Muldair Welch wasn’t your average 11-year-old. Instead of playing with toys, she was writing code to check her homework.
“I had just gotten a computer and my uncle had shown me some simple QBasic programming,” Muldair explains. “I was trying to do my homework and I wasn't sure if I was right, so I used the computer to write a piece of software to check my synthetic division.” And it worked!
From then on, Muldair was hooked. “I thought to myself, ‘I can get paid to solve puzzles on a computer all day?’” Motivated to keep learning and developing, she worked through the summers to save up for school. She started college at 16 and landed her first job in engineering at 18 while she finished up her undergraduate.
Nowadays, with just as much enthusiasm, you can catch Muldair pushing her team to keep learning and developing as the Director of Engineering at Tackle.io. We sat down with her to discuss her career journey and three pieces of advice for women in engineering who are eager to advance in their careers.
Foundational skills for career growth
Soft skills, or as Muldair prefers to call them, “foundational skills,” are not typically associated with becoming a successful engineer. Yet for Muldair, along her 20+ year career journey, skills like intentionality, communication, and emotional intelligence have been key as she’s moved up the career ladder.
Her first step was becoming a tech lead—a move she says was “100 percent intentional.” But her move to engineering manager came with some hesitation. “I was afraid it was going to be a career block,” explains Muldair. She was passionate about coding and worried that she wouldn’t be able to solve problems every day like she was used to. “I thought, ‘I'm not an engineer anymore. What if I'm a manager for a year and I lose all of my skills and I can never come back?’”
Although she admits these worries were irrational, she was able to push through her fears. As she immersed herself in her new role, she realized that her engineering skills were still being put to good use. “I was so shocked at how much I loved it because I'm still solving problems, but I'm solving what, to me, are so much more meaningful ones,” Muldair says cheerfully.
Moving up and giving back
Through the leadership lessons and unique experiences she gained as an engineering manager, Muldair was eager to take on another challenge. “If there's an opportunity, I'm going to take it, I'm going to try it, and I'm going to learn from it,” explains Muldair. “I knew that I wanted to take the lessons that I had learned and share them with other managers and help them avoid the pitfalls that I had fallen into.”
Muldair joined Tackle last year as an Engineering Director. She was attracted to the technology and intrigued by the company culture and leadership philosophy. “I saw a company that had a really good long-term vision with empathetic, intentional, and focused engineering,” says Muldair when talking about her first impressions of the company. She describes Tackle as a software company that, “supports not just the technology and the clients, but supports the people that make the business possible.”
As a director, Muldair collaborates with other teams to align on projects, creates sustainable growth strategies, and focuses on optimizing processes. She also meets with managers on her team to assure they’re supported in their daily tasks, as well as long-term projects and career development. “When I'm meeting with [my team], we're talking about career growth, we're talking about leadership evolution, dealing with things that are on their mind,” Muldair explains.
And she still gets to do some of the engineering work that she’s known and loved since she was a child. “I always ask how I can help my team be successful in the endeavors that they're working on at that moment, so I do a lot of hands-on support of engineering managers.”
Leading by example
With her intention of supporting other managers, Muldair has learned that, unlike technology, working with people doesn’t always render consistent results.
“When it comes to people, you give them tools, you partner with them, you let them go and you see if they're successful–and sometimes they're not. Sometimes they fail and you have to help them deal with that and make it into a learning opportunity,” she explains.
Along with supporting her managers through setbacks, she has learned that leading by example is equally as important. She uses time management as an example of this. “If I want someone else to grow and eventually become a director, I cannot establish this role as an 80 hour a week role where you're always on and you never disconnect.” She understands that the time she puts into her work is just as important as turning off her laptop at the end of the day or taking time off. “It's a challenging thing for me sometimes, but it's also been hugely impactful to my quality of life,” she shares. “It's really important to create an environment where people are successful when they're working their best hours for their best life,” Muldair points out.
Three pieces of advice for ambitious engineers
In true Muldair fashion of supporting others, she offers advice for fellow women engineers — especially those who don’t have many role models at their companies.
- Don't push yourself into a mold that doesn't fit you. “When I first joined leadership, there was no one that shared my demographics. There was no one that acted the way that I acted. No quirky, odd, humorous, empathetic people in positions of leadership,” Muldair explains. “I thought if I want to be a leader, I have to be cold, I have to be perfect, I have to be super professional and not connect with anyone. And this was a lie. Success will come when you embrace who you are.”
- Don’t be afraid to show off your work. “Very often, women will not champion themselves, due to societal reasons or the fact that they don't want to appear boastful,” Muldair shares. Showing off projects you are working on, achievements, and demos can be the factor that makes future employers want to work with you.
- Network and collaborate. Something as simple as joining a niche engineering Slack group can open opportunities for support and collaboration. “You will find people who want to be supportive,” Muldair advises. These early collaborations can set the foundation for working in larger teams.
