'Leaders Create Culture' A Q&A with Engineer Gabriela Chiribau

September 3, 2021

T​he Technology industry is known for being mainly male dominated and at Signify Technology we aim to make a positive change to that.

It's important to empower and present females within the tech industry with a platform where they can encourage and excite younger generations!

So, we were very lucky when the amazing Gabriela Chiribau, Software Engineering Manager agreed to give us a little insight into her programming career.

What sparked your interest in Software Engineering?

I was 7 years old when I read about this new magical thing called "computer" in a children's magazine. I participated in competitive math during my school years, and then I followed an older childhood friend to study "Control Engineering and Computers." During my college years, I discovered Donald Knuth's books at the library. I was fascinated to put his algorithms in code. One book led to another, and before I knew I started hanging out with the cool kids in the computer lab.

What's your favorite programming language and why?

I don't have a favorite programming language. I strive to be a "polyglot" or cross-over, and I am fluent in Java, JavaScript, C#, and Python. In addition, I dabble in Swift, Kotlin, and Scala. There is more than the programming language to deliver practical business applications, and most often, we need to go beyond what we like for the right solution.

How did your career begin within the technology industry? Can you tell us about your journey?

I graduated in a time of life-altering changes in Eastern Europe. I was part of the first graduating class who did not have guaranteed jobs after graduation. At the same time, we were the first graduating class to enjoy the freedom of choosing our job instead of being forced into the "next on the list." I took full advantage of this tremendous opportunity and worked hard to better my skills. I interviewed. I failed many times and succeeded a few. My first salary barely covered the rent and I needed 2 jobs to survive.

Did you ever have an inspiration you could look up to based on your tech passion? Who was this? Why did they inspire you?

Grady Booch. In my first product development job, I read Grady'sObject-Oriented Analysis and Design With Applications, In French. This bootstrapped my interest in design and later in software architecture. I understood the importance of clear communication of technology ideas and how diagrams/models could help. In addition, I understood the importance of a systematic approach, process, or "methodology" in building software.

What would be one piece of advice you wish someone told you when you first started your career in the tech industry?

Leaders create culture; culture creates behaviors; behaviors create results. Culture is the main predictor of a project's success. The advice would be to study and learn to understand and build a team's culture.

What is your career highlight so far?

I was fortunate that hard work and grit translated into many opportunities of doing what I love.

Do you think there has been positive progress in diversifying the technology industry in terms of gender?

Yes. Sometimes I think that my "crack in the glass ceiling" was "being the only woman on the team" countless times for the last 20 years. The rewarding times where the team expected me to perform the same or better than anyone else were overwhelmingly more numerous than the few where "a technical person" was requested before the intros. The truth is in the numbers; however, the outlook for me is "bright."

If a young female was starting her career in technology, is there anything you would recommend

Follow your heart and enjoy everything you do. Technology, family, and motherhood, if that's your choice, go beautifully together.

Thank you Gabriela!

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