WP Engine welcomed in-person and virtual attendees from the Austin chapter of Society of Women Engineers (SWE) on Wednesday night at our headquarters in downtown Austin, TX.

Sponsored by Roar, a WP Engine employee resource group (ERG) focused on promotion, education, and advocacy for women, the event was an excellent opportunity for attendees to hear directly from women in senior software engineering roles about the tactical work they’re engaged in day-to-day as well as the challenges they’ve encountered throughout their careers.  

WP Engine has long supported initiatives surrounding women in tech, and collaborating with SWE which has been a champion for women engineers  for more than 70 years,  was a natural fit.    

WP Engine Sr. Software Engineers Parul Priya and Ramya Iyer led the session, facilitating specific discussions on the lifecycle of a web site, approaches to managing security concerns, and opportunities for tuning site performance. 

Priya and Iyer also shared character-building professional experiences—including bouts with impostor syndrome—which led them to their current roles and continued growth in their careers.

“At the start of my career, I was often afraid of speaking up if I wasn’t positive that what I was about to say was 100% accurate,” Priya said during the event. 

“But that thought process hurt both me and my team. First, it robbed me of a learning opportunity. If I was wrong, there was certainly someone who could have helped me learn why. And if there was even a little truth in what I was saying, my team could have benefited from it and used that information to improve.” 

WP Engine Sr. Software Engineer Parul Priya speaks to attendees at the joint WP Engine-Society of Women Engineers event “ Empowered Women in Cloud Hosting”

The state of women in the tech industry is improving, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. According to a Finances Online survey, the composition of the tech sector workforce in 2019 was 67% male and 33% female. 

Even more concerning, only 22% of survey respondents were able to name a female role model in the tech industry, driving home the importance of bringing women together to discuss their journeys to success—it’s vital in the effort to reduce the disparity between men and women in tech.

Wednesday night’s event sought to do just that, as two senior engineers from WP Engine offered their expertise around some of the more technical aspects of managed WordPress hosting while reflecting on challenges they’ve faced in their own careers. 

Both speakers expertly explained the benefits of managed hosting and various ways to optimize WordPress sites while tying in personal stories about their own experiences and growth.

“I had set this learning challenge for myself, but I realized there’s no way I’m going to learn everything at once,” Iyer told attendees. “Am I a data scientist? No, not yet. But I’m learning on the job, and I don’t have to have all the answers to be successful.”

By sharing from their own lives, it became clear that these feelings often have nothing to do with our actual abilities. And by overcoming  imposter syndrome, we open a path for even more people to imperfectly improve both online outcomes for websites and the current state of STEM for all women.

Attendees, including SWE Austin President Cheryl Texin, smile for a photo after the event

If you’d like to learn more, connect with the Society of Women Engineers and visit WP Engine to learn more about Roar, our other ERGs, and our Open Hearts initiative.

About Society of Women Engineers

SWE’s mission is to empower women to achieve their full potential in careers as engineers and leaders; expand the image of the engineering and technology professions as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity and inclusion.

About Roar

Roar’s mission is to provide a safe, open environment for all to promote, educate, and advocate for women across WP Engine to achieve their professional aspirations where opportunities have historically been limited.