International Women in Engineering Day 2021

Updated: Jul 4



This June 23rd we mark the International Women in Engineering day, and we wanted to celebrate it by bringing you more of the stories from some of the women working as software engineers across Wix Engineering R&D sites around the world.

We bring you the voices of our women-engineers through short and insightful interviews with Viktorija Sujetaite, Kate Chernikova, Nir Orman, Tal Bebchuk, Tetiana Mandziuk and Olena Zhukova - engaging more young women to pursue careers in engineering and sharing their best career advice and inspiration.



Viktorija Sujetaite, Mobile Developer, Vilnius



How did you first get interested in technology and engineering?


Since I was little, I really liked riddles and math. This carried on to later years and then I discovered programming as a career path. Programming seemed to envelop my early interests into one piece. And so, I applied to study software engineering after school.


What do you do at Wix?


I am a mobile developer in the Members company. I develop features for user engagement.


How do you think we can engage more young women to pursue careers in engineering? What needs to be done?


First of all, programming needs better visibility as a profession. I would’ve not known about it if it wasn’t for my older friends studying it. That way I learned it’s a popular and well-paid profession.

Also it’s easy to default it as a “male” profession only because men make up a larger percent of developers. But zero masculine traits are needed to be a developer. In my opinion this needs to be channeled through to girls at school.


What inspires you in your work?


Developing features for the “outside world” means that the work I do will be seen and used by many people worldwide. Doing something that is worthwhile is really inspiring to move forward and make bigger, better things.


What’s the best advice you have received during your career?


Don’t be afraid to take on responsibility yourself. Even if you think you will not manage, it will help you to push yourself forward, increase visibility of the work you are doing. It also can make the list of your work acquaintances larger.



Please share your top 3 ways to improve yourself as an engineer (what to read, what to learn, who to follow)


For an engineer that’s just starting, especially if learning on your own, I cannot recommend you enough to pick up and start reading Clean Code by Robert C. Martin. It’s a big heavy book, but you don’t have to read all of it - even the first few chapters can improve bad spaghetti code.


Code reviews by experienced developers are also really beneficial. I would learn things that I wouldn’t even think about, see problems that could be edge cases for users.


Finally, I challenge myself by thinking of a thing that sounds cool and just developing it. This allows me to try new technologies, different languages, and see the ways other programmers code.



What advice would you give a girl or a woman considering a career in engineering?


I know that in the technology sector “impostor syndrome” is a common experience, especially if you’re new at what you are doing. So the best advice I have received for this is “fake it ’till you make it” - in terms of not underestimating yourself for something you don’t know yet. Keep on the brave face and remember that you can learn anything with the right amount of work.



Can you share a little bit of what your typical day looks like?


My typical day starts with reviewing emails/slack messages and chatting with colleagues. Afterwards I plan my tasks for a day in a notebook together with important details I need to remember. Then it’s mostly coding, reviewing colleague’s work, reacting to updates in our shared app environment.



Would our engineering world be different if more women worked in it?


I think more women in engineering would make the whole culture a bit less toxic - less assumptions that women bring some kind of “different mindset” that none can actually describe, less competing in imaginary status competitions. Other than that - probably not. As I mentioned, there are no inherently masculine or feminine things in programming.



Kate Chernikova, QA Guild Master, Dnipro



How did you first get interested in technology and engineering?

My tech life started with going to a university just because I was in love with a guy who studied there. And also because they had the best campus in the city.



What do you do at Wix?

QA Guild Master & Tools squad Team lead.



How do you think we can engage more young women to pursue careers in engineering? What needs to be done?

Story-life sharing, round tables, panel discussions.



What inspires you in your work?


People. Teamwork and collaboration. When something is achieved by joint effort.



What’s the best advice you have received during your career?


Being a manager - is to love the people.



Please share your top 3 ways to improve yourself as an engineer (what to read, what to learn, who to follow)

Always take on challenging tasks. Always talk to people around you.

Subscribe to and read / watch any of the channels (youtube, telegram, blog) in your engineering area. And it is not that important which one exactly - most of them (if not all) repost and share the same most cool and interesting news.



What advice would you give a girl or a woman considering a career in engineering?


Believe that you are able and work hard. Love yourself, your family and stay kind to people around you. Learn English.

Can you share a little bit of what your typical day looks like?

