Project Engineer, SAL Engineering (Hamburg)
My name is Maria. Since September 2020 I work as a project engineer for SAL Engineering. In my job I am responsible for a variety of transportation engineering tasks for heavy lift and project cargoes. I take care of sea fastening calculations, lift designs or weather routing studies. Additionally, I perform workability assessments of the cargo, and also, I attend and supervise loading and discharging cargo operations.
I started a career in shipping because I am passionate about ships and the sea in general. I believe that offshore renewable energy is the future, and in my work, I can be part of that future.
What I observe in my job is that being a young woman in this sector sometimes can be challenging. Some people still believe that young women lack the necessary knowledge and strength to work in a physically challenging job like this could be. This is especially the case in an environment where the presence of women is scarce, like for me is usually a port.
When I applied for a job in shipping, I honestly was not concerned about any kind of discrimination whatsoever, and less for being a women. Luckily at the university, although there were more men than women studying, I never felt discriminated against for being a woman. However, when I reached the real working life, I realized that there are still many people who do not see you as an equal.
Despite all this, if a friend of mine asks me if she should consider a career in shipping I would reply: Absolutely. Go for it! But my general advice: Work hard, rely upon your peers even from school and focus on the people around you who believe in you. Above all, you should believe in yourself each day because out there you will always meet people that will find an excuse to think that you are not enough for the job or the task. Doesn’t matter if the reason is that you are a woman, that you are young, that you have a disability, or they just don’t like the color of your hair. So never give up!