This Shopify Plus Developer Has Engineering in Her DNA
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Maribel Romo, a Senior Software Developer at Shopify Plus, comes from a family of engineers. Her mother was an engineer, her father was an engineer, her aunt is an engineer. All of her mother's friends were engineers. So, what did Maribel want to be, growing up in Cuba? She wanted to be an artist. But ultimately, she became an engineer as well.
"Both my parents were engineers," explains Maribel. "All of my mom's friends were software engineers as well and her sister was also an engineer." By having such an array of strong female role models, Maribel never felt the need to distinguish between "male" and "female" professions. "I definitely think my parents influenced me. But I did make sure that software was what I wanted to go into. Actually in high school I took a computer science course at the University of Waterloo to make sure it was right for me before applying ."
Maribel noticed a stark difference in what was expected of male and female students by the time she made the move to Canada as a teenager. "I was noticing that not as many women were in my math classes or in my computer science classes," says Maribel. "I found that very interesting because if you had realized your interest in computer science or engineering at the end of high school, it was almost like too late."
Undeterred, Maribel continued to pursue her passion despite the obstacles. "There are definitely some tough days to be in the tech industry, being a minority. Having resilience and a good team behind you helps overcome some of those things." Maribel has found that team at Shopify Plus, a community that not only embraced her, but supported her growth as an engineer.
"Shopify was the company that really stood out to me the most because they were really interested in fixing some of the issues and challenges that minorities are facing in the tech industry, and not just through words but actually through actions, all the way from the interview practices that we have to the perks that we offer our employees."
Before choosing a new company, Maribel advises candidates to do their research. Take time to attend events, ask tough questions and interview them. "The way I was introduced to Shopify is they were hosting an event. There was a film that was made about the gender gap that exists in the tech industry and they hosted this awesome event where you saw the film and then there was all sorts of women who were part of a panel and it kind of really stuck with me."
Through her work at Shopify Plus, Maribel has worked on products used by millions and millions of people all over the world...and she's just getting started. "It kind of gives you that drive to push hard and to push yourself, to make something great."
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After a brief hiatus, we're picking our series of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) terms back up!
This month we're looking at different ways of addressing people with disabilities.
In honor of Black History Month, we've been reading some of the great books written by four of the talented Black speakers that joined us at our recent Diversity Reboot Summit—because Black History Month isn't just about looking to the past, it's about elevating the Black voices that are helping to build a better present and future.
Have you read any of the books below? Let us know what you think!