Stéphanie Walter
Lead UX Designer at Maltem
Stéphanie is a User Researcher and Designer who focuses on building user-centred, inclusive and accessible products and services. She spent the last 10 years helping her clients in different industries (banking, financial, automotive, healthcare, press, travel, etc.) deliver successful projects to their audience, all the way from strategy to the final products and services. She teaches and likes to share her passion for her work on her blog and at conferences. Her claim to fame: she once helped redesign monitoring panels for tower cranes. Don't hesitate to reach out to her for questions and advice.
Tell us about your career path.
Why did you choose a STEM profession?
Was your interest in STEM encouraged?

I always loved computers. My teacher in 4th grade introduced us to an old computer with those 8-inch floppy disks. The computer was already super old at that time, but it was my first experience with such a thing and found it fascinating. Then a friend of the family who was a computer engineer brought me one. She brought me a win 3.1 her company was throwing away (this was 1998 so again, old school). And the rest is just me, playing around with computers, eventually assembling my own, and deciding I wanted to design and build websites.
So, I had a blog, studies languages (English, German), built my own blog and started playing around with code. Eventually found an internship as a web designer and continued to learn code and design thought books and blogs.
My dad knows nothing about computers or even internet, he’s an old school farmer who can barely turn on the TV. My mum is the tech savvy one in the family and she always encouraged us to explore with whatever was making us happy. She’s my greatest supporter.

Don’t let anyone gate keep you out of STEM. You belong here.

How was your educational/university experience? Do you have any memorable experiences to share?

I studied languages (English, German) and web design. Germany was quite different. A lot more “self-study” and oral presentations. It was nice to have another perspective on that than just French education.

Where do you work?
What would you do during a typical day at work? What do you enjoy most about your job?

I work for European Investment Bank as a UX designer.
At the moment we work remotely. So my typical day for one year is logging on the client computer, checking emails and going on with my daily tasks. The rest depends on lot of what kind of tasks and activities I need to do. I conduct user research, so a lot of my days consist in preparing user interviews, usability testing, talking to users, etc. I also work on building a design system with the development team. So, I also design UI components, document them, etc.
I enjoy discovering new fields, always learning and working in a constantly evolving field.

What are your plans and aspirations for the future?

Honestly, I feel like we spent one year frozen in time. I spent last year cancelling conferences and a travel plans to visit Japan. So, for now, no plan, no aspiration. I want to do that trip to Japan one day, but it’s hard to project in the future right now.

What do you like to do outside of work? What are your passions and hobbies?

Outside of work I teach, mentor designers, give talks and conferences. I used to travel but I do all of that remotely.

When there’s sun outside, I like to go for bike rides. Luxembourg is a really nice place because there’s quite a lot of bike roads, and the countryside is just beautiful.

I also enjoy trying on new cooking recipes (I’m currently experimenting a lot with Sichuan flavors, thank you Youtube videos.). Last but not least, I play videos games to chill out: I am currently playing League of Legends Wild Rift. Mostly support role but I enjoy the feather queen Xayah as well. I also spend sometimes on Just Dance and I am a big fan of Borderlands.

What advice would you give to other young girls and women who plan to pursue a STEM career?

First, no matter what other people say: you belong in tech. Really. Whatever school you attended, whatever programming or non-programming language you know. Don’t let anyone gate keep you out of STEM. You belong here.
I would also advise you to find some allies and people you can share your experience with. I have a private slack with awesome other women and non-binary people who work in tech. And it’s a nice safe place to chat. There’s a lot of groups for underrepresented people in tech (am I’m not only referring to gender her but also race, color, disabilities, queerness, etc.), reach out to them and find your safe space 