“Failure is not a bad thing, it's a consequence of growth and it's a good thing,” Muldair encourages. “You don't have to change who you are to be successful. You need to embrace who you are to be successful.”
If you’re looking to work in a company whose success is a direct factor of how they invest in their employees, check out the job opportunities at Tackle.io.
💎 Prepare for your job interview with Logicworks! Learn how to best showcase your skills, build a stand-out resume, and more!
📼 Prepare for a job interview and learn how to showcase your skills with these tips from Jessica Cowle, Technical Recruiter at Logicworks, who will go over Logicworks’ application process and give you some insights into preparing for your interview.
📼 The best way to prepare before a job interview is to think about how to clearly and concisely showcase your background and skills. Logicworks' interviewers will ask probing questions that dive deeper into your experiences. Long-winded responses lead the interviewers to believe that you are trying to manufacture an answer. So if you don't know something, it's best to admit it! When asked about specific projects or experiences you've had, make sure you give examples of times when you demonstrated your earned skills in the workplace. Tell meaningful stories, focusing on context, action, and results.
📼 Apart from the job interview, your resume is another way to showcase your skills. There are many different ways to make your resume stand out from the pack. Typically, a resume with certifications like AWS Cloud Practitioner, Solutions Architect, or Azure Fundamentals will stand out more than a profile without any. These credentials prove you have the desire to go above and beyond to sharpen your skillset (even outside your role). And at Logicworks, recruiters like to see strong tenure. So if your profile is a bit hoppy, their team might scrutinize it a bit. They're also looking for candidates that have worked in customer-facing roles. When hiring for a non-technical position, like Accounting or Sales, recruiters like to see intellectually curious candidates!
Ace Your Job Interview At Logicworks - Showcase Your Skills And Shine!
There are a lot of things that Logicworks recruiters look for in candidates. One of them is professionals who embody their core values. Logicworks is a people-first business with a grow-or-die mentality. Suppose someone lacks specific technical skills but makes up for it with personality and attitude. In that case, recruiters will most likely be interested in hiring that person and invest the time to train them on technical skills. So, if you feel you could be a fit for Logicworks, even if you don't check 100% of the boxes, don't feel discouraged to apply!
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Logicworks? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get To Know Jessica
Jessica is a Technical Recruiter, Content Creator, Licensed Mechanical Bull Operator, and former Musical Theatre major with a Master of Science (M.S.) focused in Marketing Communication Management from Manhattanville College School of Professional Studies. And she’s a proud AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. Ask her about coffee☕️, skiing 🎿 , musical theatre 🎭 , or punk rock music 🤘🏼🎸! If you are interested in a career at Logicworks, you can connect with her on LinkedIn!
More About Logicworks
Logicworks helps customers migrate, run, and operate mission-critical workloads on AWS and Azure with baked-in security, scalability, and efficiency. Their Cloud Reliability Platform combines world-class engineering talent, policy-as-code, and integrated tooling to enable customers to confidently meet compliance regulations, security requirements, cost control, and high availability. The team of dedicated certified engineers with decades of IT management experience at Logicworks ensures their customers’ success across every stage of the Cloud Adoption Framework.
💎 If you're looking for engineering job opportunities, the engineering team at Turo is the one for you! Watch the video until the end to learn more about growing your technical and soft skills and how you'd impact the business by joining the company!
📼 Make sure to catch all the engineering job opportunities currently available at Turo. In this video, you'll meet Linda Zhang, Director of Engineering at Turo, who will share a bit about the engineering team, how you can thrive, plus what the company looks for in candidates.
📼 Before applying for one of the many engineering job opportunities at Turo, get to know the company and the team. They organize their product development teams by domain: Guest, Host, and Risk Protection, each responsible for an area of their product. Several cross-functional teams exist under each domain, represented by a dedicated product manager and designers. Each group owns the project from the beginning to the end and is responsible for defining the customer experience and delivering on the business metrics that support Turo's goals and mission.
📼 What roles can you find within Turo's engineering job opportunities? The company is hiring engineers on all platforms and at all levels. Specifically, they're looking for senior-level and above with (typically) four-plus years of experience. During your interviews, they will evaluate technical skills and soft skills based on their company core values. On the technical side, the team wants you to be passionate about technology, comfortable in your chosen language, and possess the skills necessary to solve problems efficiently and effectively. You should be able to articulate the trade-offs for your decisions. On the soft skills side, Turo would like you to talk about your experience and projects you're proud of and how you collaborated with and supported others.
Engineering Job Opportunities at Turo - What Do You Need to Thrive?
For you to thrive at Turo, you'll want to exercise the company's four core values: being supportive, down-to-earth, pioneering, and efficient. At Turo, team members help each other, challenge each other, and collaborate. As Linda puts it, "We're humble, transparent, and we lead without being arrogant. We encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and try new things. We're rational and react quickly."
🧑💼 The engineering team at Turo is growing! Make sure you don't miss any of their open positions. To apply, click here.
