places, too. How about the male-female ratio in your company?
Female employees account for 40 out of 195 employees. Their average age is 30s, which makes their acquisition rate of child-care leave to be 100%. YSK e-com is now placing emphasis on cultivating female employees, and set up a committee called “Women’s Conference” in the fiscal year 2013. Its objectives are to improve our internal environment and to contribute to the local community from the female employees’ perspective. Its activities include promotion of work-life balance, and community services through participation or cooperation in external events. So the president of my company was all in favor of my participation in the event of “Come-together Rike-jo!”
○Really? I am very happy to hear that♪It’ll be nice if we can have another event together!
Actually there is a good role model for future Rike-jo in my company, who is not from a computer-media major. I’ m thinking of introducing her at the next occasion. IT-related jobs may seem a little somber to young students. I’d be happy if I could make more students interested in this field by taking such an opportunity!
○Well, I cannot help being interested in it even though I am not one of those students (lol). Your company seems to take sufficient consideration of its employees. How about the work-life balance of yourself?
I think I keep a good balance. I married two years ago, but as I have my job too, we share our household tasks. Each of us took our own favorite tasks, and assigned the weak things to the other, and the division of work is successful. Cooking, for example, is my responsibility…but I’m not so skillful. My principle is “Nabe (one-pot) dinner for winter, cold noodles for summer!” (lol). My goal is to be able to fillet fish into three layers.
○Oh! It’ll be great indeed if you can make it (I already gave it up ^^;). Your sense of advancement is really amazing! Do you have any other objective in future than to fillet fish?
Well, yes. In my job, I have worked mainly on programming as a member of a project team, but gradually I went to the management side. So my new goal is to lead the team to success as its manager.
○It sounds wonderful. In Japan there’s a movement to get “more female workers in senior positions” recently, so you will be a good example for that too. I hope you’ll stick to it♪
This interview will be continued next time, when we ask Ms. Yamoto about the decision of her academic course and her college memories. Please wait!