Candoris IS Rachel Siepelinga shares her story about graduating with dual engineering degrees, her unique opportunity at Candoris to enable customers to fulfill their missions, and on being a woman in tech.
What’s your role at Candoris and what do your typical responsibilities include?
I’m an Implementation Specialist on the Candoris Software Development Team. As such, I’m responsible for working with the project management team to understand what the customer needs in order to customize solutions for them. We then work with our team of developers to implement the solutions and lead reveals and trainings for customers.
What drew you to your current profession?
I always knew I wanted to do something related to technology, and I always loved math and science growing up. Since I was eight, people predicted I’d become an engineer! When it was time to go to college, I looked to major in chemical engineering but decided on biomedical engineering because it would allow me to interact and help other people in a more tangible way. I attended Messiah College, and as part of the engineering curriculum, we were required to take a circuits class. Despite swearing off electrical engineering in high school, I completely fell in love with circuits and I changed my major. I was required to take a programming class at one point, and it quickly became my favorite. Writing code was just like working through a logic puzzle and just clicked with the way I think. My engineering internship the summer before my senior year in college taught what I valued in both my profession and my workplace. I wanted to be able to work closely with coworkers and customers, develop new solutions, code, and make a difference. I came to the realization that I’d like to actually pursue a future in computer science, but it was too late to switch my major. Instead, I took as many computer classes as I could to graduate with both an electrical engineering and a computer engineering degree.
I learned about Candoris from a friend of mine who told me about their mission statement, the work they do, and their corporate culture, and I knew that’s where I wanted to be. Despite the lack of open positions for a role conducive to my education and expertise, I took a chance and sent in my resume and letter of interest. I ended up being offered a position that was perfect for me!
What are some key traits to have to be successful in this role?
Implementation specialists get to do a little bit of everything. With this, some key traits we need to have are the ability to understand what a customer is looking for, problem solving skills to translate their unique requirements into a solution, and clear communication to guide project reveals and trainings while explaining the new processes and why we made the decisions we did in regards to designing their implementation.
How has your faith influenced your work and vice versa?
My faith is the reason I’m able to do the work that I do. Being a woman in the technology industry is definitely not always fun or easy, and I’ve certainly faced my fair share of challenges. Trusting that God has equipped me with the skills that I need to be successful and has chosen me for a reason has given me the strength and courage to persevere through tough situations. I’ve been able to see His faithfulness and provision through my position at Candoris and the coworkers I’m surrounded by. It’s amazing to see the difference in culture when everyone is able to work together to pursue common values like those that Candoris holds. It’s proven to me time and time again, that when you need to trust God with the small things He’ll come through with the big things.
How do you view your work as contributing to the Candoris goals of seeking customer success and positively impacting children around the world?
At Candoris, we work with many nonprofits and faith-based organizations. In my role, I’m able to learn about their mission, their business processes, and their goals for how our work can make their jobs more streamlined and efficient. One of the Candoris core values is commitment to doing the right thing. We put time and effort into designing a solution that does not merely meet the minimum customer requirements, but that go one step further to ensure the solution is the best it can possibly be. By us doing our part to improve their processes and make their jobs run smoother, we give them the ability to spend more time fulfilling their mission. Hearing about the work our customers are doing to impact the lives of so many different people around the world –through mission trips, child sponsorships, Bible translations, and more – is a clear way to see how God is working everywhere in so many unique ways.
What words of encouragement or advice would you offer women interested in entering your field of work?
Remember why you started. I truly believe that the things you love are never random. I’ve always loved solving puzzles, discovering new solutions, and learning how things work. If there is something you’re passionate about, don’t let anyone stop you from pursuing it simply because you’re a female. It’s so easy to feel intimidated entering a male-dominated field, but you are equally capable and qualified. Like anyone, if you’re willing to put in the time to learn and grow, there’s nothing that can stop you. A friend once told me something that’s always stuck with me: “If someone was able to do it, then I can too. If no one has done it yet, then I’ll be the first.” Being a woman in technology isn’t any different than being a man in technology, sometimes you just have to work a little harder so that others can see that too.
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