Vicky Somera received her bachelor's degree in computer science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1990. Since then she has been working for Northern Telecom as a software engineer developing features for their Private Branch Exchange (PBX) and Central Office (CO) switching systems that route voice or data calls and provide telecommunications features. She explains that "PBXes are designed for private networks for companies whose end users are the employees, and COs are designed for the public network, whose end users are people like you and me." Since Northern Telecom is a global company, Vicky has had opportunties to work with people from around the world.
One of her first projects--simplifying and reducing the number of interfaces required to support different signaling requiremnets of different countries--involved working with teams located in Ireland, England,France, and the United States. "One of the more challenging parts about working on this project," Vicky says, "was being able to get everyone together for a conference meeting, via telephone or video, with all the different time zones involved!" When the project was done, she went to Ireland to present the results of the project.
After finishing a special assignment that sent her to North Carolina for a few months, Vicky transfered to the company lab in France. One of her projects there involved developing a protocol to enable Northern Telecom switches to communicate with the network of switches in the Commonwealth of Independent States, which encompasses the 15 former republics of the Soviet Union. One of the challenges, aside from her job, she says, was to learn French.
Outside of work, Vicky enjoys volunteering as a tutor at a local junior high school as well as taking part in a mentoring program to encourage students in sciences, math, and engineering. She also enjoys being with her family and friends, and traveling, hiking, skydiving, and paragliding.