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(Em)Powering WP Engine Every Day

In honor of International Women in Engineering Day, we want to highlight some of the impressive women engineers who are constantly breaking barriers and rewriting technological innovation here at WP Engine. 

Although the field of engineering is changing, the barriers to entry and overall treatment of women in the past have created major obstacles, leading to an underrepresentation of women in the field

As we explore more ways to bring women into engineering, we sat down with two of our own engineers at WP Engine, Teresa Gobble and Ciprianna Engel, to discuss the state of women in engineering as well as their own career journeys. 

Read on to learn more about International Women in Engineering Day and how these two team members have navigated and overcome challenges to achieve fulfilling careers in engineering!

What is International Women in Engineering Day? 

Taking place annually on June 23, International Women in Engineering Day celebrates the work of women engineers and calls on the next generation of girls to use their talents to shape the world. First celebrated in 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society, the date became internationally recognized just three years later in 2017. 

This year, as we celebrate the eleventh annual International Women in Engineering Day, it’s important to remember that despite the progress made, there is plenty of work to do to achieve equity in engineering. As of this year, women and non-binary people make up only about 1621% of the engineering workforce.

As we explore ways to bring more women into technical and engineering fields, let’s hear from the experiences of two women who are currently thriving in the field right here at WP Engine!

Teresa Gobble 

Headshot of Teresa Gobble

Teresa is currently a Software Engineer at
WP Engine in Austin, Texas. She did not start out as an engineer but was pursuing a PhD in psychology. 

“I was pursuing a PhD in psychology. For my role, I did a lot of quantitative-related research and that requires a lot of statistical analysis,” Gobble said. 

The research aspect of her education led to an interest in engineering. As she progressed in her career, she became more experienced in coding languages like R, SPS, and RStudio. She found she enjoyed coding because of its challenging nature, but continued the psychology route until the pandemic. 

The extra time at home allowed Gobble to explore more programs, which eventually led her to a boot camp called Hack Reactor. Over the course of three months, she underwent an immersive experience that fostered a challenging, strenuous environment. Through the skills she acquired during her boot camp, Teresa was able to participate in impactful projects. 

One of her most impactful professional projects happened early in her career. She had the opportunity to work on a three-person team for a Chicago neighborhood watch project. The Chicago Police Department has an Open API with information concerning crimes. Through this project, Teresa and the rest of her team built out the interface so different types of crime could be visualized and sorted. 

 “It was impactful, in part, because it provided me with the experience of doing something significant and provided a real tool that someone could use that would ensure they understand what safety challenges the neighborhood has,” she said. 

Gobble’s unique background has also revealed some challenges female engineers face in the field. 

“My prior career was primarily women. I worked in counseling psychology. I was a clinician at a health clinic and saw patients. I was also doing research at a university, and it was a majority of women in those positions,” Gobble said. 

“It’s very different in engineering. That sort of gender ratio is flipped in this profession. It takes a little longer to feel like you have a peerage. It takes longer to find your place.”

She said seeing women in leadership positions also influences her and allows her to envision herself in one of those positions. 

“It’s also nice to have people that you can see yourself in among higher ranking engineering positions, engineering managers, and people who are leading community conversations. It’s nice to be able to envision myself in those roles and it is easier to do when I see women doing it.” 

Reflecting on her career, Gobble advises young women who are considering a career in engineering to disregard imposter syndrome and just get started 

“Start before you think you’re ready, go for it, because you will never feel like you’re fully ready. There’s a ton of imposter syndrome that goes with entering any new field, much less one where you don’t see yourself represented,” she said.  

Although she does not have a traditional engineering education, she has made a huge impact on the WP Engine community and the web in general. Her tenacious, genuine attitude has fostered a positive environment for engineering teams, and WP Engine is lucky to call her part of the team. 

Ciprianna Engel

Headshot of Ciprianna Engel

Ciprianna Engel is a Senior Software Engineer for WP Engine and started her engineering career with a B.A in International/Global Studies and a Master’s Degree in International Relations and Affairs/Research Design and Analysis. 

Engel was introduced to programming languages through her graduate school projects.

Although she had a job after graduation, she decided to pivot and learn programming through a coding boot camp. 

Initially, she found it difficult to acclimate to a different way of thinking and learning. The boot camp forced her outside her comfort zone, but she eventually found her way.

“It felt like I was working really hard to understand it until I became more comfortable in the space. I think it just took a lot of time and patience and seeing different things to get to that stage where I was like, ‘okay, I can do this, and it’s fine,’” said Engel. 

Similarly to Gobble, Engel’s boot camp experience was intense and immersive but gave her the skills and experiences she needed to flourish as an engineer.

One of her favorite engineering experiences in her career came through the boot camp. Nearing the end of her experience, she was assigned a team to build websites for nonprofits that were going to be used in real life. 

“We worked on this big project and we spent two weeks on it, and it was just really cool to see it all come together knowing that actual people that were going to use it—that it would go into production and be actually on the web,” Engel said. 

“It’s just a really satisfying thing to see a project through to completion after putting in all the work for it. You really feel that payoff.” Her experience with this project helped solidify her interest in engineering. The ability to create useful projects for everyday life increased her interest in the field.

Earlier in Engel’s career, she faced adversity from gender stereotypes in engineering. Being the only woman engineer on a team, she would often be placed in charge of the frontend and design aspects of the project. While she enjoyed this part of engineering, she also wanted to be a part of the backend programming. 

“I love the frontend, and I love making things look pretty, but I did not like being told that I have to make things pretty because I’m the woman on the team. I think that was a challenge, and now, things feel far less gendered,” she said. 

When looking toward the future of women in engineering, she urges young women who are considering the field to remain tenacious in their career and forget doubts about their capabilities. 

“Don’t give up on yourself and keep persistent. It’s really easy to doubt yourself and to think you can’t do it. Every engineer ever goes through that, especially when they’re encountering something that they’ve never seen before. Just keep trying and know you can do it. You just need to practice, and it will take time, but it will happen.” Engel said. 

Engel is now a leader in our engineering space and has been a part of several different projects including a unicorn design system for WP Engine, a widely used design system, during which she collaborated with several other teams to bring the project to fruition. 

Happy International Women in Engineering Day!

Both Teresa Gobble and Ciprianna Engel are integral parts of the WP Engine team, bringing essential skills to the teams and projects on which they work. 

Their journeys in engineering are impactful and WP Engine is proud to have them on our teams—Happy Women in Engineering day, we appreciate all you do!

Head to the International Women in Engineering Day website to learn more about the history behind the day. If you’re looking for a fulfilling role in engineering, check out our careers page to explore open roles!

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