Charelle Lacasse has worked as a software developer at SherWeb since 2013. Passionate about software quality assurance and a specialist in test automation, she develops our unique cloud solutions on a regular basis. To mark International Women’s Day, we decided to speak with Charelle about her experiences in IT, her accomplishments and the challenges that lie ahead.
There are currently almost 500,000 IT professionals in Canada, but less than 25% of them are women. Why do you think IT is dominated by men?
That’s a very good question! I don’t have the answer, but I think maybe more guys decided to get into this field despite how complex computer systems were at the time. However, I think this will change soon because the new generations are coming into this world with a better understanding of technology. There are now as many women as men who are starting out with an excellent grounding. Women who are interested in IT won’t hesitate to push harder to get ahead.
What made you decide to study Computer Science?
At the time, I was going to one of the rare high schools that offered a computer programming course as an option. I fell in love with the creative side of development. We were creating interactive game animations, etc. I really enjoyed it. Even today I create small educational programs for the children in my community.
After high school, I didn’t go into IT right away because I didn’t think it could be a real career. For me, it was just a game.
A few years later, when I entered the work force, I realized that I needed more of a challenge. While I was trying to decide what to do with my career, I noticed there were IT consultants in the company I worked for. They were developing a personalized software for the company. At this point I realized it was possible to have a career as a software developer and it was what I wanted to do! Then I decided to go back to school to study Computer Science.
Once you started working in IT, was it easy to integrate from both a professional and social perspective?
At first I didn’t know the field well enough; I didn’t know the difference between the various players. When I was asked to be a software tester, I accepted because I had an image in my head of a spy film where I’d be working with sophisticated tools to find faults in the system. But, real life wasn’t as techno as I imagined. Since I wanted to be a programmer, I started to automate tests to make them more cool. That’s what led me to SherWeb. Since then, I have worked as a developer in all our applications and today I help train our new developers. The social side of SherWeb is great. We often have after-hour get-togethers, Nerf gun wars, yoga at the office or noon hour jogging around the lake across the street. We don’t get bored.
What have been the most difficult and the easiest aspects of your job?
It took me a while to find a company that responded to my needs to progress and continue to learn. But, once I found SherWeb, I was thrilled by the enthusiasm that was part of the company culture. There are so many innovations that occur every day, it’s sometimes hard to keep up. But we can’t slow down in this field, or we become obsolete very quickly.
Let’s talk about mentoring. Did you have a mentor in your career and if so, how did this person help you to reach your professional goals?
I didn’t have any mentors per se, but I’ve had several role models throughout my career. Even today, I admire specific colleagues for the discipline they apply in all aspects of their life. They inspire me to reach my objectives!
In terms of professional development, do the challenges proposed by SherWeb meet your expectations (technologies, possibility for advancement, etc.)?
SherWeb has surpassed my expectations. In fact, I find it fantastic how the employees really are the heart of SherWeb how receptive management is to our concerns. Ideas quickly become projects. There is no limit to what we can accomplish because we have the support of our colleagues and management. First of all, we get to use the best technologies, that goes without saying. When we need something, it is quickly analyzed and then resolved. In general, there are many possibilities for advancement, but as developers we’d like to have more options to get ahead. I have no doubt that there will soon be more options available for us!
So, after almost 5 years, you don’t regret your career choice?
There is so much action and things to do that I don’t see the time go by. I always have new projects and I’m constantly learning something new. We’re growing so quickly and new people are always joining our team. There are always new opportunities!
What advice would you give to a new graduate who wants to build a promising career in IT?
I would tell them to never stop learning and to be confident. We can’t know everything, but we can certainly learn.
Interested in joining the team?
Visit our website to see all available positions: www.sherweb.com/careers/job-openings