Camelia Farcas, associate software engineer at Fidelity Investments, is standing in a corporate setting and looking into the camera.
Camelia Farcas. Image: Fidelity Investments

How seeing a new website at work sparked this software engineer’s career

22 Mar 2021

Camelia Farcas, an associate software engineer at Fidelity Investments, shares what ignited her interest in this field.

Camelia Farcas first became interested in technology when the restaurant she was working in got a new website. Now, having studied computing at National College of Ireland, she’s an associate software engineer at Fidelity Investments.

Here, she talks about the experiences that brought her to this point in her career and shares her advice for others hoping to follow a similar route.

‘To make it in this industry, you need to embrace a life of continuous learning’

What first stirred your interest in becoming a software engineer?

My first interest in technology started when the restaurant I was working in got a new website. Smartphones, mobile browsing and social media were still relatively new, so the website would have the homepage packed with quite a bit of information and it would be used as a platform to gain new followers on social media.

It progressively became clear how important it was for the business to be present online and establish a different way of interacting with customers.

It ignited my interest in digital platforms and I began to consider a career in tech, not knowing that there is so much more I could do in this industry.

What experiences led you to the role you now have?

In 2015, I signed up for a bachelor’s degree in computing at the National College of Ireland. In my third year I undertook seven months of work placement with Fidelity Investments and, after I graduated, I returned to Fidelity for their Leap technology graduate programme.

On completion of the programme, I was offered a role within the advanced process solutions group.

What were the biggest surprises or challenges you encountered on your career path and how did you deal with them?

Starting out as a junior developer was challenging in many ways, and still is. Working from home has taught me how to communicate clearer and to be more confident. Having to write more complex code, to use several unique concepts all at once and staying organised has also been overwhelming at times. I have learned not to be afraid of asking questions, how to use feedback to know how my work fits in, and to take notes so that I retain new knowledge and continue to learn and grow.

I was lacking knowledge in some areas and felt completely outside of my comfort zone. I don’t think I’ve completely overcome all the challenges yet, but I think I now know how to deal with them more effectively.

I am grateful to work on a team with amazing and supportive people, who provided me guidance and reassurance that it takes time and experience to master any new role or skill.

Was there any one person who was particularly influential as your career developed?

Along the way, I’ve met many people who have inspired me and shaped my beliefs or my opinions.

In my personal life, it would be my father who taught me values to live by and never to give up.

In my professional life, if I had to choose someone that impacted my career directly, it would have to be my current manager because he made me believe in myself so I can perform smarter, better and with great resilience.

What do you enjoy most about being a software engineer?

I love the versatility of being able to do a variety of tasks and that every day brings a new challenge, excitement or unpredictability; it never gets boring. Working with people who are excited about their professions and for a company that realises employees are their greatest asset is a wonderful thing.

What aspects of your personality do you feel make you suited to this job?

The willingness to take risks in something that I want to pursue, that will change my life and others for the better. Also, curiosity and the love of learning. Learning something new is very satisfying.

Did Fidelity Investments support you on your career path?

Fidelity gave me the chance to start a career with them when I was new to the industry although I did not have all the certifications required for the role I have. They offer continuous training and support to help people grow and become the best in their field.

What advice would you give to those considering a career in this area, or just starting out in one?

To make it in this industry, you need to embrace a life of continuous learning and develop an easy-going and cooperative approach so that you can work efficiently on a team.

You need to be open to constructive criticism and be aware of your strengths or weaknesses to use them to your advantage.

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