International Women in Engineering Day: Meet Some of the Engineers Behind Greenphire’s Growth

June 23 2023  

Today is International Women in Engineering Day! We wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hardworking women in this field who are making a difference through their incredible achievements. At Greenphire, we are proud of our team of skilled women engineers who are dedicated to resolving the most complex challenges in the industry. Take some time to learn more about them!


Heather Mushock, Application Developer at Greenphire


What’s been your career path at Greenphire?

I started working at Greenphire as an Application Developer in August 2021. An average day for me includes a combination of working independently on sprint tasks, swarming with my teammates on larger tasks or troubleshooting issues, and also doing code review and supporting SQA as our sprint stories are being tested. We are an Agile company, so there are some meetings here and there, but the bulk of my day is either spent coding independently and checking in as needed with a more experienced developer for guidance. My team is currently working on a new integration and microservice, which is really exciting and has been a huge learning experience, so this type of collaboration is key.

What sparked your interest in engineering? How did you realize this was a field you’d like to pursue? 

I’ve always been a very detail-oriented type of person and drawn to tasks that a lot of other people tend to find tedious, like copy-editing my college newspaper. I had some people suggest to me over the years that my personality type would be well-suited for software engineering, but it took awhile for me to drum up the confidence to pursue this. I began playing around with online Python tutorials and got hooked pretty quickly. I was feeling stagnant in my administrative non-profit job at the time and really wanted to make a career change where I would be constantly learning new skills and challenging myself. Software engineering is a great field for this since new technologies are being developed every day and there’s always something else you need to learn in order to keep up. It can be very hard work but the satisfaction you get from solving a problem or finally figuring out a bug is so worth it.

Do you have any advice for women who are interested in pursuing a career in engineering? Should they focus on gaining practical experience or developing technical skills?

As someone who pivoted career paths in her 30s from a humanities/education background to tech, I can promise you that pursuing a career in software engineering is possible if you’re determined enough. I was working full-time at a non-profit when I began teaching myself to code, so I spent a lot of evenings and weekends alone in my room, working my way through coding tutorials. I wasn’t in the financial position to do a coding bootcamp and there were many frustrating days where I felt too far behind and wondered if I should give up. Stick with it! 

There are more people with non-traditional tech backgrounds than you think, and there’s tons of free learning resources if you look. Spend time honing your technical skills, but also force yourself to go to tech meetups even if you feel out of place. Even the most experienced developers still struggle with imposter syndrome. I got my first job in the tech industry from networking at a free event, so don’t close yourself off to those types of opportunities. You belong there as much as anyone.

How has Greenphire supported your career?

Greenphire has been an amazing place for me to work and I have learned so much in the nearly two years I’ve been here. Being both a woman in tech and a career changer, I have unfortunately seen myself get pigeonholed and shut out of opportunities in previous workplaces. Having two senior-level female development staff in the company has made a world of difference for me, allowing me to truly feel seen and supported in my career progression. I appreciate that developers are encouraged to pursue projects that interest them through Goals Days and our recent Hackathon. When I let my manager know that I am interested in Cyber Security, she encouraged me to pursue getting my CompTIA PenTest+ certification this year. I also appreciate that managers make time to check in with all levels of developers on a regular basis, not just the more senior devs. It really gives you the opportunity to voice any concerns as they arise, as well as making sure that your individual accomplishments are being seen.


Helene McElroy, Associate Director at Greenphire


What’s been your career path at Greenphire?

I started at Greenphire as a pregnant UI developer on a three month contract. That was nearly 11 years ago. I have been able to help mold my career at Greenphire by stepping into roles and expanding those roles at the organization needed and my skill set expanded. In general it has been relatively linear in that I started as a developer, became a manager, and then moved into my current role as Associate Director.  

What sparked your interest in engineering? How did you realize this was a field you’d like to pursue? 

There were a few missed opportunities for me to attach myself to engineering.  In high school I took an aptitude test and it recommended computer science as a career, but didn’t find that appealing. I got into and attended Case Western Reserve University, a school renowned for engineering. I was undeclared when I went to this school, and within one semester applied to an Art & Design school. It’s possible with the right coaching, I might have been moved into an engineering role or computer science role, but ultimately I took a turn away from engineering. It ended up being a desire to present my portfolio to get a design job that led me to learn more about HTML, CSS, & Javascript. Every job after college ended up having some opportunity to do some coding: flash, html, css, javascript, php, wordpress customization, scripting inside of 3D modeling tools, scripting for design tools to make 2D rendering faster. It took me a while to realize that all of these different scripting opportunities were actually lending itself to a career.  Once that was obvious to me, I focused on building up my skills via freelance until I was able to get a job as a developer full-time.

Do you have any advice for women who are interested in pursuing a career in engineering? Should they focus on gaining practical experience or developing technical skills?

For a large portion of my early engineering career, I was convinced that there was some magic to coding. There are definitely best practices and theory that are useful, but at the end of the day anyone can learn these and challenge them based on their experiences. Also, a lot of time everyone in the room is guessing, they may bluff and make it seem like they know they answer, but it’s likely that they do not. Finally, there is always so much to learn in technology that no one can know everything. Ask questions, it is ok!

How has Greenphire supported your career?

As I mentioned in my career path, I started in this narrow temporary role in a vulnerable position as a pregnant woman. I was very shortly hired full time and given more responsibilities.  Greenphire was so small then, I was employee number 40, and the 12th person in the engineering area. I was always able to make suggestions on how the engineering teams should grow and reorganize as the organization grew. Additionally, I never had to be an expert in advance to take on a new task, being allowed to learn on the job as needed.  

Set Your Career on Phire

Are you interested in advancing your career at one of the top-rated “Best Places to Work”? Greenphire is currently hiring for multiple positions. While many departments are located in our corporate headquarters outside of Philadelphia, we are a global company and also hire for roles in Europe and other parts of the world. If you do not see any openings in your area, we recommend that you check back periodically or sign up for job alerts to stay informed of any new opportunities!

Toni Swats
Application Development Manager

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