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Today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science! Observed annually on February 11th, this day was declared by the UN in 2015 in an effort to “achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further, achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” To celebrate, Cadent reached out to women in our engineering departments, asking about their career journeys and what advice they would give to other women interested in pursuing a role in STEM-related fields.
Shubhra Goel, a Lead Software Engineer on our IT Engineering team, has had a deep interest in math and science since she was a child. After immigrating to the U.S. mid-degree, Shubhra ultimately earned her Master of Computer Science. As a software engineer, she finds herself always learning, eager to understand the latest technology or develop new skills.
Read our Q&A with Shubhra below to learn more about her path to software engineering and the ad tech space, as well as her recommendations for others hoping to enter a STEM profession.
The following conversation has been lightly edited and condensed.
Tell us about your role – can you describe your average workday?
My role is Lead Software Engineer. This means that I focus on managing several software projects, collaborating with my team and across teams to provide technical solutions. For me, an average workday involves discussions with product owners, understanding the business, and providing architectural solutions. A good amount of my time is spent on technical discussions and development, which involves coding. I work with a team that includes Product, QA, developers, and managers. Our joint goal is to plan the project, set the deliverables, and deliver quality solutions on time. As a member of a very technical field, I need to continuously learn new technologies, implement them, and guide my team in utilizing them.
Did you always have a clear vision for your career?
Yes and no. I was always certain that I’d pursue a career in a STEM field, but my specific focus has changed over time. At a young age, I challenged myself by taking subjects that were traditionally considered difficult for girls. I made the deliberate decision to pursue STEM education in high school, and later I chose to focus on Physics for my Master’s degree. I was inspired by my father, who is a teacher, and started teaching Master’s level courses at the university. When I came to the USA, my visa status-imposed restrictions on my ability to continue that path, so I earned my Master of Computer Science and started my new career as a Software Developer.
Women are still greatly underrepresented in the STEM field. Has being a woman engineer posed any challenges?
Yes, it has definitely posed challenges from time to time. There is still an underlying perception in society, even in this day and age, that women are more sensitive and emotional than men and consequently women cannot be as aggressive and analytical as men. Over the years, however, I have learned that the challenges women face are directly related to the corporate culture of the company in which they work, which starts at the top of the leadership chain and trickles down. I strongly believe that the company culture, values, and leadership matter most when creating a healthy environment for everyone. Being a part of Cadent, I feel like I have great support from both leadership and coworkers. I always feel that people listen to me as a human being and don’t judge me as a woman.
Are there any resources you have found valuable to building your career?
Education and constant family support are my biggest resources. My parents always emphasized education, and I have the unconditional support of my husband and kids in my continued education and career choices. Mentoring is another valuable resource for me, and the support of my peers and friends continues to inspire and motivate me.
What advice do you have for women starting out in a STEM role?
The first thing that I would say is to stop focusing on gender and think of yourself only as a STEM professional, surrounded by other STEM peers. Act professionally, believe in your abilities, and don’t be afraid to speak up. Accept challenges and then follow through in facing and overcoming them. I constantly remind myself that gender does not define my skills, my thought process, and my values, and I will not give up learning and contributing, and exceeding expectations.