WP Engine Employee Spotlight: Wendy Shepperd, Senior Director Of Engineering
In this blog series, we talk to WP Engine employees, find out what makes them tick, learn more about their roles, and hear from them why they work at WP Engine.
After WP Engine was voted in the Top 10 Best Places to Work by the Austin Business Journal, I thought to myself: what does it really mean to work at WP Engine? I know what it means to me, but what does it mean to my co-workers? In this blog series I seek to understand just that!
With the most recent social media discussions around the Twitter hashtag #ilooklikeanengineer, I wanted to showcase the diversity we have here at WP Engine. For our first employee spotlight blog in this series, I’ll feature Wendy Shepperd, who leads our engineering teams responsible for developing our innovative products.
Here’s some of our interview:
Tell me about your tech industry experience?
I have been based in Austin, working in the technology industry for 23 years now. During this time, I have worked with several different global technology companies focused on enterprise software for SMB and enterprise customers. During my career, I’ve held a variety of positions including software developer, technical writer, project manager, and leader of engineering teams around the world. I have worked in both private and publicly traded companies ranging from just a handful of employees all the way to 5,000-plus. I have to say my favorites are the smaller startup type organizations due to how quickly things move and the unlimited opportunity for innovation and ability to directly impact the business every day. I am extremely passionate about leading and growing teams and find it rewarding to see developers advance in their careers.
How has WP Engine helped in your career development?
WP Engine has fostered the startup environment I love so much. I have the ability to wear multiple hats and explore new initiatives with my teams. I am incredibly fortunate to work with so many smart people every day as we work together to drive scalability and innovation in our business.
Tell me about a really fun project you worked on?
All of the projects here at WP Engine are so invigorating due to the challenges we face changing the way people think about WordPress hosting and their digital marketing presence. I would say one project that comes top of mind is working with our teams to introduce new data technologies to our platform. It’s always rewarding for me to see teams celebrate success for their hard work and to see the direct impact they have on the business.
What languages do your teams work in?
Oh my, where to start? We love to be multilingual! Our teams work in Python, Ruby, PHP, and Java, just to name a few. We don’t let language barriers keep us from completing tasks and will always use the right technology to fit the project at hand.
What does #ilooklikeanengineer mean to you?
I was really excited to see this hashtag take off! To me it goes back to the simple principle of not judging a book by its cover. Really, who should define what an engineer looks like? There are so many different types of engineers and no one should fit a cookiecutter mold or stereotype defined by society. We should be more concerned about the quality of code someone can produce than how they look.
What does WP Engine do differently to promote diversity?
We focus on hiring top talent… plain and simple! Here at WP Engine, we truly value the individuality our team members bring to the company. Diversity is something that is important to many organizations, and it’s exciting to see it organically happen here. I feel like it will only continue to grow and be promoted through our high percentage of employee referrals.
How do you feel Austin cultivates diversity for the tech industry for Texas?
Speaking as a rare Austin native, I have seen Austin explode over the past several years. There has been substantial growth in technology and I believe that comes from the diverse types of companies that choose to set up shop here. A really cool thing about WP engine is that we are located downtown and see Austin growing all around us–the energy of it all is exciting. This town is definitely a unique and progressive place that has something for everyone.
What’s one piece of advice you want anyone interested in technology to know?
Never stop being curious! Always continue to learn and stay passionate about what you love in technology. There are so many resources available and I encourage you to take advantage of anything that you can find that will help you achieve your goals.
There’s just a little slice of what it’s like to work for WP Engine. I’d like to thank Wendy for being the first participant in this series. Stay tuned for more WP Engine employee spotlight blogs.
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