Kids > TRX training > breakfast with my most beloved man > emails & meetings > work on projects > meetings > walk with kids > dinner outside > home stuff, online shopping, movies, a little more of work.


Would our engineering world be different if more women worked in it?

Same. Don’t think we’re that different - same professionally, same creatively, same technically.

We’d only have more “home-like” offices and cozy places around.



Nir Orman, Backend Engineer, TLV



How did you first get interested in technology and engineering?

I was always into gadgets, but as a high school student I thought computer programming was boring. When I was a Simulator Instructor Officer for the F16 fighter aircraft in the Air Force, I had initiated the first Simulator Instructor’s day for 120 instructors.


I chose to bring to the conference a lecture about Futurism given by Microsoft. They showed the soldiers a video that showed what the future is expected to look like: your table would recognize you once you put your keys on it, your fridge will know exactly what needs to be bought and order it itself, your glasses will lead you through the shopping mall with augmented reality, etc.


I was amazed. I thought it’s the coolest thing I had ever seen. I couldn’t wait to live in such a world. I felt I had to learn how to build those amazing products myself so that when I have my own idea I could build it with my own two hands. So, when I was released from duty I started studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Tel Aviv University, and I always keep looking for cool new ideas that can be built to make life simpler and cooler.



What do you do at Wix?

I’m a backend engineer working on a product called Wix Stores. It enables our customers to sell online whatever they want. In the past months I’ve worked on the core engine of this platform that is responsible for calculating how much the users have to pay according to the price of the items (their tax, shipping fees, and applied coupons and/or gift cards). Asides from that I’m also responsible for running the cross-company meeting for all server developers of Wix Stores. In that meeting, we bring up broad server-side topics, new innovative ideas and transfer knowledge between the different teams and groups.


How do you think we can engage more young women to pursue careers in engineering? What needs to be done?

I believe that the more women there are - the more women there will be. That means, that once women see other women in engineering and engineering-management positions, they’ll know that the glass ceiling is gone and will dare to dream big. So I think we should each understand that just by being an engineer or a manager of engineers, we set an example for others to strive to and do their best.


Being a manager in the organization allows you to influence others and make an impact just by doing the job. Some say “You can’t be what you can’t see” - so I think it’s on us (women engineers) to show young women that the sky’s really the limit. Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”, and I totally believe in that attitude.



What inspires you in your work?


Seeing processes that are cross-organizational, such as Guild day, Guild week, blogging storm (an event in which every engineer can write their own blog post about a challenge they faced at work). Even though it is an organization employing thousands of people, there's still no fear of change. There’s always room for people to speak their mind and suggest improvements.


Any new initiative is welcome, so it makes people come up with innovative ideas and solutions. People are very open minded to hearing other opinions, and are always looking for feedback. It inspires me to always think about what we can do better to reach our goals as a company.



What’s the best advice you have received during your career?


Don’t quit, don’t settle, never stop learning. Do your best to improve the organization and those around you.



Please share your top 3 ways to improve yourself as an engineer (what to read, what to learn, who to follow)


To improve yourself as an engineer, I recommend reading the classic “Clean Code” book by Robert Martin. I also recommend reading “Growing Object Oriented Software” by Steve Freeman and Nat Pryce.


Another book that has greatly changed the way I improve myself, is the “Greatness Guide” by Robin Sharma. One of his best tips in the book is to always carry a book with you wherever you go - once you start taking advantage of every opportunity to learn, you become smarter by learning quickly what it took the writers of the books years to learn. And by the way - you don’t have to actually carry it around, I use the Audible app, and the Kindle app on my mobile phone, that let’s me read even if I have just 5 minutes to spare.


Also, go to meetups - it will open up a whole new world of technical stacks, key people in the industry, and work locations. I keep a habit of making at least 1 memorable connection in each meetup I go to, and following up later on LinkedIn to keep it for the long run.



What advice would you give a girl or a woman considering a career in engineering?


Think ahead about what role you wish to do in 5 to 10 years from now, and when you need to make a career decision - make the one that’s on the right trajectory. Find somebody who works in that desired job to get advice from when you’re at those critical pivot points. Talk to someone who’s an engineer to understand what the job is really like. When you feel you need to do better - put in more effort to stay in the loop and learn.


