Professor M. Angela Sasse FREng is a Professor of Human-Centred Technology, University College London, and Director of the UK Research Institute in Science of Cyber Security
“I love technology, and want everybody to enjoy the benefits that it can bring.”
How would you describe your current role to someone who knows nothing about engineering?
I lead a community of researchers developing security solutions that are effective and easy to use.
Why did you choose to go into engineering?
I love technology, and want everybody to enjoy the benefits that it can bring; well-designed technology can improve our productivity and wellbeing. On the other hand, technology that is not well designed can cause frustration and stress, and I want to help fellow engineers avoid that so everyone can benefit from their inventions.
What do you like most about being an engineer?
The delight on people’s faces when technology allows them to do something they were not able to do before, and collaborating with engineers with our specialisations, who are brilliant inventors and problem solvers.
Tell us about an achievement that you are most proud of.
In September 2015, CESG (the government’s communications and electronics security group) published new guidance on authentication that makes it clear that only usable security is effective security. This was based on some of my earlier work and was brought to fruition though the work of the research institute I lead.
How do you think gender parity in engineering can be achieved?
We need to show how engineering solves real-world problems that affect everyone, and that the way we solve the problem is through collaboration and communication with the problem owners and colleagues from different specialties – not about slightly crazed tinkerers who lock themselves away from the world.
How has being a woman in engineering changed since you started working in the engineering sector?
There is more appreciation that women engineers can bring creativity and problem-solving skills, and that many are excellent communicators and team leaders.
What would you say to someone considering a career in engineering?
Go for it! It’s a rewarding career in so many ways. Don’t listen to anyone who says it’s ‘not for girls’.