Celebrating International Women’s Day with Software Engineer Erica Chai

Each year on March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day – a day set aside during Women’s History Month to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women from across the global. Today, Sevco Security is celebrating by interviewing our own Erica Chai. Erica is a Software Engineer on Sevco’s Workflows team. 

We are excited to learn more about Erica’s journey as an engineer and advice that she has for other young women in the STEM and security fields.

What led you to a career in engineering?

When I was a kid, my parents were often working so I stayed home more of the time on my computer. I soon realized the websites I visited could easily be built with HTML and CSS – and that is when I built my first personal website enumerating all the books and movies I liked. I didn’t continue to pursue this passion until college where I took my first computer science class. And in this introduction class, I was lucky to have a female professor who helped empower me to continue in engineering.

What advice do you have for other women who are interested in entering a STEM field?

When you first enter the field, you might find it foreign because you quickly realize that what you’ve learned in school doesn’t necessarily translate over 1-to-1. Hands on experience is important, so try to seek out internship opportunities or build a side project with a friend or two to help hone your coding and communications skills.

Every company has its own setup and best practices, so take your time when learning on the job. Reach out to other women in tech on LinkedIn that you find interesting and ask them if they will join you for a coffee chat. You’ll be surprised at how willing and excited many are to meet and speak with you.

What has been the biggest highlight of your career?

I am grateful to all the managers I’ve worked with since the start of my career. Every one of them entrusted me with projects and allowed me to learn and build my skillsets to become a more well-rounded engineer. But one project has continued to stand out to me; it was a project that I designed, developed, launched, and presented to the entire company. What sticks with me is how challenging this project was, since it was the first time I had to deal with hardware. It was very challenging, and I thought about giving up and resigning, but eventually I overcame the obstacles and got rewarded.

If you are interested in learning about another female engineering leader on the Sevco team, check out this blog that highlights Product Manager, Jesse Törzs: https://www.sevcosecurity.com/celebrating-ada-lovelace-day-with-product-manager-jesse-torzs/

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