An engineering career allows financial independence. Financial independence makes you feel that your fate is in your own hands, and that only you control and decide what your life will look like. That’s a great power. With great power comes great responsibility - to set an example for other engineers.


Whenever a new challenging opportunity comes your way, and it seems like the easy answer would be to say “No thanks”, try instead to say: “The easy answer is no, so yes, I’d love to do that”. Believe in yourself (if you don’t - how can you expect anybody else to believe in you?). Whenever something “bad” happens to you, just remember that you can’t control what happened, but you CAN control your reaction to it. There’s a huge space between stimulus and response - take advantage of that!


The most famous figures in history had the worst starting points in life and that didn’t keep them from getting as far as they did.



Can you share a little bit of what your typical day looks like?


I get to work and plan my day, then there’s a daily meeting where everyone says what they did yesterday and what they plan to do today. Some days we have meetings like design reviews, or feature retrospectives, or lectures on Guild Days. The main part of my day is writing code to solve complex engineering problems.



Would our engineering world be different if more women worked in it?


I’m sure the more women engineers we have, the more women managers there will be. I hope once it’s 50-50 there will be less ego in decision making, less jokes that create a toxic working environment, and more understanding toward a work-life balance. It’s been proven that diversity in a company leads to tremendous results, so the more there are women (and generally other minorities too), the more opinions and views, the more creative the organization is.


Also there needs to be more women in critical management positions in order to influence the organization. it’s not enough to have 50-50 engineers but 100% men on the board or among the c-level executives. We should keep striving for equal pay for equal work, and transparency about that.



Tal Bebchuk, Front-End Engineer, TLV



How did you first get interested in technology and engineering?


Curiosity has always been a part of who I am, and for me engineering is the perfect evolution for people who want to explore and understand how the world works.


But when thinking about a person that gave me the guidance and mentorship at a young age - my first computer science teacher at my high-school, Mr. Yoram Less, is the one that made for me the connection between technology, engineering and the ability to transform my curiosity into reality. It may sound a cliché but I truly believe that having the right mentor can literally change your life.

What do you do at Wix?

I started my first role at Wix 3 years ago, working as a developer for the bookings and the OS groups. Recently, I got the opportunity to move into a new challenge within Wix and to start a new role as a team lead in the Velo group.

How do you think we can engage more young women to pursue careers in engineering? What needs to be done?

Inspiring girls from a young age to pursue careers in the technology sector is one of the industry’s biggest challenges, in my opinion.


In order to solve this we should expose girls as young as possible to STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics). We should prove to them that they can do so much with code - and empower them by guiding them towards implementing their ideas and developing apps, games or websites.

In addition, role models are crucial for showcasing the possibilities of a career in tech. As the saying goes: if you can see it, you can be it. We need to become better at spreading their stories. Because if we don't, it can result in a continued lack of interest and a belief that you will not succeed in the tech industry as a woman.


What inspires you in your work?

At Wix, we have a product that truly affects and improves our users’ lives. And we’re talking about millions of users from all around the world. We have known it for a long time, but we saw it clearly during Corona - people could move online easily and quickly, so they continued with their businesses thanks to Wix.


The other thing is that I work with the most talented engineers! Honestly, the possibility of improving myself by working with amazing people and getting the opportunity and time to evolve my skills are very important to me.

What’s the best advice you have received during your career?

Wow, I think that the best advice was “when an opportunity comes, first - say yes”. I think this is something that we as representatives of a gender need to have more confidence about.

After I first heard this advice, my manager came to me and offered me an opportunity to present to everyone in the company - almost 3,000 employees - a project we've worked on. Although I was terrified, I realized that this is a huge opportunity for me. Thus, as I've learned, I said yes first, and then I got a chance to think about and prepare for my presentation. I'm so glad I did it!



Please share your top 3 ways to improve yourself as an engineer (what to read, what to learn, who to follow)

It’s important to find a way that works for you and gets you the most out of it. For me, creating a presentation/ writing a blog in a field I am not familiar with is the most useful method. During the creation phase I can learn, experiment and get to the heart of the issue.

I’m also subscribed to some group mails, like Javascript weekly, Medium daily, etc.



What advice would you give a girl or a woman considering a career in engineering?


An engineering career encompasses a vast array of fields. It is possible for everyone to find out what interests them the most.

Engineering is more than simply coding. It's a continuo