More About Turo
Turo is the world's largest car-sharing marketplace. You can book the perfect vehicle for your next adventure from a vibrant community of trusted hosts across the US, Canada, and the UK. Recognized as A Great Place to Work®, Turo prides itself on creating a supportive, down-to-earth, pioneering, and efficient work environment. As a community-centered company, they embrace diverse talent from all backgrounds and from all over the globe. They care deeply for their work, for each other, and for their mission to put the world's 1.5+ billion cars to better use.
Lupita Carabes was interested in understanding why the company she was working for was having a bad quarter.
As a software engineer, her plate had been full for months. She and her coworkers had performed well against their expectations and kept code moving through. So what had happened?
“It piqued my interest. How are we allocating resources? How are decisions being made? How are we producing revenue?” says Lupita, reflecting on what would become a major career shift. “That put me on a path to a customer facing role; what’s known as a sales engineer.”
She asked her then-manager if she could explore the sales side of the business, but Lupita was told she needed more experience first. A few weeks later, she got a note from a Veracode recruiter—and met a hiring manager who was more than open to helping Lupita transition into tech sales.
We sat down with Lupita, who is now a senior account executive at Veracode, to hear more about her career journey, how she made the transition from engineering to sales, and what advice she has for those who are considering following in her footsteps.
Learning How Businesses Really Work
Growing up, Lupita got her first taste of entrepreneurship when she worked with her family on their business and was inspired to one day launch her own.
“I felt inclined to go the entrepreneurial route because I enjoyed the ability to control my own outcome and make my own way,” she says. “I quickly realized I didn't really have the resources to scale.”
That realization led Lupita to pursue a career that was in high demand—she had won a full-ride scholarship that would apply to a STEM degree. She majored in electrical engineering, minored in computer science, and completed the university entrepreneurship scholars’ program.
During her time as a software engineering intern, Lupita realized the abundance of job opportunities she would have if she went to work as a developer. She also saw it as an opportunity to gain more business experience that would help her later down the line. So, she stayed in engineering roles up until the Veracode opportunity came about.
“The hiring manager asked if I was prepared to be less technical,” says Lupita of how the tech sales job was first presented. “But I’ve actually needed to be more technical. I talk to engineers with various levels of expertise about different technologies, and technology is always changing.”
When Lupita joined Veracode, her title was associate solutions architect. She took a pay cut for the role, then spent the next couple of years proving herself earning promotion after promotion.
“In order to keep moving up, I had to build a case, with metrics, and proof points to show my value and contributions I made to help the business,” she says. “It’s a lot of responsibility—it’s your own franchise. I call the shots, and that’s been a huge learning curve but extremely rewarding.”
Now, as a senior account executive, Lupita regularly talks to engineers and security analysts, and closes deals with CTOs, CISOs, CIOs, and CMOs (say that five times fast!). The exposure to business leaders and technical talent has given Lupita the exposure she was looking for to build her own entrepreneurial toolkit—and has taken full advantage of her background.
3 Key Messages for 3 Key Groups
Reflecting on her career so far, Lupita is happy to have made the shift to sales, where she can continue to bridge gaps between groups and further develop multiple skill sets.
“I was once a girl who didn’t know about the engineering role, and now I’m consulting engineers to think about security and their process,” says Lupita. “That’s the most exciting thing for me, being able to use my soft and hard skills, while interacting day-to-day with C-level decision makers.”
Here’s the advice she would give based on this experience:
For her engineering peers: consider sales engineering. “If you’re looking for more social interactions, having a fundamental understanding of the problems we are trying to solve makes for a much easier conversation with prospects,” she says. “You get to talk to tons of like-minded people, and sometimes conversations turn into partnerships. Sometimes they turn into friendships, or even mentorships. I think that’s really cool—and I wouldn’t have access to that if I was just sitting at my computer coding away.”
For her sales peers: be genuine and add value. “Customers sometimes aren’t open to sharing a lot of information up front,” she says. “So earning their trust and understanding the outcomes they are looking to achieve is really important. I ask open-ended questions and try to understand and not assume exactly what their challenges are. There’s a lot of ‘debugging’ in learning what the business is actually trying to accomplish—leverage your network because the more people you involve, the better chance you’ll have of truly solving their business problems.”
For her prospects: application security is worth it. Several years into selling Veracode’s services, Lupita has learned that a common challenge companies face is fear of slowing down developers, even when there’s a lot (read: customer data, regulatory fines, and reputational damage) on the line. She often hears, “‘We've always done it this way and we've never had a breach,’” but Lupita is a firm believer that secure code is valuable code.
“More and more companies are using security as a competitive advantage and customers are no longer willing to accept the liability for software that sees security as an afterthought. Application security requires people, process, and tech,” she explains. “I enjoy taking the guesswork out of building the right approach.”
For now, Lupita knows she has much more to learn at Veracode and is looking forward to doing so. Who knows, though—in a few years, maybe she’ll find herself on the other side of the C-suite table!